Why Health Insurance for elderly a must buy!

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health-insurance-policy-for-senior-citizenHealthcare continues to remain a crucial lifeline for elderly citizens who need healthcare as they age. However, as per a latest study, over the next two decades, out-of-pocket medical costs for older adults are likely to rise significantly. Considering the current rate of medical inflation in India, adequate health insurance has become a must-have for each and every individual, and if the individual happens to be your parents, the need of buying a senior citizen health insurance becomes all the more important. We all must accept the fact of life that as we age, it’s not just our experience that increases, the list of medical ailments also witness a substantial increase.

Need to Buy Health Insurance for Elderly

Many studies suggest that a majority of senior citizens in India are exposed to one or the other lifestyle diseases including diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, etc. This eventually increases their chances of facing medical contingencies. Considering the given scenario, buying an individual cover for your elderly parents is a sensible thing to do. In the event of your parents falling ill and requiring a hospitalisation, the major part of the medical expenses will be taken care of by your parents’ medical cover plan, without burning a hole in your pocket. Most importantly, even if your parents are adequately covered under a corporate health insurance policy by your employer, the cover provided by your employer would cease to exist post-retirement. This makes it important for you as caring and responsible children to purchase a separate senior citizen health insurance.

Choice of Senior Citizen Health Insurance Plans

For people looking forward to buy a health insurance plan for their parents, a family floater healthcare plan can be a good option provided the age of parents is not much and the parents do not have any pre-existing diseases. Family floater health plans are specifically designed to offer insurance coverage to the entire family, including dependent parents. While some of these health insurance covers impose a limit on the age of the parents, other insurers charge a high premium.

Fortunately, the Indian insurance market is crammed with numerous health insurance plans that specifically target senior citizens and even those with pre-existing diseases. It is strongly suggested to go for an independent policy rather than group policy as a group cover does not always includes pre-existing diseases. However, in an independent policy, most of the pre-existing diseases get covered and even the chances of claims getting approved are highest. You can even avail a tax benefit of up to Rs. 25,000 under Sec. 80D on health insurance premium paid for self, spouse, children, and parents. And in the case of elderly parents (above 60 years of age), the benefit goes up to Rs. 50,000 with the latest amendment in tax slab.

There are some crucial factors that you must consider when planning to buying health insurance for your elderly parents.

Entry Age

In India, most of the insurance companies have entry age criteria that must be fulfilled by the individual to be eligible for buying a health insurance cover. However, the entry age guidelines vary from one insurer to another and it is always advised to compare the different policies offered by different providers. It is important to consider the age of the policy seeker before issuing the policy as it plays a great role in deciding the premium of the policy. While a particular health insurance cover may look attractive to you for different factors and features, if the entry age is not matched; it is worthless to buy the policy.

Extent of Coverage

While buying a health insurance cover for your parents, do make sure to select a plan that offers extensive coverage. Pick a plan that promises adequate coverage against various critical illnesses, particularly the pre-existing diseases. Though most of the insurers provide coverage against these diseases after a waiting period which is typically of 2 or 3 years, it is always advised to review your policy document to understand the conditions carefully.

Sum Assured

The total sum assured plays a very important role in any health insurance policy. Thisis typically the amount that the insurer will reimburse against the expenses incurred for medical treatment. However, the incurred expenses must be within the total sum assured. While buying a health insurance policy for your elderly parents, it is always advised to for a higher sum assured, as you will receive a larger amount for medical emergencies.

The following is a comparative table of 5 leading insurance companies providing Health Insurance cover of senior citizens Rs 5 Lakh sum assured for a 65 year old male and 61 year old female who live in a metro city.

Insurer Plan Name Premium (Rs.)
Religare Health Insurance NCB Super Premium 39,362
MAX Bupa Health Insurance Go Active 61,922
Star Health and Allied Insurance Health Optima 37,931
HDFC ERGO Health Suraksha – Silver 33,069
Apollo Munich Health Insurance Easy Health Floater 55,177

Views expressed in this article are personal opinion of Vaidyanathan Ramani, Head, Product and Innovation, Policybazaar.com.

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