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Best Government Health Plans for Senior Citizens

The outbreak of COVID-19 has made senior citizens more vulnerable than ever before. You’re always worried about the health of your parents and grandparents due to the increasing medical problems at their age.  Older people are challenged by the continuous physiological changes in their bodies which require them to pay special attention to their immunity, bones, joints, and muscles. They aren’t capable of taking complete care of themselves and even you can’t always be available to check upon them. It is therefore important that we create opportunities to foster healthy aging for them.

As you get older, the vulnerability and ailments increase which leads to repeat hospital visits and other health care expenses. Most families cannot bear all these expenses themselves, hence it is very important for them to choose a proper Health Plan that relaxes their financial burden. Choosing a suitable Health Plan for the seniors you care about can be an onerous task. Several factors are to be kept in mind while making this decision, including the various diseases covered, quality of medical treatment, and burden of medical expenses. 

What are Government Health Plans for Senior Citizens?

A senior citizen health insurance policy is designed for people above the age of 60 years. Considering the high cost of health care, the government provides a range of health insurance coverage plans to reduce the financial burden on the family. There are several government-sponsored health insurance schemes for senior citizens that are exclusively designed to address the unique healthcare needs of senior citizens cost-effectively. 

Why you should get a Health Plan?

With increasing age comes the additional risk of contracting diseases and falling sick. Since, the later years of an individual’s life are physically more challenging and financially less sound, having a medical insurance scheme to take care of any urgent medical expenditure is a smart move. Senior citizens are more prone to illness; with the deterioration in health and age-related illnesses, senior citizens may be required to visit hospitals often. Having a health cover is important to bear the expensive healthcare costs. Government Health Insurance plans will help you obtain Mediclaim for senior citizens that can help you during the period of hospitalization.

Moreover, the financial burden of availing of medical services without insurance may sometimes become heavy on your shoulders, so you should buy the insurance and be prepared for any eventuality. Availing health insurance provides a sense of financial security among senior citizens and hence gives peace of mind. Hence, it is imperative and necessary to have health insurance for senior citizens in the family.

Things you should keep in mind before buying a Health Plan

Choosing a Health Plan can be trickier than you can imagine. Senior citizen’s health plans come with their own set of challenges like higher premiums, stringent medical check-ups, co-payments, and waiting periods. Hence, it becomes imperative to look out for some variables while buying senior citizen health insurance. Here are few such factors to look at.

  1. Entry and exit age: Entry age and maximum age for renewability is an important consideration. The eligibility criteria for most Health Insurance Policies include the age of 60-80 years but the range might be different for some cases. Go for plans with flexible age restrictions.
  1. Maximum age of renewal: Some Policies might put a cap on the maximum age of renewal of that policy. Go for plans with lifelong renewability.
  1. Coverage: Usually, senior citizen plans can get expensive if you are seeking comprehensive coverage. Hence, always compare plans on a cost-benefit basis and make a need-based choice.
  1. Waiting periods: Specifically, for senior citizens, the lesser the waiting period better is the policy as they are prone to age-related illness.
  1. Critical illness cover: Depending on the individual requirement policies can be compared based on specific illnesses covered.
  1. Domiciliary Hospitalisation & Hospital Network:  To reap the maximum benefits out of your insurance policy, it’s important to make use of the features at the right time. To avail of cashless benefits anytime during the policy period, it’s important to choose the plan with the benefits of domiciliary hospitalization as well as wider hospital networks.

Top Government Health Plans for Senior Citizens to choose from

  1. National Varishtha Mediclaim Policy

National Insurance Company (NIC) offers Varishtha Mediclaim policy that offers medical insurance coverage to senior citizens between the age group of 60 years and 80 years of age. The policy period is of one year but it can be renewed till the age of 90. The insurance policy provides a cover of Rs.100,000 for hospitalization and Rs.200,000 for critical illnesses. The plan also covers organ transplants up to a specified amount. Varishtha Mediclaim Policy also provides you with the opportunity to use cumulative bonuses and coverage for the price of health check-ups done during the non-claim period. It also covers emergency ambulance services for up to Rs.1000. 

