If there is a segment of the population that requires health insurance, it is the elderly. The older you get, the more the chances of falling ill. Also the older you get the lesser are the avenues for you to earn a regular income. That’s why you might need health insurance to cover those enormous medical bills that can pile up. You can also add the rising cost of healthcare which is often much more than the general inflation in the economy.

The good news is that according to rules laid down by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA), insurers must provide coverage for their customers up to the age of 65 years. Many insurers go a step further and offer coverage until the age of 70. Here are some of the most popular health insurance policies for senior citizens.

Policy Name Age Sum Assured (Rs.) Special features
Bajaj Allianz Silver Health Plan 46 – 70 years 50,000 – 5 lakh Pre-existing illnesses are covered from the second year of the policy.
ICICI Lombard Complete Health 46 and above Up to Rs. 10 lakh The policy provides life – long renewal.
Star Health Senior Citizen Red Carpet 60 – 75 years 1 lakh – 10 lakh No pre-insurance medical test required.
Tata AIG MediSenior 61 and above 2 lakh – 5 lakh Avail coverage for up to 140 days for care procedures that do not need hospitalisation.

Source: Insurer websites, Data as of November 6, 2017.

It is important to choose a policy very carefully, especially if one has pre-existing diseases. Here’s what you should consider:

Single is better

If you are a senior citizen and opting for a health insurance policy, it is best to go for an individual policy rather than a floater plan. This is because, under a floater policy, the eldest member’s age will be used as the base for calculating the premium. This would mean higher premiums. Another point is that if you make claims under a floater plan, the coverage amount will get reduced to the extent of the claims, leaving little cover for other members.  Since you might make claims multiple times in a year, especially if you have pre-existing diseases, it is ideal that you go for an individual policy.

Got an illness?

Unlike earlier, pre-existing diseases are now covered by many insurers. A pre-existing illness is an ailment you were suffering from before buying the policy. Some policies might not cover treatment for such illnesses. Choose a policy that will cover pre-existing diseases such as diabetes. Most insurers have a waiting period before which they will not reimburse you for expenses incurred for pre-existing diseases. This might be two to three years. The shorter the wait time, the more you save.

What’s the sum?

As is obvious, senior citizens might require higher coverage when compared to the younger population. This is because they are prone to more health risks. So, having adequate cover is a must. However, insurers might restrict the amount of sum assured that a senior citizen can avail. Usually, the upper limit is placed at Rs 10 lakh for health insurance policies that provide cover for senior citizens.

Ideally, even if you don’t require such a high cover, your insurer should be able to offer an upgrade to a higher sum assured if you require one. So, it is best not to opt for policies whose upper limit is restricted to a lakh or two. Another feature that you should take note of is whether any rider or add-on facility is offered. A higher variety of riders or add-ons will help you get a comprehensive cover.

What’s the pay?

Premiums for senior citizen policies are usually higher because there are higher chances of claims. Today, premiums for these policies start at Rs 25,000 a year for a coverage of Rs 5 lakh. You can go for a policy along with your spouse to get discounts from insurers.

Other checks

  • Choose a policy that has no co-payment for critical illnesses such as cancer, kidney diseases and cardiac problems. Co-payment means that you pay a proportion of the medical costs incurred.
  • Check the limit the policy sets for room rent. Higher the limit, the better it is.
  • Check if there are any age limits for renewal. Most policies put in a limit of 70 years. However, there are policies that have higher age limits for renewal.
  • Check if your policy provides outpatient cover and daycare surgery cover. This will be of advantage to you.
  • Don’t ignore your health and don’t compromise on your health insurance. The points mentioned above should help you pick the right policy. Get started now.
Staff Writer

This article is written by RupeeIQ editorial staff.