Points to mull on before choosing a health insurance

Several companies offer varied types of health insurance. Every insurer sets its own set of terms and conditions.

January 04, 2016 3:49 IST | India Infoline News Service

Several companies offer varied types of health insurance. Every insurer sets its own set of terms and conditions. Some focus on profits and others on providing genuine services. Considering the huge array of available insurance products in the market, customers find it highly cumbersome to zero in on one that best fits their health insurance needs.

Given below are some pointers that can assist someone toward purchasing a good health insurance plan.

  • Check whether the policy fits your needs

Prepare a list of your needs, including policy period, premium, basic coverage, top-up plan and compare with your selected policies to ascertain, which one best fits your need hierarchy.

  • Prioritize coverage over premium

Some people prefer a health insurance policy that incurs lesser premium and in the process forget to pay enough attention to the fact whether the policy provides them enough coverage or not. Hence, ensure your healthcare coverage is adequate enough to suit your medical requirements and the policy you are buying insures you for a longer period.

  • Individual plan vs. group mediclaim policy

Customers are often at sea on whether they should purchase an individual plan for each of their family members or purchase a group health insurance. Such ambiguities can be resolved, especially when all the members in the family fall under the age group of 50 and are hale and healthy. In such scenarios, a joint policy is usually the better option.

In stark contrast, if a few members in the family are aged above 50, then an individual plan will be more suitable, as the elderly usually need more health healthcare attention then a younger member of a family.

  • Cashless claims
Many insurers employ varied ways of claim settlement. Some insurance companies offer reimbursement of the treatment cost, which is paid by you at the time of hospitalization. Others provide a cashless medical claim, which implies that the insurers make the payment directly to the hospital. This feature of health insurance is better because policyholders do not have to shell out a single penny from their pockets during hospitalization.
  • Know your Policy – check coverage for pre-existing diseases
Some people might have a pre-existing condition before they purchase a policy. In such scenarios, customers have two options to choose from: buying a pre-existing cover, or purchase a policy that has a waiting period. Please note that the insurers will reject any claim made relative to the pre-existing disease during a waiting period, unless the disease is covered as per the policy. Therefore, read the policy document carefully before making a purchase decision. It is essential to observe what is not covered, for example, most healthcare policies do not cover ALD (Alcoholic Liver Disease) and Diabetes.
  • Insurer’s network hospitals
Before purchasing a policy, checking the network of hospitals covered under the insurance is essential, especially when one wishes to avail a cashless medical claim. Therefore, opt for an insurer that has a tie-up with hospitals in your preferred area.

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