How can you compare Health Insurance Policies?
Medical insurance is meant to deal with health-related emergencies in life. And a right health insurance policy is designed in a way to offer you the best possible medical care without affecting your savings account. It offers risk coverage towards charges on your room, medical and diagnostic facilities, doctors, medicines, etc. If your insurance provider has a network of hospitals, then you can avail the benefit of cashless treatment in one of those hospitals.
Priya Agarwal is a 25-year-old fashion designer, who just got a job with one of India’s leading fashion companies. Due to covid19 restrictions, she has been working from home for the past 6 months, giving her ample time to plan her financial investments. To protect herself from the coronavirus impact, she chose to buy health insurance and was confused about which to buy as there are many options. Her friends were also not able to help as each was suggesting a different policy. So she finally landed on the internet to compare health insurance policies that are available in the market. After entering all the required details about her health cover preference, the website displayed a detailed list of health insurance plans from different insurers with quotes and benefits. This comparison exercise helped her to shortlist a health cover easily right from the comforts of her home. With the confidence of choosing the best health insurance policy, Priya is calm and composed, without the worries of covid19 infection or treatment.
Everyone is looking to buy the best health insurance policy in India but like Priya, they also face the same situation in choosing their desired policy. Therefore, we have come up with some important factors that you should consider at the time of buying a health insurance plan. You can use these factors to compare health insurance plans in India.
How to compare health insurance plans?
There are at least 10 different insurance companies providing health insurance policies and you get quotes from each of them for a health policy. By comparing these policies, you not only get the quotes from these providers but they also provide more information on the plan and its features. While certain insurance plans appear to be excellent in one area, they may not be awe-inspiring in other areas. Therefore, you need to know how to compare these plans based on the below parameters.
6 Factors to compare various health Insurance Plans in India
- Network Hospital
- Insurance Co-payment
- Limits on certain medical procedures
- Waiting Period
- Out-Patient Treatment Coverage
- Discounts and Bonuses
1. Network Hospital
Before you buy a health insurance policy, you need to find the list of hospitals that are part of their network. The hospitals that are nearest to you which offer excellent medical services should be listed on the list of hospitals that are part of the network of the insurance company you intend to purchase to get the benefit of cashless hospitalization. In the event of unplanned hospitalization, the distance of hospitals from your home might not matter but in the event of an emergency medical situation, it’s best to visit the closest hospital. Visit the website of the insurer to get the list of hospitals in their network.
2. Insurance Co-payment
This could be one of the most important aspects to look for while selecting health coverage plans. Co-payment, also known as ‘Co-pay’ means that you are required to pay a predetermined amount of the total claim. For example, if the policy specifies that there is a 10% co-pay for all claims, the insurer shall 90 percent of the amount claimed while the remaining 10 percent of costs must be borne by the policyholder. “Copay” is typically used in health plans for senior citizens and floater plans but it is advisable to verify whether the plan you select includes a co-payment clause or not.
3. Limits on certain medical procedures
Some insurance companies set a sub-limit on the number of expenses that is allowable for specific medical procedures, to protect them from being overcharged by the hospitals. Check to see if the policy specifies anything related to these limits, and if so, which diseases or illnesses have these limits and to what extent.
4. Waiting Period
There is a waiting period attached with most health insurance policies on specific illnesses or treatment before the risk coverage starts. For example, on medical issues like hernia or knee replacement surgery, etc., the coverage is available after two years of buying the policy. Read through the policy documentation to determine if there is any waiting time. While comparing different policies, you will get to know the exact details of this timeline, which will vary from one insurer to another.
5. Out-Patient Treatment Coverage
With the advancement in medical technology, numerous procedures do not require hospitalization at all. The treatment can be completed within a few hours and the patient can get discharged the next day. This is called daycare or outpatient department treatment. Every insurance company has a list of day-care surgeries that they generally cover. Hence go for a policy that covers maximum treatment options through OPD, as you may have to spend from your pocket if the policy doesn’t cover.
6. Discounts and Bonuses
In case an insurer doesn’t file any claim during the year, insurers often no-claim bonuses at the renewal of the health insurance policy. Additionally, if you will also be eligible for free health check-ups, on fulfilling certain criteria. Similarly, health insurers are offering many goodies through their wellness programs that can be redeemed on completing certain tasks related to your health. By comparing the health insurance quotes, you will get a better idea of the extra bonuses that are offered to policyholders.
A medical emergency happens without any prior intimation. Therefore, you must always be prepared to handle such situations without any fear or pressure. A health insurance plan has become a necessity during the current time to protect yourself and your family. With a variety of plans and loads of features packed into each insurance policy, choosing the desired cover becomes easy through the comparison of policies. So without proper planning, your finances can go haywire and will get difficult to manage the treatment costs.