We have multiple companies to choose from and multiple plans to consider before buying a health insurance in India. Like most Indians I love to bargain and see what max value I can get for the rupee spent – so a few days back when I considered getting a health insurance for me and my family apart from the health insurance already provided by the employer, I was shocked to know that there were over 15 insurance companies in India that provide health insurance and each of them have anywhere between 3-5 different types of policies. So, how do you choose the best policy and what options to consider before you buy a health insurance in India?
First of all consider if you plan to get an individual or a family floater health insurance cover. Getting induvial cover for each person of the family will be expensive and also not really needed. A family floater policy will have an amount insured and that amount can be used by another of the family member, but note that the family floater policy will take into consideration the age of the oldest member to be insured along with the number of persons to be insured before calculating the premium.
Next is to consider the amount you need cover for. Today a 5,00,000 cover for a small family may look sufficient but in a couple of years that would look so meagre and small with the medical expenses increasing atleast by 10-15% every year. Consider an amount that would make sense for the next 10 years atleast (You can always get a top-up medical cover later – this is a topic for another day).
Now that you have decided whether you need an individual or family floater and also the sum to be insured, start looking at various options. Lookout for health insurance policies that don’t have any cap on the room rent – this is very important as the room rents in hospitals keep increasing and also some policies have the room rent capped that could affect the other charges being capped too. E.g., if your policy has a room rent cap of Rs. 5,000 per day and you get hospitalized in Rs. 6,000 room rent – the insurance company will repay only for the Rs. 5,000 limit but also since your room rent is 20% more than the amount in the policy, they would consider a 20% reduction in many other charges saying that the charges are proportional to the room rent incurred. So watch out for this.
Look at the various coverage facilities that the policy offers like pre and post hospitalization charges, day care charges, ambulance charges, maternity cover – all of this you need to carefully consider based on your lifestyle. Also, many new policies cover for AYUSH. AYUSH refers to non-allopathic medical systems in India. It includes non-allopathic Indian medical system of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and also Homeopathy.
There is a pre-existing waiting period of either 2 / 3/ 4 years based on different policy and different companies. If you have a pre-existing ailment that you will need cover for, choose the policy with the lowest waiting period.
Look out for the list of network hospitals that the insurance companies cover in your city and also if your preferred hospital is covered. This is important as going for a cashless claim is always much better than running around later between your insurance company and the hospital for different forms and bills.
Finally, look out for the insurance company’s claim settlement process and history. In India, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) which is the nodal authority for insurance company’s put’s out an yearly report which specifies how the company handled claims and if in a timely manner – this can also be a deciding factor.
Hope you found this article useful in helping you choose the best health insurance in India for you and your family.