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Considering the increasing incidences of lifestyle disorders and spiralling healthcare costs in India, it has now become a sheer necessity to buy health insurance on priority. A health insurance policy is designed to offer comprehensive coverage from unforeseen incidences of hospitalization; something that would be a major drain on your savings otherwise.

To start with, there are three ground rules of buying a suitable health insurance plan; don’t buy in haste, don’t buy on the basis of a friend’s (or agent’s) recommendation, and don’t sign up for one just looking at the policy premium. While knowing the premium and deciding on the sum insured is a start, there are a few other steps involved in choosing the most affordable health plan for yourself. Read on:

Consider higher deductibles

A voluntary deductible is the money that you shell out from your own pocket before the coverage kicks into effect. A higher voluntary deductible usually translates to a reduced premium on your health insurance policy . Leading insurers offer a provision for voluntary deductibles wherein you choose to shoulder a certain percentage (of the overall bill amount), before you file a claim with your insurer.

However, be careful while choosing the deductible value. That’s because a miscalculation in this regard might leave you with formidable medical bills on your plate. Simply put, don’t bite off more than what you can chew, when it comes to choosing a voluntary deductible.

Use a top-up plan

Adequate coverage is downright crucial, considering swelling healthcare costs. However, higher the coverage, more would be the policy premium. In such a scenario, it would be wise to split the required coverage amount and sign up for a health insurance top-up plan alongside.

A top-up health plan assumes significance once the original sum insured is exhausted. This way, you can access considerable coverage at a cost-effective price that would not burn a glaring hole in your pocket.

Consider family floater plans over individual health plans

If you don’t have a family to attend to, an individual health insurance plan would suffice. Otherwise, a family floater plan is the ideal way to bring all your family members under a single-coverage umbrella. This also brings down the cost of coverage per member. That way, you can avail a considerable sum insured at an affordable premium.

Look for a multi-year premium clause

You can benefit from sizable discounts, considering you choose to pay multiple premiums (premium for two or more policy periods) upfront. This brings down the premium as the policy would be in effect for at least a couple of years.

Further, check whether the health insurance policy you’re signing up for offers lifetime renewability or not. That’s because the relevance of health insurance steps up by several notches with advancing age. Therefore, it makes sense to consider plans that attach a ‘lifetime renewability’ clause.

Compare health insurance policies and buy one online

When buying a health insurance plan, don’t sign up for the first product that your friend or agent recommends. Do your homework and compare health insurance plans online prior to settling for one.

When you go online, you can access a range of policies across multiple insurance companies. You can then carry out an exhaustive comparison of insurance plans, basis certain parameters such as scope of coverage, premium, voluntary deductibles, add-on covers, and the likes.

When online, you can ‘request a quote’ as well, implying that you’d only have to click in a few basic details to get premium estimates instantly. More importantly, online channels sell insurance products to you directly — doing away with middlemen, and thereby ancillary charges and agents’ fees.

Introduce necessary lifestyle changes and buy health insurance when young

Health insurance policy premium, besides other factors, depends on your health, age, medical history and diseases that usually run within your family. Therefore, the more health problems (that you might be tackling), the higher the premium.

Hence, it makes sense to buy health insurance while you are still young. This way, insurers would not deem you a ‘risky’ prospect — since (chances are) you’d be relatively healthy and free from lifestyle diseases.

Further, furnish records of your medical history and come clean on every health-related information. Any blunder in this regard can lead to claim rejection in the future, and you might be left to foot hefty medical bills.

Bajaj Finserv Pocket Insurance offers you a range of convenient and pocket-friendly insurance solutions, across categories of Lifestyle, Health, Travel and Assistance. These insurance products have been designed keeping in mind your everyday needs, so that you are adequately insured through every routine activity of yours.

For instance, with a Hospital Cash Cover, you can get sum insured up to Rs.10,000 starting at a budget premium of Rs.499. In case of a hospitalization, you’d be eligible for a daily cash allowance worth Rs.1,000. This can help you fund regular expenses. More importantly, this daily cash benefit can come to your aid even if you undergo a day-care procedure.