The cost of healthcare in India has been rising steadily, with the COVID-19 pandemic further boosting this surge. Economists at the State Bank of India predict a rise in healthcare expenditure to form 11% of private consumption expenditure, a significant jump from the current 5%. This escalating cost and the pandemic have made buying a health insurance policy more necessary than ever. However, as of 2017, only 44% of Indians had health insurance policies. This could be because, for many, health insurance takes away a large portion of their take-home pay and savings. But here are a few handy tips on buying health insurance that could help make policies more affordable for you.
Important Tips on Health Insurance
Buy Health Insurance While You Are Young
Most insurance providers offer insurance premiums based on your age. So, there is a high chance that if you buy a policy when you are young, you can get health insurance at a lower premium which is one of the top tips on health insurance. Furthermore, as you get older, you have a higher chance of being diagnosed with age-related illnesses. These can also increase the cost of your premiums. Some pre-existing conditions are also not covered by health insurance, which makes the policy redundant for you.
Many employers in India offer employees health insurance benefits for free or at low costs. These policies often cover employees’ family members as well. Therefore, by opting for health insurance coverage offered by your workplace, you can save money and secure the well-being of your family.
Choose Long-Term Plans
Selecting a long-term insurance plan can be beneficial as these plans often come with a discounted premium. Such a choice also ensures that you stay protected against inflation which could increase premium prices each year. Insurance providers are also expected to offer discounts to policyholders who have not made any claims.
Utilize Your Cumulative Bonus
A cumulative bonus is a reward that many insurance companies offer customers if they have not made any claims during a policy year. This bonus increases the sum assured amount when a policy is renewed but allows you to continue to pay the same premium rate. So, you get more benefits at a lower cost.
Compare Several Options Before Buying
It is important to look through and research the insurance plans offered by different insurance providers to find one that is the most affordable and meets all your needs. By comparing and contrasting plans, you can often save a considerable amount of money, an invaluable tip when it comes to top tips on health insurance. Several websites and online portals now allow comparison between different insurance plans.
You could also consider buying a policy from an online portal and save the commission fee an insurance agent would charge. Vital is one such website that allows you to purchase insurance policies without any hassle. It also offers customized health insurance plans that cater to your specific needs, unlike generic policies. Such customized plans can also help you save money by paying only for those services you need.
Opt for Basic Hospitalization Cover
If you cannot afford a high-end insurance plan that meets all your needs, at least opting for basic hospitalization cover is another one of the top tips on health insurance. It will safeguard your family’s health and ensure protection in the case of an emergency. A plan which covers basic hospitalization is usually cheaper, so you can save money on premiums. However, you should compare the cost of the premiums as well as the cost of basic hospitalization in your city before choosing such a plan.
Select a Family Floater Plan
A Family Floater Insurance plan provides coverage to your entire family and serves as one of the valuable tips on health insurance. Such plans are usually cost-effective as you need to pay a one-time annual premium to secure the health of your whole family. These plans are also flexible. For instance, if one member of your family falls sick, you can use the entire policy amount for their treatment. Or each family member can use the sum assured as and when they want, according to their needs.
Select a Top-Up Plan
A top-up health insurance plan acts as a supplement for your existing health insurance plan and boosts the sum insured amount of your current policy. It also serves as one of the invaluable tips on health insurance. This top-up plan is usually activated when you exhaust the amount offered by your current plan. Therefore, you can opt for a plan with a lower sum insured amount, so you can save money on premium payments and select a top-up plan later if required.
Choose Riders Carefully
Riders are policy provisions that allow the policyholder to add benefits or change the terms of the policy according to their needs and are also one of the top tips on health insurance. The riders are often very useful as they allow the policyholder to get the insurance benefits that they want. However, they come at an additional cost. Therefore, it is necessary to choose and add only those riders that are absolutely necessary.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
By maintaining a healthy lifestyle, you can help cut down the costs of your health insurance premiums which is one of the most important tips on health insurance. Insurance companies often provide lower premium rates to those who do not have a high risk of falling sick. Those who smoke or have conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure often have to pay higher premiums. You can check out the difference in premium rates for people with existing conditions and those who do not have these diseases by using an online premium calculator.
The increase in pollution and the declining quality of life have led to an increase in lifestyle-related diseases. People’s work schedules have also become more hectic, leading to more stress and sedentary life. Along with the global pandemic, these factors have highlighted that it is crucial for people to get health insurance policies right from a young age.
Many young people may hesitate to part with their hard-earned money, especially for the sake of health insurance, as they feel they do not need to worry about health problems so early on in life. But you never know when you may face a medical emergency. Thus, it is better to be prepared for all eventualities and buy health insurance as soon as you can. Using these tips on health insurance will reduce costs help you safeguard your well-being, and protect yourself from rising healthcare prices.