  1. New India Assurance Senior Citizens Mediclaim Policy

New India Senior Citizens Mediclaim Policy by the New India Assurance Co. Ltd., offers insurance coverage up to Rs.150,000. This health insurance plan is available for citizens aged between 60-80 years and can be extended to the individual’s spouse for up to 90 years of age. It provides pre- and post-hospitalization coverage along with ambulance charges. One of the main highlights of the plan is the 10% discount you can avail on your spouse’s premium. If there are no claims in a year the assured sum will go up by 5 percent and will keep rising to 30 percent as the NCB builds up. The Mediclaim covers you for treatments and conditions such as a Hernia, Arthroscopy, Appendectomy, and much more specialized treatments.

  1. Oriental Senior Citizen Hope Health Insurance

The health of Privileged Elders (Hope) scheme offered by Oriental Insurance is a comprehensive health insurance plan covering an individual above the age of 60. The insurance plan only covers specific diseases and also asks for a compulsory co-payment of 20% of the claim amount. The Hope plan gives 100 percent coverage for accidental injuries which can be very helpful during the event of an accident. The plan also covers major illnesses such as Chronic Renal Failure, knee replacement, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. 

  1. United India Senior Citizen Mediclaim Policy

United India Health Insurance has designed this Senior Citizen Mediclaim plan for people between the age group of 61 years and 80 years. The senior citizen can opt for a sum insured amount between Rs.1 lakh and Rs.3 lakhs. One of the key features of this insurance plan is the coverage it provides for domiciliary hospitalization. The insurance plan also covers ICU expenses and for specialized treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and dialysis. It also covers pre-existing diseases after a waiting period of 48 months.

Conclusion

The rising expenses in livelihood have made it extremely difficult to manage the medical expenses of your parents. Even though many private insurance agencies offer health insurance packages for senior citizens, they usually come with a bunch of clauses that might be troublesome. The government’s health plans are people-oriented and aim at providing enough financial help to the elderly during the time of sickness. We have provided you the top four government health plans to choose from for your parents or grandparents and. So, make sure you chose a plan that suits your requirements so that you can stay close to your loved ones during their time of sickness without having to run around to arrange finances for the same.

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What will happen if I don't pay the premiums?

A grace period is a time provided after the premium due date during which the policy is considered to be in-force with the risk cover. This grace period is usually 30 days but may vary for different plans and for shorter frequency of premium payments. In most cases, if a valid claim arises under the policy during the grace period, the claim is still honoured by the policy provider. In such cases, the due and unpaid premium may be deducted from any benefit payable. In case you do not pay premiums before the end of the grace period, the policy will lapse and you will lose most of the concomitant benefits of the policy. All risk covers will cease and no benefits will be payable in case of lapsed policies.

Do senior citizen health insurance policies cover pre-existing conditions?

Most of the senior citizen health insurance plans cover pre-existing conditions. To avail of the benefit, the insured needs to complete a specific waiting period, which may differ from plan to plan.

Is pre-policy medical examination mandatory? Do I have to pay for the check-up?

Yes, a medical check-up is necessary for anyone availing of health insurance above the age of 45 years. Pre-policy medical examination refers to the medical examination requested by health insurers before providing coverage to a person. This is to minimize their risk in covering a person. These tests are important because they act as a benchmark against which the insurance company can measure the policyholder's health. Any pre-existing medical conditions and illnesses would come to light through such a test, allowing the company to decide on the appropriate cover for the particular individual.
According to the rules laid down by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), at least half of the costs of the tests are to be borne by the insurance company, and the balance is to be paid by the policyholder. With the high competition in the market and to reduce the burden on policyholders, several insurers choose to cover the cost of the tests themselves.

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