Health insurance is insurance against the risk of incurring medical expenses among individuals. By estimating the overall risk of health care and health system expenses, among a targeted group, an insurer can develop a routine finance structure, such as a monthly premium or payroll tax, to ensure that money is available to pay for the health care benefits specified in the insurance agreement.
When it comes to spending our hard-earned money, we are very careful on the choice of products we buy. Whatever we shop for, it is done with much deliberation and care, choosing the ideal product which meets our requirements and comes at a competitive price. Perhaps that is the reason the monopoly model of markets has gone out of fashion. Almost every product has multiple sellers who offer us the benefit of comparison. When it comes to buying a medical insurance policy, competition is ever fierce with more than 21 insurers selling their product. Every plan out there today is loaded with features and choosing the best plan feels like studying rocket science.
Well, don’t start scratching your head just yet because comparing the numerous health insurance plans available in the market becomes easy if you have some basic knowledge pointers up your sleeve. If you are wondering what these pointers are, take a back-seat and read on! Here they come –
The coverage provided vis-à-vis the premium charged – Experts advise not to compare the health plans by premiums alone because every plan differs in its features. Well, they are correct! You should not compare only the premium of the insurance plans but also their features. The coverage the plans provide should be compared first against the cost of the plans. Since competition in the health insurance industry is high, almost every plan provides an extensive coverage. What distinguishes it from another plan is some particular coverage feature not provided in other plans. While some plans may provide you international medical coverage, others may provide you with restoration of Sum Insured benefit. Some plans may provide coverage for alternate medical treatments like Unani, Ayurveda, etc. others may not. So first consider the coverage that is provided and whether the coverage is relevant to you and then look at the premium charged. If the coverage you seek is available and costs s little more, you should choose it irrespective of the cost because it provides a comprehensive protection option.
Limits and sub-limits – Look for the limit on expenses mentioned in the plan. There may be capping on the allowable limit of room rent payable or other related expenses like ambulance cots, cost of cataract treatment, etc. Needless to mention, go with the plan which has no sub-limits and higher allowable limits on other treatments and cost
Pre-existing conditions and their waiting periods – If you are already suffering from a disease at the time of buying a policy, your health plan would obviously exclude the ailment from the scope of coverage for some years initially. These ailments are called pre-existing ailments and the number of years for which they are excluded from the coverage is called the waiting period. While comparing, you should look at the waiting period clause in the health plans and the plan with the lowest period would be the best choice.
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Bonus and discounts – For every year where you raise no claim, the insurer is supposed to provide a No Claim Bonus to you. This bonus may either include a reduction in the subsequent year’s premium or an increment in the subsequent year’s coverage at the same rate of premium. The latter is a better option as it increases the coverage without being heavy on the pocket. Moreover, various other types of discounts are offered by insurers to attract potential customers to buy their plans. Look for the range of discounts offered by the plans you are comparing. After all, who does not like shopping at discount?
Claim Process – We all buy health insurance to help meet the financial crisis caused by any medical emergency. Your health plan would prove useless if the claim settlement process of the plan is ambiguous. Look for cashless plans and even in those plans consider the list of tied-up hospitals to find your preferred choice of hospital otherwise in case of hospitalization, you or your family members would have to run around for getting your claim settled. You should also make sure that your preferred hospital can provide the cashless facility that you had applied for. You would be provided with a list of insurers which is subject to hospitals getting added or deleted without prior notice.
While the list may seem interminable, but the team at policybazaar has shared some broad and basic pointers which are enough when you are comparing various health insurance plans. The subject of health insurance is technical but if one knows which nuances to consider when comparing the various plans, the job becomes much easier. So now you know the basic comparison points, make an informed choice and buy the best plan for yourself.