Getting a health insurance policy is a necessity today because of the high medical costs that are growing at double digits every year. Experts say that a single episode of critical illness can wipe out the life savings of an individual. That is why you need to have adequate health cover.
But there are so many policies in the market offered by many insurance providers. How can you choose the right one? Is it enough if you look for one with the lowest premium? Of course not! You need to look at many several other factors before buying a health insurance policy. Don’t you want you to enjoy the best features and quick claim processing? The policy with the lowest premium might not actually offer these. Here are some of the things you should consider before you zero in on the right health plan for you.
Every insurer has their own network of hospitals. Are any of the hospitals near your place on the list? The more the number of hospitals, the better for you. You also need to check if cashless treatments are offered at all the network hospitals listed by the insurer. If not, you might have to shell out money when you get treated at any of the hospitals and get it reimbursed later.
You want your claim to be honoured, right? Then, you need to find out which insurers are good at settling claims. You can do this by checking reviews online or by checking with other customers who have got a policy from the insurer. Another way of finding out about claim settlement is by looking at the claim settlement ratio. This ratio tells you how many claims the insurer settled out of the claims that were filed. Ideally, this ratio has to be more than 90%. The higher the settlement ratio, the better for you. You can get this information from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) website.
You should choose the health plan that gives you the right amount of cover at a reasonable premium. A policy with a low premium might provide a low coverage that is not enough for you. Typically, a young family with two children will look at a cover of at least Rs 5 lakh. If there are senior citizens in the family, you might need more.
Now, IRDAI allows you to change your insurer if you are not happy with the services that they provide. Changing from one insurer to another is known as portability. This can be done without your losing the benefits such as waiting period and bonuses. Choose a policy that allows you to port your policy easily. There are no charges for transferring your policy from one insurer to another.
When you are going for a family floater plan, the definition of what a family is might differ from one insurer to another. Also, the maximum number of members that can be part of a floater plan differs from one insurance company to another. You should choose a policy based on the needs of your family. The age of the senior member will be considered for deciding the premium of the floater plan. You should remember this before you choose a health plan.
Every health plan comes with a waiting period for covering pre-existing diseases. Any expenses insured for pre-existing diseases will be covered only after this waiting period is over. The shorter the waiting period, the better it is.
Want if you want more cover? You needn’t purchase a new policy. If you have the top-up option for your policy, you can increase the cover offered by your policy. Usually, a top-up is also provided if you incur expenses that are more than the limit under the policy. Choose a policy that offers you the best top-up option.
It is important to compare across policies and insurers to get the best policy that suits your needs. The comparison should be across features and other factors as mentioned above. You could check if the insurer offers no claim bonuses for your policy. This will help you get a lower premium and additional cover the next year.