The health insurance market in India is very big. Healthcare in India can be quite expensive and not having health insurance can burn a hole in your pocket. There is no dearth of options when it comes to health insurance policies in India. Choosing the right policy among so many options can be quite overwhelming and confusing. The right way to choose the suitable health insurance policy is to make a checklist of your own and move accordingly.
In this article, we will deal with some of the important questions that you need to ask before buying a health insurance policy.
- What do you want?
Before anything, it is important to determine what is it that you are looking for from your health insurance policy. Once you know what you want from your health insurance policy, it will easier to check off all the requirements.
- What type of plan is it?
Find out what kind of plan it is. Some health insurance plans like critical illness health insurance plans offer cover only for certain critical illness mentioned in the plan. Plans like indemnity plans, pay only for a certain percentage of the medical cost whereas the rest is borne by the insured. It does not make sense to go for a regular health insurance plan if you only want cover for critical illness. So it is important to find out what type of plan is offered.
- What is the claim settlement ratio?
Claim settlement history of a company can tell a lot about the company. The claim settlement ratio of the company will give a clearer picture of how it has treated its customers in the past and if it stands true to its claims. The higher the claim settlement ratio, more trustworthy the company.
- How big is their network?
Another important question that will decide the best health insurance for you is if the company providing health insurance to you has a good network (branches easily accessible to you). It is going to be really helpful if there is a branch located near you in times of emergencies.
- How much do I have to contribute?
While most of the insurance companies pay for the medical charges, there are some companies that will ask you to pay a portion of the medical expense. This policy is called co-pay where in the insured contributes a certain amount. It is important to clear it out with the bank if you have no intention of opting for a co-pay option in your health insurance policy.
- What does the plan cover?
A plan cover includes all the ailments and conditions that the policy offers to pay for. The cover of a health insurance policy is decided by the bank. While some banks offer cover only for accidental injuries, surgeries, there are other plans that offer cover for critical illness, ambulance charges, prescription medicine charges and other medical expenses. It is important to find out if the plan offers the right cover for you.
- Does the plan offer cashless facility?
Cashless facility is a benefit provided by most of the health insurance plans. If you have cashless facility with your health insurance, you don’t have to run back and forth for money in the time of a medical emergency as the health insurance company will directly pay the hospital. It is wiser to opt for a health insurance policy with a cashless facility.
- Are routine examinations covered?
Routine examinations are very important and should be done every once in a while but it can cost quite a bomb if there are many tests involved. A health insurance policy that offers routine examination cover will save you a lot of money.
- Does the plan offer any special benefits?
Some health insurance companies offer special benefits such as cover for dental care, eye care and other conditions. Check with your insurance company before you buy the policy for special benefits.
- Are pre-existing conditions covered?
Many a time people make the mistake of assuming that their health insurance policy covers pre-existing conditions and this mistake can cost them a lot when they realise that it doesn’t. Most of the insurance policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions.
- How long do I have to wait?
There is something called waiting period on health insurance policies. Waiting period is the period for which you will have to wait before the policy is activated. You can’t utilize the policy right away, hence, it is important to choose a policy with a short waiting period.
- What are the out of the pocket costs?
There will be a lot of out of the pocket costs when it comes to a health insurance policy. Deductible, co-pay, co-insurance and out of pocket maximum. It is important to estimate all the costs before selecting a health insurance policy to buy the one that best suits your needs.
Check out our Infographic on Questions to Ask while buying Health Insurance Policy:
GST rate of 18% applicable for all financial services effective July 1, 2017.
Disclaimer: Premiums may vary depending upon factors like age, location and prevailing taxes/GST.