Health is wealth, they say. With hectic schedules, late hours, rising pollution, food contamination and fast-paced lifestyles among others, health has become a major concern like never before in this country. It is common knowledge that while the overall life expectancy has increased in India courtesy advanced medical facilities, the number of diseases affecting the young populace have also been on the rise in the past decade or so.
While the causes for a decline in the overall standard of health may be varied and debatable, there’s no denying the need for health insurance across various age groups. With medical inflation, many citizens are increasingly turning to health insurance policies to avoid huge medical bills during emergencies.
Best time to buy health insurance policy:
Time and tide wait for no one, goes the old adage. The right time to buy a health insurance policy is the moment you realise that your health costs may only escalate in the future owing to the overall rise in the cost of living among other factors. The sooner you realise the truth, the better it is for you. In other words, you should buy a health insurance policy at a young age to avail of many benefits.
Why should you buy health insurance at a young age?
There are many reasons pundits advise people to opt for a health insurance policy at a young age. There are manifold advantages to it as listed below:
- Waiting period: In most cases, health insurance policies have a waiting period ranging from 30 to 90 days, during which you cannot make any claims even if you have a medical emergency. Buying a health insurance policy at a young age is, therefore, a big advantage in this context, as you would exhaust the waiting period without any concerns. There is a waiting period for many ailments such as cataract, urinary tract stones, knee replacements, arthritis and so forth. Most insurance providers declare at least 10 to 15 ailments which have a waiting period. Individuals above 60 years have a longer waiting period in some cases.
- Comprehensive: If you make the wise decision of buying a health insurance policy when young, you can enjoy the benefit of comprehensive and holistic coverage. You will, therefore, enjoy greater security during employment and even after retirement.
- Low premium: In most cases, the premium amount charged by an insurance provider depends on your current age. If you opt for a policy at a young age, you can avail of a lower premium.
- Duration: It is important to note that most health insurance policies on offer come with a ceiling on upper age. If you buy a health insurance policy at a young age, you will not have to worry about age limits and thereby enjoying the benefit of health insurance for a longer duration.
- Tax benefit: Buying a health insurance policy at a young age will allow you to enjoy tax benefits for a longer period in that you can claim the premium you pay as deduction from your total income under 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
- Coverage: Taking a health insurance policy at a young age ensures that you have greater coverage. Many latest health plans offer wide coverage from day care procedures and vector borne diseases to maternity benefits and OPD expenses among others. In short, your coverage costs will only increase as you grow older owing to more medical complications.
- Pre-existing conditions: Buying a health insurance policy in your late 40s will only increase your financial burden with reduced benefits. Many health insurance providers exclude many pre-existing conditions from getting covered which defeats the purpose of opting for a health insurance policy.
- Bonus: Most insurance companies offer a ‘no claims bonus’ in the absence of any claims in the preceding year of a policy term. If you buy a health insurance policy at a young age, you can avail of cumulative bonus as you will most likely renew your policy every year. As a result, the bonus accumulated increases your coverage amount which will prove to be an advantage at later stages of life when you are old and grey. No claims bonus may range from 5% to 100% of sum insured in most cases.
- Wider options: You will be in a better position to choose from a wide variety of health insurance plans at a young age rather than in your late 40s. You have the freedom to opt or a plan which best suites your requirements by analysing all the important parameters.
- Lifelong renewal: You can opt for lifetime renewal of your health insurance plan and thereby, avail of extended coverage. Consequently, you can enjoy healthcare benefits for your entire life by opting for renewal of your policy.
- Lower chances of rejection: When you are young, you have many productive years ahead of you and less health complications. As a result, chances of your health insurance policy getting rejected are miniscule.
- Financial planning: Buying a health insurance policy at a young age not only gives you greater coverage but also helps you plan your finances in a better way. When you have adequate medical cover to take care of any health emergencies, you can focus on making other long-term investments.
- Personal health insurance: In this day and age of an exponential increase in medical expenses, the importance of a health insurance policy cannot be overemphasised. The coverage provided by your employer may not suffice to cover your costs. Furthermore, you will run the risk of being uninsured at the time of any job change or loss of employment.
- Poor health: Sedentary lifestyles have led to an increase in the occurrence of many diseases related to heart and lungs claiming lives at a young age. It is a sad truth that health insurance is now no more relegated to senior citizens. The young and salaried segment of India’s population is vulnerable to a number of diseases.
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.