The pandemic has been an eye-opener for many especially when it comes to having a health insurance policy. Not many people were aware that their health insurance policy may have already covered treatment for COVID-19. Hence, choosing the right health insurance policy from the start is of utmost importance to get the benefits of this security tool especially during such medical exigencies. Although, most first-time buyers are not accustomed to the jargon, or features and may not know how to go about buying the right health insurance policy that fits their requirements.
The checklist below will help you make an informed decision and buy an appropriate policy.
1. Buy when young
I firmly believe that one must buy a health insurance policy when young, as your age is one of the significant factors that determine the premium of your policy. A policy purchased when you’re 30 years old will be less expensive as compared to when you buy it at the age of 50. Cumulative bonus (CB) accumulated at a young age helps with higher cover with no additional premium on this CB amount and also covers the disease/illness during this journey into higher age, as received after the policy inception. The more you age, the more you’re susceptible to diseases. Although age is not the only factor that determines your premium, it’s always better to buy the policy earlier to avoid premium loading, pre-existing diseases, etc. Not that you can’t buy a policy when you’re old, but in this case, it’s good to buy it early and stay covered.
2. Opting for the right cover – Adequacy of Sum Insured and policy covers
It’s really important to understand your requirement while choosing a health insurance policy as it will help you opt for the right cover. You may already have a Group Medical Cover (GMC), but is it enough for you? Do you want to buy an individual policy so that you’re not dependent on your employer? Do you want to enhance your coverage by opting for a super top-up policy over your indemnity policy or GMC coverage? Asking such questions to yourself will help you know what you need, thus leading you to buy a suitable cover. In case you’re still in doubt, you can always approach the insurance company that will guide you towards buying a health insurance policy that fits your requirement.
3. Background check
One must always check the background of the insurance company from whom they are planning to buy insurance. Knowing their offerings, their network hospitals, and digital process for ease of transaction will help in understanding the company better. Do your research on various companies, their offerings, services provided, their standing in the market, and accordingly opt for the policy. Price should not be the only dominant consideration for choosing a health insurance cover.
4. Go through policy terms & conditions
Health insurance policies have certain terms and conditions which mention the things that are covered and excluded under the policy. It’s important to look at the waiting period, coverage for pre-existing diseases, room rent clause, wellness benefits, sub-limits, etc. before buying a policy. Doing so will ensure that if you happen to buy the policy, you’re not caught unaware at the time of claim in case a particular thing is not covered.
With rising medical inflation, it is important to buy an appropriate health insurance policy to avoid any financial losses. Make an informed choice from the start, analyze and understand the coverage, and accordingly buy your first health insurance policy. It will provide you peace of mind and you can focus on health recovery rather than worrying about paying the hospital bills.
5. Multiple Health Insurance Products:
There are multiple health insurance covers available in the market and should be bought in combination to enhance financial security and bring in more wellness into the family. Policies which cover critical illnesses and Hospital Cash add to the benefit of the insured in the long run which provides additional support at an affordable premium.
(Expert comments by Gurdeep Singh Batra, Head-Retail Underwriting, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance)