Health insurance in India is still a growing market and has a long way to go to reach its full potential. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an eye-opener for many and has ushered in a much-needed focus on the need to proactively have a solid health insurance plan in place.
Although many people have a basic health insurance plan, it is vital to ensure that they upgrade their plans to cover unforeseen expenses like testing, hospitalization, treatment, ICU charges, cost of medicines, etc. Even in pre-COVID times, with the rise in medical expenses and life-style related diseases in India, it is prudent to buy a health insurance plan early in life. Unfortunately, in India, health insurance is not mandatory as in some other countries and the awareness is also low.
Top 8 Reasons to Buy Health Insurance
Considering the sheer importance, in this article you’ll get to know about certain reasons for having a health insurance plan in place. Here you go:
Better Financial Planning and Stability
The main hindrance to buying a health insurance plan is the cost involved, which could seem unaffordable and unnecessary to some people. However, with the plethora of insurance policies available in the market, it is quite difficult to find a plan that is easy on the pocket and has a large coverage. Online comparison, however, helps in this regard.
Moreover, buying insurance early in life, reduces the premium significantly. Additionally, most long-term health insurance plans come as at discounted rates as compared to short-term plans. It is more cost effective to buy insurance online as it eliminates the need for an agent and his/her commission. A robust health insurance plan ensures complete coverage in case of emergencies, thus removing the additional stress of overlooked medical expenses. No Claim Bonus (NCB) is another amazing benefit that an insurer can enjoy. NCB is the reward or bonus offered by the insurer if the policyholder does not claim any insurance in a policy year. This bonus is usually accumulated over a period of time. NCB is claimed either with a discounted premium or with a cumulative higher sum insured.
Lifestyle Related Diseases Covered
The sedentary and stressful life-style in our country has triggered an increase in health disorders like diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, obesity, blood-pressure, etc. Recent statistics show that these ailments are not restricted to only people above 40 years of age. Also, urbanization and rising air pollution in India are leading to higher incidences of cancer, heart ailments and lung infections. According to India Fit report 2020, almost 70 million of the Indian population is diabetic. According to the Indian Heart Association, almost 25% of all heart attacks in India occur in individuals under 40 years of age. These statistics not only instill the need for a healthy lifestyle but also an early health insurance plan.
Income Tax Benefits
This is a huge benefit for tax-payers, as policyholders can claim a tax deduction under section 80D of the IT Act. The deduction for individuals and family members under the age of 60 years is up to Rs 25,000. If the family members are above 60 years, then the tax deduction claimed can be up to Rs 50,000. There are different types of health insurance policies like individual policy, senior citizen policy, critical illness insurance policy, personal accident policy, etc. Under section 80D, these health policies also qualify for tax benefits.
Covers a Range of Health-related Ailments
There is a wide range of health insurance policies available in India. Some of these policies can be added to the basic health plan according to the needs of the insurer. An individual health plan covers the medical expenses of only one individual. Family cover insurance policies provide coverage to all the members of the family. Senior citizen health plan is for individuals above 60 years. Critical illness policy is a very valuable insurance plan as it covers serious illness, which can include hospitalization for a long time and thus prove very expensive. Maternity policies usually cover pre- and post-natal, child delivery and may also include vaccinations for the child. Another reason to buy insurance online is that online technology allows the user to research, compare and choose different health plans under one single platform.
Employer Health Cover is Not Sufficient
Most corporations offer health insurance to their employees. Working professionals become completely dependent on them without knowing the extent of the health cover. However, employer-owned policies are not sufficient. These group policies cannot be customized to an individual’s needs, and they may or may not cover dependents. Employer-sponsored policies are usually not upgraded or revised, and as an employee’s age and family grows, a health insurance policy taken 5 years ago might not be sufficient now. Hence, employees need to reduce their dependence on corporate provided health insurance plans. Furthermore, if the employee leaves the company, the medical plan will cease to provide coverage.
Rising Medical Expenses
Medical expenses have increased significantly in the past few years and expenses may occur at the most unexpected times, taking a huge chunk of a person’s savings. For example, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, treatment and hospitalization charges in private hospitals can go up to Rs 7.5 lakh. Health insurance policies have evolved to cover end-to-end medical needs like day care procedures, vector-borne diseases, maternity, dental, ambulance, diagnostic tests, etc. By covering both pre and post hospitalization expenses, the individual and entire family can be safeguarded. In order to promote a healthier lifestyle and develop a proactive approach towards health care, many health insurances also offer occasional free medical health check-ups.
Lesser Premiums at a Younger Age
Premiums of health insurance policies differ based on the age and health of the insurer. Young insurance buyers with no pre-existing health conditions get a more discounted and comprehensive deal. Higher premiums are imposed on individuals with higher health-related risks. For instance, the premium for a 25-year-old individual will be much lesser than that of a 40-year-old. Most health plans have a waiting period for certain surgeries or special treatments. If the insurance is purchased at a time when there is no immediate need for it, the waiting period is already served and the insurer can claim its full benefits when required. Buy health insurance online as it can be renewed hassle-free without missing any deadlines especially if it’s a long-term plan. Renewing the policy on time is extremely important as a gap between expiry and renewal may result in losing some benefits.
Covers Pre-existing Illness
A pre-existing illness is a disease or health-condition that the insurer has already been diagnosed with before applying for the health policy. There are many companies who offer coverage for pre-existing conditions with the condition that the premium will be higher or with a waiting period. If a medical test is not carried out, individuals suffering from pre-existing conditions are duty bound to inform the health policy issuing executive about their condition.
Wrapping it Up!
With medical inflation rising at 10 to 15% every year, it is imperative for every individual to have a robust health insurance plan irrespective of their age and health condition. It has become a common practice, especially among younger professionals to buy insurance online. It is easier to compare different policies online and more convenient in terms of accessibility and payment.
Emergency medical situations may push an individual and his family to bankruptcy, if they are not properly insured. Investing in health can be one of the most profitable investments that can be done in one’s lifetime and it’s equally important to choose a good cover that meets an individual’s unique requirements.