How to Choose Best Health Insurance Plan in India?
One would not know the importance of the health insurance plan unless one would need to spend huge money during hospitalization and treatments. There are several health insurance products, several insurance companies, several reviews from blogs, websites etc., Different opinions, reviews, comments about how to choose best health insurance plan are also confusing. How to pick-up right health insurance suitable to you? What are the parameters to be considered ? How to choose a good health insurance plan?
Why do we need to buy health insurance plan?
- Protects you from unforeseen medical expenses.
- Protects from high cost medical expenses. Health insurance plans come with low premiums.
Why do we need to buy a good health insurance plan?
- Coverage for high / complete medical expenses.
- Simple claim process when you or your family, is hospitalized.
- Trusted health insurance company who would not reject your claims for any stupid reasons.
How to Choose Best Health Insurance Plan in India?
These are a few tips on how to choose a good health insurance plan suitable to you.
1) Maximum Coverage Amount
Choose a health insurance plan that offers maximum coverage amount. These days medical expenses are rising sky high. Simple heart surgery costs you Rs 4+ Lakhs. Some of the health insurance plans offered by Religare, TATA AIG, Apollo Munich, Bajaj Allianz, L&T Insurance offers policies for coverage of Rs 10 Lakhs to Rs 50 Lakhs also. Depending on your requirement, you should consider taking high health risk coverage health insurance plan.
2) Prefer Family Floater Health Insurance Plans
While Individual plans are good for single individuals, if you have a family, consider taking a family floater health insurance plans. These family floater health plans come with low premiums, but cover for your entire family.
3) Choose a right sum assured
When you are single and un-married, you may need less sum assured. When you are married or 40+, your medical expenses start increasing. Hence consider the increasing sum assured or consider buying a right sum assured policy based on your need.
4) Early coverage of pre-existing diseases
Many insurance companies does not offer coverage of pre-existing diseases immediately. They are generally covered after 3-4 years only. Check for policies which cover pre-existing diseases as early as possible. E.g. For Rs 10 Lakhs coverage, L&T Insurance (Health Medisure Prime) offers pre-existing disease coverage after 2 years. Apollo Munich offers coverage after 3 years. Religare, TATA AIG, Bajaj Allianz offers coverage after 4 years of taking the policy.
5) Renewals for maximum age period
Some of the best health insurance plans to choose are those which offer renewals for maximum age period. While some offer up to 65 years of age, some of the health plans offer renewals till 75 years of the age. Majority of the individuals may not need high medical expenses when they are young, but such medical expenses would increase when they are going older. Generally we do not keep this in mind when you buy such policies when we are younger. This is important factor in choosing a top and best health insurance plan in India.
6) Consider Insurance company that has High Claim Settlement Ratio
Claim settlement ratio is nothing but claims settled over claims received. If an insurance company has received claims of 100, settled 90 and rejected 10, this means it has 90% claim settlement ratio. What happens when your claim is rejected by such insurance company. Hence, considering insurance company that rejects less claims is considered to be good. LIC, ICICI Life, HDFC Life etc. has high settlement ratios, hence considering health insurance from such policies is good.
7) Policies having sub-limits
Many of us buy insurance policies based on the sum assured. However sub-limits on various parameters could create a problem when you actually need it. E.g. hospital room charge limit of Rs 1,500 per day can create an issue for you when you cannot get it when you joined in a hospital. You may need to compromise on room. Consider taking policies which provide high sub-limits.
8) Network hospital coverage
Majority of the insurance companies offers network hospital coverage for several hospitals in metro cities. However you buy a health insurance plan for your parents / relatives who stay in semi-urban and rural areas, you may need to ensure that such hospital coverage is available in your town. Consider taking health insurance plan from an insurance company that offers network hospital in your town, else you may need to pay it and get it reimbursed from the insurance company which is a lengthy process.
9) Compare premiums
While you would see the features in the health insurance plan, you can compare insurance premiums of various insurance companies. You can consider policybazaar, policyboss etc. who are insurance aggregators. It is immaterial whether you buy products through them or not, but comparison would help you to ascertain premiums along with its features. For a 40 year aged individual having spouse and 2 children and health plan for Rs 10 Lakhs, Star Health Optima offers lowest premiums of Rs 14,000 per annum compared to other health plans which offer between Rs 19,000 to Rs 30,000 health insurance premiums. I got this quote from policybazaar just as an example.
10) Read the fine print of the policy
Many of us do not go through fine print / terms and conditions of the health insurance plan. While blogs, websites would review the health insurance plans, you need to go through the fine print and see the terms, conditions, etc. This would help you to know any hidden facts like pre-existing insurance coverage period, maternity expense coverage etc. e.g. L&T Insurance offers maternity benefits, others also offer but after a waiting period of 3 years.
11) Read review about policies
One of the best way to choose a health insurance plan, is to read the reviews about health insurance policies. They would give various positive and negative opinions. It would help you to take decision whether to buy a particular policy or not.
12) Consider policies offer NCB / discounts
Some of the insurance companies are offering No-Claim Bonus (if you do not claim in any financial year, they would give you a no claim bonus and reduce this from your future premiums) and discounts on insurance premiums for first few years. This would help you to pay low premiums. E.g.
13) Minimum Exclusions
Many insurance companies exclude several diseases for first few years like Cataract, Hernia, Fissures, Joint Replacement, sinusitis, Gastric, Ulcer etc., Some of them exclude permanently like dental treatment, eyesight, HIV/AIDs, Obesity, Sex transmitted diseases, cosmetic surgeries etc., Consider policies which excludes less diseases.
14) Enhanced coverage for no claim
Some of the insurance companies are offering enhanced coverage if you do not claim for any financial year. This would help you to get the higher sum assured year on year if there is no claim. This is good for individuals who are under 50 years as real medical expenses would start only after 50+ years.
15) Critical illness riders / accident coverage
This is an important factor in choosing best health insurance plan. Consider policies which offer several Critical illness riders / accident coverage. More value to be given for high number of illness riders. Critical illness coverage in health insurance has several advantages.
Conclusion: You may not need to consider all parameters here. But consider a few important ones like choosing right sum assured, early pre-existing disease coverage, renewals for maximum age, claim settlement ratios, coverage for critical illness riders etc.,
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How to Choose Best Health Insurance Plan in India