Our parents have led us through infant-hood to adulthood, supporting us and giving us everything they have, to ensure that we become responsible, independent individuals.
Now, it is time for us to support them back; primary among them being taking care of their frailing health.
Choosing a health insurance policy for parents is paramount in creating a safety net for them.
How can we choose the right policy that would align with our parents’ needs?
Factors to Consider before Buying a Health Insurance Plan for Parents
To ensure that you are buying the right health insurance for parents in India, you must be thoroughly aware of certain factors.
Coverage Scope of the Insurance Policy
The most important factor to consider before buying an insurance policy is to be aware of the scenarios covered by your insurance policy.
The insurance policy must cover the following points:
- Annual Health Check-Up Expenses: Prevention is always better than cure. An annual check-up for your parents would be an ideal way to keep track of your parents’ health. But this can also cost you a good amount. Ensure your policy has an Annual Health Checkup cover.
- Accidental & Illness Hospitalization Expenses: Unforeseen illness and sudden accidental injuries can throw off your budget plans. Especially for your parents, their advancing age and delicate health can become an added risk factor. An Accidental & Illness Hospitalization Expenses can come in handy in those cases.
- Major Surgeries, Pre and Post Hospitalisation Expenses: High-end operations would require a large amount of money. This, coupled with pre and post hospitalisation charges, can wreak havoc on your savings. It is always best to have these expenses covered by your policy.
- Psychiatric Illness Treatment: Mental health is as equally important as their physical health. Always ensure your parents have a routine mind check-up too.
The sum insured will be the amount given by your insurance company while settling a claim. Ensure you choose the right policy so that you will be reimbursed for the right amount while settling a claim. It must be enough to cover the expenses and not cause a dent in your savings.
Critical Illness Cover
At a certain age, severe health issues like heart problems, kidney-related issues can often plague your parents’ health. Cancer too has now cancerously spread over the population. Medical care for such critical illnesses can be expensive. It is always best to have a Critical Illness cover along with surgical, hospitalization, and post-release expenses.
Pre-Existing Illness Cover
Most health insurance companies have a waiting period for raising a claim for pre-existing illness. Look through the number of illnesses covered under the pre-existing illness cover — the more, the better. The waiting period should also be a minimum.
The Affordability of the Policy Premium
Make sure that whatever premium you are paying towards the policy is worth your money and is something you can afford. It must not create a crater in your savings. The coverage and sum insured must be well worth the premium you are paying. It must also align with your parent’s health condition. Always compare, calculate and be aware of the break-up of your premium amount. A health insurance calculator will be a good way of understanding how your money goes into what.
In certain cases, you might just have to stretch your plan a bit further to create all-round protection. Most insurance companies offer add-on benefits to create a well-formulated policy. These include cover for alternative treatments like Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Naturopathy treatment; daily hospital cash allowance to cover your daily expenses while in hospital etc.
Co-payment means a part of the claim amount will have to be borne by the policyholder himself. Only the rest will be paid by the insurance policy. This can often backfire if you are cash crunched in an emergency situation. It is always better to opt for an insurance policy with zero co-payments.
Claim Settlements Track Record
It is always good to opt for a company that has a high claim settlement ratio. Claim settlement ratio is the ratio of no: of claims accepted to the total number of claims filed. If a company has a higher settlement ratio, it means there are higher chances your claim will be settled. If a company is stringent with their settlement process, it will not be worth the premium you pay for.
A wide Network of Hospitals Offering Cashless Services
Cashless service can be a real time-saver when it comes to paying off the expenses. If the insurance policy has a large network of hospitals that offer cashless service, then the insurance company will directly pay for the expenses to the hospitals. You will not have to sort through the dozens of bills and hassle through the process of the reimbursement process.
Ease of Settling Claims
Most insurance companies these days have an easy online process for settling claims so you can easily upload the necessary documents within the comforts of your home. A cashless settlement is an easy process. Even if the claims are reimbursed, the whole process of settling those claims must not be a source of headache to you.
Getting health insurance can be a really good investment in the long run. It will help you in emergencies, especially when the cost of medical expenses are on the rise in the present era. It is always better to be prepared for such scenarios rather than finding yourself without any money to pay for your medical bills. The premium for health insurance is also exempted from taxation in India. Thus the benefits of getting health insurance are manifold.