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Health insurance

Undoubtedly, health insurance is a must for people from all walks of life. But, people still take it for granted and more than half of the population is still not insured. It is wrongly believed that health insurance is not needed for young and healthy individuals. And, this bubble needs to be busted sooner than later.

Despite following strict diet and exercise regime, health risks cannot be avoided as life is unpredictable and can bring any uncertainty at any moment. As a matter of fact, today’s modern and hectic lifestyle of every individual makes them at high risk of poor immune system and frequent illness. And, not to forget that even a one time visit to hospitals shakes the entire budget. Thus, the necessity of a health insurance should not be avoided at any cost as it provides financial assistance against rising medical costs, medicine, and other hospitalization expenses.

So, let’s start from the beginning and get an understanding about what exactly this is all about?

What is health insurance?

Basically, health insurance is a type of insurance coverage that takes care of medical and surgical bills and expenses incurred by the insured. It gives financial relief occurred from illness or injury. In order to avail the insurance benefits, insured pays regular premium to the insurance provider company, which in return agrees to pay the full or a portion of medical costs. Insurance coverage is typically based on the doctors and hospitals an insured is associating with.

Types of health insurance policies

Indemnity Plans
• Mediclaim Insurance
• Individual Coverage
• Family Floater Coverage
• Senior Citizen Coverage
• Unit Linked Health Plans

Defined-benefit Plan
• Critical Illness Plan
• Personal Accident Plan
• Hospitalisation cash benefit plan

Top reasons to get a health insurance:

Modern lifestyle – There is no denying to the fact that over the years, individuals have witnessed a drastic change in their lifestyle and their living pattern. From waking up to going to bed, things have changed making us an easy prey to a wide range of health disorders. Earlier, people were not even aware with the health terms, which are too common now such as, diabetes, thyroid, and migraine. The tectonic shift in our lifestyle has given rise to a several health concerns and that too at a very young age.

Rising medical costs – As aforementioned, even a one time visit to the hospital can shake up the entire monthly budget. This is mainly due to rising medical costs such as a doctor’s consultation fee, medicine cost, surgical charges, ambulance, hospitalization costs, nursing charges, and medical test charges. It is difficult, if not impossible, to manage all such sudden expenses without disturbing the savings. And if reports and surveys to be believed, Indians primarily depend on their own savings in order to manage health emergencies. They either sell their jewellery or borrow loan at higher interest rates, but barely give importance to buying a health insurance.

Income tax benefit – Yes, you read it right. Premiums paid towards an insurance policy are eligible for tax deduction benefits under Section 80 D of the Income Tax Act. Insurance holders below 60 years of age can claim tax deduction of up to Rs.25000 against the premiums paid towards health policy.

Benefits of health insurance policy

Hospitalization cover – The key benefit of a mediclaim policy is that it covers medical or hospitalization costs. It gives financial relief against high medical costs. The insurance cover includes hospitalization expenses, domiciliary expenses, day care procedures, critical illness, ambulance charges, and hospital room charges besides many others. Thus, instead of having mental stress to cover all the medical costs, insured individual can freely focus on speedy recovery from an illness.

Critical illness coverage – Earlier the only critical illness we were aware of was cancer, but now, we learn and heard about a new critical illness or health condition every now and then. Shedding light over this concern, many insurance providers nowadays offer critical illness cover as well. Such insurance policies provide coverage against life-threatening health conditions such as organ transplant, kidney failure, types of cancer, and stroke among others. However, it is important to check the list of health conditions covered before buying a policy because the insurance terms may differ from company to company or policy to policy.

Cashless claim – Going with the cashless trend, many insurance companies have launched a new feature – cashless claim benefit. In such an arrangement, an insured don’t have to make any payment or bear any hospital costs out of their pockets. However, the only condition with this feature is that the hospital must be listed on the insurer’s network hospitals. An insured individual just have to fill a pre-authorization form and show the insurance card in order to avail cashless benefits.

The bottom line

The soaring medical costs and critical illnesses, it has become almost compulsory to have a health insurance policy in India. The best part is that any individual can choose the right plan from an array of insurance policies according to their specific needs. However, before zeroing down on a plan, it is important to conduct a thorough research to ensure the right decision making.

Hence, comparing a variety of health policies in terms of the coverage benefits, premiums, network hospitals, and claim settlement ration have become vital.