5 Lesser Known Features of Health Insurance
The benefits of having health insurance are numerous. It provides a cover to you and your loved ones when times are uncertain and expenses can potentially pile on. Medical expenses, as the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, cannot be predicted or planned for in advance. The only thing that can be planned is how we’re prepared to deal with these unforeseen expenses and health insurance, for a multitude of reasons, is the best way to deal with it.
A 2001 study by the World Bank showed that, in a single year, at least 24 per cent of all hospitalized Indians slipped below the poverty line because of hospitalization. A more recent report on out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure revealed that 70 per cent of expenses incurred by Indians are from their pockets leading to impoverishment and indebtedness. Despite these startling facts, less than one-fifth of Indians are covered under health insurance. So, to help you decide to get health insurance, we’ve come up with five lesser-known facts that’ll motivate you to protect yourself and your family at the earliest.
- Individual Policies & Floaters With No Age Barrier
Many people these days, especially those who are young, forgo getting health insurance because they’re covered by their employers, or because they simply believe that they don’t need one. But, what happens when you switch jobs? Or decide to quit your employer and start your own business? Also, what happens when you have to retire? Getting health insurance solves these problems, especially today when there are various policies that are happy to cover you irrespective of your age. In fact, even a couple in their golden years can opt for a floater that covers them both (A family floater policy is a health insurance plan which covers the entire family on the payment of a single annual premium).
- Cashless Treatment & Reimbursement Claims
A common misconception exists about cashless claims. Many believe that cashless claims force customers to depend only on a list of networked hospitals for claiming their insurance. But, it should be known that if one chooses a non-networked hospital, the option to pay and file a reimbursement claim remains open. Further, in the case of a cashless claim, if the claim is rejected due to incomplete paperwork, there is always the option to claim later once the paperwork is complete.
- Tax benefit on health insurance premium
One benefit of health insurance that people often overlook is the tax benefit it provides. Buying health cover by paying cash won’t get you a tax benefit, but, if the health insurance premium is paid through a non-cash mode – such as cheque, net banking, or any other digital mode – tax benefit can easily be availed under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act. The Finance Act, 2018 even offers higher deductions for premiums paid for senior citizens. In case of premiums paid for those under 60, the deduction is up to Rs 25,000. In fact, a total deduction of up to Rs 75,000 is possible in a year through health insurance. It must be noted here that tax benefit on payment made towards preventive health check-up up to Rs 5,000 is allowed even if paid in cash.
- Pre-Existing Diseases
According to the latest norms issued by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), if a policyholder is diagnosed with any disease within the first three months of taking a health insurance policy, it will no longer be considered a pre-existing disease. This change solved the problem that policyholders earlier faced because if an illness fell under the pre-existing condition, the insurer could reject the claim, hike premium, or even terminate the policy. But, now, health insurance plans allow coverage of pre-existing ailments after 36 or 48 months of the policy.
- Policies Designed to Cover Maternity Expenses
In India, there are various plans that offer health insurance policies specially designed to cover maternity expenses. This usually covers hospitalization for the delivery of the child, prenatal (examinations, tests, and medication, ambulance service in case of an emergency), and post-natal expenses (follow-up visits, medication, related confirmatory tests). Such policies even cover the medical expenses of the newborn from birth till the completion of 90 days. Most importantly, these policies have a waiting period of just nine months and can be chosen as a standalone policy, or included as an add-on by paying an extra premium.
After going through these five lesser-known facts about health insurance, we hope you will decide to cover not only yourself but also your parents, spouse, and kids to avail maximum benefit from the policy. It cannot be stressed enough, the importance of having health insurance, especially when the healthcare industry in India has been getting more and more expensive with every passing day. To make sure that you and your loved ones are properly protected and receive the best care, buying health insurance should be the next move on your to-do list.