When shopping for health insurance, the one with the cheapest premium is what you usually settle for. We found four other important parameters, apart from the premium, that should swing your decision. We commissioned Health and Insurance Integrated, a health insurance consulting company, to rank products and companies for us according to the parameters we chose.
What it covers
A basic health policy covers hospitalisation expenses, including accommodation cost, operations, nursing expenses, doctor’s fees and cost of medicines and tests. The policy should fund day-care procedures as well since many illnesses do not require hospitalisation.
You can use a critical illness plan, which pays a lump sum against a pre-specified condition, as a top-up to your basic plan.
Till when it is renewable
As you grow older you may need enhanced medical care and, therefore, you must have a long-term relationship with your insurer. Many insurers offer to renew the cover till a certain age. Some offer lifetime renewals.
Does it have sub-limits?
Sub-limits can come in the form of co-payment, where you pay a predetermined percentage of the claim amount. They can also come as deductibles, where you bear the cost up to a limit; the insurer comes in the picture when the cut-off is breached. Ensure there are no sub-limits on parameters such as doctor’s fees and day-care procedures.
Many health policies offer additional benefits, including no-claim bonus and free health check-up. Opt for these if premiums are not exorbitant.
Also, look at policy exclusions: diseases, conditions and medical services your policy doesn’t cover, and even the waiting period on certain diseases. If your policy has more exclusions than standard ones, there is a problem.
Health insurance is gradually becoming tightly regulated. With the advent of stand-alone insurers, the products are evolving in the favour of customers. Among policies that satisfy you on the four parameters mentioned above, you could look at the cheapest premium.