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Health insurance for your parents

Senior citizen health insurance plans are comparatively expensive, but they provide numerous benefits to the senior citizens

September 06, 2012 10:14 IST | India Infoline News Service

Anuja Gupta, 63 years old, recently renewed her health insurance for senior citizens for the second year. Ms Gupta felt that she was lucky as she had an adequate health insurance cover. When Ms Gupta, a widow, was suddenly hospitalized a couple of months back, she didn’t have to worry about the high cost of her medical treatment because of her health insurance policy.

Ms Gupta said that during her recovery her savings kitty was impacted the least because of her health insurance policy. If she didn’t have her health insurance she would have probably contributed more to her recovery than anything else.

With the rising medical costs and increasing life expectancy, all of us know that it is important to buy a health insurance plan for our parents. But most of us delay our decision to buy a suitable health insurance as we don’t know which policy is the ‘best’ policy for our parents.

Many corporate employees also get medical insurance from their employers. This medical insurance policy also covers their parents. Hence, these employees don’t feel the need to buy a separate medical insurance policy for their parents. But, it is not a wise decision to depend only on your employer’s policy as here the sum insured would be limited or may be in case of a job change the new employer may not provide such insurance cover.

This article provides you information on some health insurance policies available for senior citizens in the market. If your parents are below 60 years of age, they have many choices available to them. However, once your parents are above 60 years of age, their options get limited—most insurers do not offer fresh covers beyond this threshold.

Here’s a list of standalone health policies for elderly people who are below 60 years of age. The table below provides information on the facilities, maximum renewal age and indicative premiums which these policies offer with a sum insured of Rs. 2 lakh. However the acceptance of the proposal is subject to Insurance Company’s approval.

Quote for health insurance (below 60 years of age)

Name: Mother, Age: 53, Sum insured: Rs. 2 lakh, Plan: Individual
Insurer Max Bupa United India Star Health National Insurance ICICI Lombard Bajaj Allianz
Plan Name Heart Beat Health Insurance Criticare Health Insurance Comprehensive Health Insurance Health Guard
Copay (Other than Non-network hospital) NA NA NA NA NA NA
Daycare treatment Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Max renewal age Lifetime 80 years Lifetime Till 90 years 70 years 80 years
Pre & post-hospitalisation Covered up to 15% of SI for 30 / 60 days 30/60 days Covered up to 7% of hospitalisation expenses & maximum Rs. 5,000 30/60 days 30/60 days 60/90 days
Cashless facility Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pre-existing disease coverage After 48 months After 4 continuous claim free years After 4 continuous claim free years After 4 continuous claim free years After 4 continuous renewals After 4 continuous renewals
Cumulative bonus No Yes No Yes No Yes
Renewal discount No Yes Yes No No No
Total premium Rs. 10,126 Rs. 6,197 Rs. 10,479 Rs. 7,492 Rs. 6,958 Rs. 6,569
Source: www.insurancemall.in (Quotes to be read along with policy wordings)

Health insurance for senior citizens
If your parents have crossed 60 years of age, then the options becomes specific. In Indian market, a very few companies are providing health insurance to the senior citizens. But, there are some companies providing health insurance for people above 60 years of age. The health insurance are offered by few of major companies such as National Insurance Company, United India Insurance Company, New India Insurance Company, Oriental Insurance Company, Bajaj Allianz, etc. These policies are specially designed to cater the needs of senior citizens. It provides cover against hospitalization and other related medical expenses due to any sickness, illness and accidental injury. Below is a basic comparison of the health insurance plans available for senior citizens

Quote for health insurance (above 60 years of age)
Name: Father, Age: 60, Sum insured: Rs. 2 lakh, Plan: Individual
Insurer Max Bupa Star Health National Insurance Bajaj Allianz
Plan Heart Beat Criticare Health Insurance Silver Health
Copay
(Other than non-network hospital)
NA NA NA NA
Daycare treatment Yes Yes Yes Yes
Max renewal age Lifetime Lifetime Till 90 years 80 years
Pre & post-hospitalisation Covered up to 15% of SI for 30/60 days Covered up to 7% of hospitalisation expenses & maximum Rs. 5,000 30/60 days 60/90 days
Cashless facility Yes Yes Yes Yes
Pre-existing disease coverage After 48 months of continuous renewal Yes After 4 continuous claim free years After 4 continuous renewals
Cumulative bonus No No No 5% CB for each claim free year, max up to 50%
Renewal discount No No Yes No
Total premium Rs. 15,546 Rs. 9,500 Rs. 9,946 Rs. 12,588
Source: www.insurancemall.in (Quotes to be read along with policy wordings)

Tax benefit: You can avail tax benefit under Section 80 D on the premium paid for the health insurance policy of your parents. While calculating your taxable income, the premium paid for a health insurance policy can be deducted from the total income under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. This deduction is over and above the one available under Section 80C, which is for a limit of up to Rs 1 lakh.

If your parents are less than 65 years of age, the amount of deduction available is up to Rs. 15,000 on mediclaim policy. The limit goes up to Rs. 20,000 if either parent is a senior citizen, irrespective of his/her dependency status. To claim tax deduction, the premium payment has to be done either through a cheque or credit card. Cash payment is not considered for deduction.

Senior citizen health insurance plans are comparatively expensive, but they provide numerous benefits to the senior citizens. It is always important to read the exclusion part of the policy.

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