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Shopping for health insurance? Here are a few tips to keep in mind

The time taken in settling a medical claim is a very important factor which can make all the difference. So is the customer support service offered by the insurer.

advertorial Updated: Feb 14, 2018 17:24 IST
(Pixabay)

With no shortage of insurers offering it, medical insurance has now become one of the most commonly purchase types of insurance. To cater to diverse needs, health insurance companies in India are offering a bouquet of insurance plans which cater to a set of needs. The internet has been a great contributor in enabling companies to make healthcare plans available online. Customers can not only compare health insurance plans offered by multiple companies, but also purchase the plan online. Unlike earlier times, customers can now purchase the best medical insurance policy online, without having to go through the tedious process of visiting the insurer’s office or waiting in queues.

When it comes to purchasing medical insurance, many people find it quite challenging, given the complicated mumbo-jumbo of terms, details, etc. To make the task simpler, we have curated a list of some important factors which one must consider before selecting a plan.

How simple is the claim settlement process?

It’s always important to check out the claim settlement process of the insurer if you are purchasing a health insurance or a car insurance policy. In case of health insurance, if the process for settling a claim is simple and quick, the settlement won’t take long either, which is great news for every policyholder. The time taken in settling a medical claim is a very important factor which can make all the difference in the world of insurance. Another thing to look out for is the customer support service offered by the insurer. Good customer service with quick response times can also make a lot of difference.

Waiting period for illnesses

For coverage of pre-existing diseases, a majority of insurance providers will have a waiting period in place. Waiting period is simply the duration after which the policy will begin coverage for pre-existing diseases. Waiting periods can differ from provider to provider, but normally range from 2 to 5 years. Considering this, it is advisable to purchase a health insurance plan at a younger age when you are relatively healthy and are very unlikely to raise a claim during the policy’s waiting period.

Day-care procedures

Most healthcare plans do not provide cover for day-care procedures. Moreover, most plans mandate that the policyholder should have undergone hospitalisation for a minimum of 24 hours to be eligible to raise a claim. However, for a majority of treatments and procedures, hospitalisation is not required. In such a case, it is wise to go for a policy which covers a high number of day-care procedures.

Health insurance for family

If you are planning to buy a family health plan, do so considering their age and medical condition. Take into account any ailment, chronic illness, or pre-existing disease that a family member may be suffering from, along with their medical history.

Deciding the amount of coverage

Medical insurance plans are usually valid for a year, which means the amount of coverage must be decided carefully. Like life insurance, it is advisable to get health insurance while you are still young. The younger you are, the healthier you are likely to be. Also, you will need a lower sum assured when you are younger, which lowers your premiums automatically.

Network hospitals

When choosing a health insurance provider, this is one of the most important things to check for. At the time of a medical emergency, time is of the essence and can mean the difference between life and death. Choose an insurer which has a higher number of network hospitals.

Maternity benefits

If you are looking to start a family and want to get a health insurance plan, look for one which offers maternity benefits. The cost of pregnancy is rising rapidly and can really make a dent in your savings. Take note of the waiting period applicable for maternity benefit claims, sub-limits, coverage of outpatient expenses, and exclusions.

Pre/post-hospitalisation expenses

Pre/post-hospitalisation expenses are incurred either before you are hospitalised or after you have been discharged from the hospital after being hospitalised. When choosing an insurer, look for one which covers these expenses which can come in the form of initial consultation with the doctor, follow-up visits, medicines, follow-up reports, etc.

No claim bonus

Like motor insurance, many health insurance providers offer a no claim bonus to policyholders who haven’t raised a claim on their policies for a year. If a no claim bonus is provided, it can help bump up your sum assured, or bring down your premiums, or do both.

Cumulative bonus

Cumulative bonus is similar to the no claim bonus, except, it is offered when the policy holder has not raised a claim in the previous policy year as well. If you are relatively healthy and haven’t raised a claim on your policy, you can easily accumulate this bonus for a few years, which can help increase your sum assured significantly or lower your premiums.