The relevance of Health Insurance gets bigger with increasing age since the symptoms and ailments related to growing old demand greater attention. When you cross 45, health checkup is considered mandatory by insurers and crossing the 60-year barrier means insurance options begin to shrink.
So if Health Insurance is opted at an early age and is renewed regularly, one can enjoy its real benefits while growing old. Getting a full-claim, no co-payment commitments or avoiding exorbitant premiums for new applicants are a few sops.
If your parents have been without an insurance plan, then you must look for an appropriate health insurance options immediately. Though there are limited options available in the market, but you can still get a decent policy for them by taking care of some important points that we are going to discuss here in the next part.
Check The Policy Features
Senior citizens require greater coverage, flexibilities and support, therefore, they need Health Insurance with bundle of features. There should be no co-payment requirement for Critical Ailments like cardiac problem, cancer, kidney transplant etc. The room facility allowed under the policy should be of higher class. The policy should be renewable without any upper age restriction, some policy puts ceiling below 70 years, try to avoid such policies. Features like air ambulance support, daycare cover, OPD cover, etc. can add value to a senior citizen’s health policy.
Pre-Existing Diseases or Pre-Existing Illness
Most of the Health Insurance companies are not keen to provide coverage to an individual with pre-existing medical conditions. Pre-existing medical conditions or diseases means that an individual is suffering from any medical condition or disease before taking a health insurance policy. This includes health issues like cancer or diabetes, high blood pressure or asthma. Pre-existing conditions make buying a health insurance policy in case of senior citizens very difficult. However, a lot of health insurance policies still offer cover if the disease is not critical or terminal. When buying a health insurance policy for a senior citizen, it is advisable to be thoroughly aware of their medical conditions to avoid any kind of decline.
Sum Assured Under The Policy
Senior citizens are more prone to health risk than younger people. So, it is vital that they get sufficient size of health insurance cover. Some health insurance companies put a ceiling on the maximum health cover allowed for the senior citizens. While buying health policy for the senior citizens, first assess the existing ailments and future risks to determine the exact health cover requirement. Always prefer the insurance plan which offers the facility to upgrade the health cover to a higher level. It also makes sense to understand the health insurance top-ups as it provides additional cover over and above the present available limit.
An interesting point to know here is that you can carry over the benefits of your insurance cover of present employer to the next one when changing job. The insurance company just needs to be informed prior to shifting to the new job so that you continue with the same insurer to avoid the waiting period. When you join a new company there is a waiting period before you qualify for health insurance. The health insurance cover for you and your family is still an important requirement during this period.
Floater Policy Vs Individual Policy
You must be very careful when it comes to make a selection between floater policy and individual policy. Under floater policy the premium is charged on the basis of the eldest member’s age. Once insurance is claimed under the floater policy by any of the insured member, then its cover amount reduces to that extent and the remaining members are left exposed to health risk to the level of exhausted amount. Senior citizens have a greater chance of falling ill, therefore they may require health insurance support multiple times in a year. So, individual health insurance should be preferred over the floater policy when buying insurance for the senior citizen member.
Beware Of The Waiting Period
Waiting period restricts the insured person to get risk cover for certain period, especially for the pre-existing disease. Once waiting period gets over, thereafter insured person becomes eligible to get the required insurance cover. The waiting period for pre-existing ailment for the senior citizen normally varies from 1 year to 4 year period. When you are buying health policy for the senior citizens, then look for the policy which has lesser waiting period for the pre-existing disease. Senior citizens may require treatments for problems such as knee replacement, prostate ailment etc., but insurance companies normally allow treatments for such problems after a certain waiting period. You should select health policy that offers risk cover with least waiting period.
If you buy a health policy for senior citizens directly from the insurance company, then you may find the premium to be much high, co-payment condition, waiting period for pre-existing ailments and you would also be required to undergo pre-medical check-ups. Many banks have tie-ups with specific health insurance company to provide an exclusive policy to its customers. Such policy comes under the group insurance scheme, therefore the premium is substantially low. You also get the health insurance for the pre-existing disease without long waiting periods.
On the other hand, the disadvantage of buying a policy through a bank could put you in a situation where you may not be able to renew your policy at a low rate due to the ending of the partnership between bank and insurance company.
Senior citizens require a health policy more than younger people. The health insurance for senior citizens does not cover pre-existing diseases, dental or spectacles/lenses charges, diseases contracted within 30 days of availing the policy, non-allopathic treatment, AIDS expenses, cosmetic surgery, self-inflicted injury or expenses as a result of drug abuse.
BankBazaarInsurance.com, India’s premier online marketplace to compare and apply for the best personal finance products including Health Insurance, Car Insurance, Life Insurance and two wheeler insurance.
(The author is CEO of Bank Bazaar)