Buying A Health Insurance Policy: Don’t Forget To Verify This Checklist

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A Health Insurance policy by its very nature of being driven towards covering medical costs that may be financially straining to a person has become a very important investment instrument today. The unpredictability of illness and injury that may be detrimental to finances is anxiety that plagues people across income brackets. 

The determining factor for most potential policyholders in a health insurance policy is the extent of the coverage;  one that stands for most medical costs and conditions with little to no exclusions and sub-limits. To find a health insurance policy that completely caters to and covers every foreseeable situation is one that can be replete with trial and error. Therefore, there are certain things to consider before buying a health insurance policy today. 

A health insurance policy is an insurance instrument that covers medical costs incurred in the course of prolonged hospitalization, and costs post-discharge as well. It is a general policy that has many variations offered by insurance providers according to age groups and family structure. One may choose from an individual health plan, a family plan, senior citizen coverage, and even critical illness insurance plans. 

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They are important because of their simple premise, which is to protect the policyholder and their dependents from any further emotional or financial distress at a time that they may already be vulnerable due to illness or injury. At times of great inflation in medical and hospitalization costs, the selection of health insurance plans is a necessity for every individual, otherwise one may run the risk of having to use their emergency savings to afford these costs. 

Let us look at some of the features of a health insurance policy that offer a range of benefits and coverage:

1. Coverage: 

Health Insurance plans offer complete end-to-end coverage against hospitalization costs, ambulance fees, including pre and post-op care. According to the necessities of the policyholder, they can avail a sum assured in the event that their income becomes irregular in the event that the policyholder meets with an accident. 

2. Tax Benefits: 

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The premiums paid for a term insurance plan and the payout sum thus received from the same at the time of maturity is exempted from taxation under Section 80C and 10(10D) of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

For health insurance plans, the premiums paid are deductible from the net taxable income earned by the policyholder as per Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

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3. Flexibility:  

A health policy offers ample room for a policyholder to customize their policy as per their circumstances such as reduced premiums after a specified time period, or extending one’s tenure to avail insurance till retirement and after. 

4. Sum Assured: 

The sum assured under a health insurance policy is capped at Rs 6 crore per annum. The sum all-around offers a financially robust and extensive cover for the policyholder. 

5. Critical Illness: 

One of the most important features of a health insurance policy is its Critical Illness benefit which provides coverage for more than 30 critical diseases such as cancer, kidney diseases, stroke, and more. 

6. Claims: 

For health insurance plans, one can avail claims according to their reason. For standard claims one can avail coverage till their sum assured isn’t exhausted. For situations such as disability or critical illness, the policyholder can receive Cancer insurance benefits or lump-sum payment from the insurance provider. One must note that claims made under the aforementioned reasons are only one-time payouts. 

7. Add Ons: 

One can add additional riders for critical illness, maternity, accident, and accidental disability onto an existing health insurance policy. 

8. Exclusions: 

Specific illnesses and surgical procedures may not be covered under a health insurance policy. Additionally, before purchasing a health insurance plan one should check the sub-limits the provider may have in terms of room costs, ICU charges at the time of hospitalizations. 

Now that the fundamentals of health insurance plans have been established. Let us take a look at all the things one has to consider before buying a health insurance policy this year:

1. Claim Process: 

Before investing in an insurance policy, one should independently look at the credentials of various insurance providers about their track records, claim payment promptness. From a mix, one should choose the plan and provider that has a simple claim process and has good customer service.

2. Adequate Coverage: The payments or reimbursements a policyholder may receive from insurance providers has to be adequate enough to cover high-cost treatments and even post-care for the policyholder. Hence one should go for plans that have a minimum 10 lac sum assured since medical costs have inflation margins that increase exponentially.

3. Hospitals: At the time of zeroing in on a health insurance policy one should go for an insurance provider that has a strong list of reputed hospitals under their policy listing. 

4. Pre/ Post Hospital Expenses: Select a policy that allows one to have an extensive cover over not just hospitalizations, but also tests, doctor consultations, and medicines. 

5. Renewal Age: Insurance investments are usually done to protect oneself from financial distress caused by medical expenses, hence one should purchase plans that last well into and beyond retirement because that is when one is more prone to illnesses and ailments. One should keep their policies updated and renewed so as to avoid any distress caused by sudden illness or accidents. 

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Image Source: Shutterstock

Max Life Insurance has a wide variety of health insurance policies that cater to investors and their expenses for physical well-being; reach out to our financial advisors for more information about the plans that will suit your needs in trying times.

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