According to the IRDA 2017 report, 56% of Indians still don’t have health insurance coverage. This means more than 50% of Indians are unaware of the financial benefits of health insurance policies and they have to use their savings & other assets for medical treatments.
If you also haven’t taken a health insurance plan, then go for it immediately because retail health insurance also known as personal health insurance provides financial compensation to the insured in case of hospitalization due to an illness or disease.
You can take a health insurance policy not only for yourself but can extend to all the dependents like your spouse, children, parents, and even dependent brothers or sisters.
Why You Should Go for Health Insurance
A health insurance plan can offer you a large financial cushion against the medical treatment expenditure which is getting costlier day by day. Let’s discuss the 8 major benefits of getting a health insurance policy in the table below.
|Hospitalization Expenses||A health insurance plan covers the medical expenses if you are admitted to a hospital for more than 24 hours including ICU charges, room rent, doctor’s fees, medicine costs, diagnostic test fees, ambulance costs, and other expenses.|
|Accidental Cover||Most of the health insurance plans also cover hospitalization due to an accident.|
|Cashless Treatments||All health insurance companies in India provide cashless treatment facilities at their network hospitals. You need not arrange money to pay the hospital bills if you get admitted to a network hospital.|
|Pre & Post Hospitalization Expenses||It covers the medical expenses that you may have to pay for an illness before getting hospitalized and follow-up treatment after getting discharged.|
|Day Care Procedures||Health plans also cover the daycare treatment cost that requires hospitalization for less than 24 hours like cataract surgery.|
|Pre-existing Diseases (PED)||The health insurance policy also covers pre-existing diseases after completing the waiting period which is usually 2 to 4 years.|
|AYUSH Treatment||Some insurance plans cover alternative medical treatment that comes under AYUSH – Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy, Siddha, and Yoga.|
|Medical Check-ups||Most health insurance providers offer free preventive health check-up facilities annually.|
The premium for a retail health insurance policy depends on the age of the highest member as well as the coverage required under the policy.
Now the question is “Can You Buy Personal HeIalth Insurance at Any Time or Not?”
So the answer is “Yes”, you can buy personal health insurance at any time in your life up to the age of 80 years (the maximum entry age most companies allow) but you get a waiting period during which you can’t get the claim in case hospitalization happens in that period and the health policy premium also rises with an increase in age.
Waiting Period in Health Insurance
The waiting period is the duration in which certain diseases will not be covered by health insurance until that time period is over.
#1. Initial waiting period
Every health insurance comes with an initial 30 days waiting period. So you can’t get any medical claim within 30 days of the date of policy commencement.
#2. Pre-existing disease (PED) waiting period
If you have a pre-existing disease like high blood pressure, you won’t get any medical claim for treatment related to high blood pressure for a certain period of time. This waiting period could be around 2 years to 4 years which may vary from company to company.
However, for any treatment other than PED, you will get the claim.
Let us understand what happens if you buy a retail health insurance policy at different stages of life and which is the best stage to get personal health coverage.
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Buy Personal Health Insurance Policy at Anytime
Retail Health insurance can be purchased at the infant stage by the proposer for their children. But there should be at least one adult in the retail health insurance policy for the infant to be added to the policy. Infants after 30-90 days of birth can be added to a retail health insurance policy.
The premium for infants would be less when compared to that of an adult. The premium would be charged on the basis of risk for that particular age group.
Waiting period – 30-90 days
#2. Before Marriage
You can take a health insurance policy before marriage or after joining in the job. The coverage would be limited to self or you can add parents to the policy. But it is important to note that the premium would rise sharply if parents are included in the policy.
It is better to have a separate health insurance policy for parents. The premium to be paid in a retail health insurance policy is very less at this stage.
Waiting period – 30 days
#3. After Marriage
You can also take a personal health insurance policy after marriage. If the policy is taken before marriage then the spouse can be added to the existing policy or a new policy can be taken with the spouse as a dependent.
The premium in this stage would be slightly higher than the previous stages as the age of the insured is higher as well as having a dependent in this stage.
Waiting period – 30 days
You can’t get health insurance during pregnancy. Most companies do not give a health insurance policy to a pregnant person. This is due to the complications that can arise from pregnancy.
Most insurance brands do not even include a member in an existing policy if they declare their pregnancy.
However, you may get a plan that covers pregnancy and delivery hospitalization but you have to face a waiting period of around 2 to 3 years. So get a health plan as soon as you get married if you think of family planning after 2-3 years.
Waiting period – 2 to 3 years
#5. Old age
You can also take a health insurance plan at an old age but the premium would be crazy as the risk is higher in old age and the chance of falling ill is considerably high at this age.
Insurance companies have designed senior citizen health insurance plans which can be purchased in old age keeping in mind the requirements of senior citizens but the catch here is that there would be 20%-50% Co-payment in these policies.
Co-payment is the amount that has to be borne by the policyholder while taking mediclaim.
This means if you have an insurance policy with a 20% co-payment clause, then the insurance company would pay 80% of the approved treatment expenses as a claim, and the rest 20% of the amount has to be paid by you.
Senior citizen health plans also come with a PED clause in which you have to face a waiting period for any pre-existing diseases (PED). However, after the waiting period is over, you can get cover for the PED as well.
Waiting period – 2 to 4 years
Co-payment – 20% to 50% of the claim amount
Check out – LIC bonus rates 2021-22
Now it’s very much clear that you can buy health insurance at any time but it’s better to get a health policy as early as possible.
That would not only help you save money on cheap premiums but also enable you to get higher covers at low prices.
Please share your thoughts in the comments section.