With growing awareness about the benefits of a health insurance policy, the Indian insurance market has consistently grown. With expansion, the market now caters to many senior citizens who are looking for the right plan for their age and health. Young individuals are also looking for convenient options for a medical insurance policy for their parents.
Factors to consider before purchasing a senior citizen health insurance plan
Sum Insured: With increasing age, the cost of treatment increases due to chances of contracting age-related illnesses and longer recovery time, and it is advisable for senior citizens to have higher protection with a policy that offers adequate cover.
Cover for Specific Diseases: It is important to choose a policy that will cover a range of diseases including critical illnesses. The most suitable plan for a senior citizen will include a maximum number of illnesses with a limited number of exceptions.
Pre-existing medical conditions: Just like in any health insurance policy, there is a waiting period for claims that are made on pre-existing medical condition. A shorter waiting period is beneficial since there are higher chances of illnesses or diseases from preexisting conditions.
Co-Payment: The requirements for a co-payment clause differ from one insurance company to another. A co-payment clause states that the insured individual has to share a part of the medical expenses incurred. Generally, it is given in percentage of the total claim and ranges from 10% to 20%.
In the golden years of life, it is best to have minimal co-payments, even if it means buying a more expensive policy, as it can save you from a lot of unwanted medical expenditure.
Premium: Premiums are considered as one of the deciding factors for any plan chosen. Due to the higher risk portfolio, the premium charged to a senior citizen is much higher as compared to a young individual. If there is a preexisting disease, an extra premium will be levied for the same. It is advisable to compare the premium options before deciding the policy.
Hospital Network: A broad hospital network should be chosen. It should cover a range of hospitals in the immediate neighborhood to enable ease and convenience.
Charges: An ideal health insurance cover for senior citizens will include ambulance costs, cashless hospitalization and a cover that includes medical bills and room charges.
It is important to keep in mind that the premium should not be the only consideration when choosing a health plan. Options like critical illnesses cover, and a number of network hospitals are equally important. Because the medical expenses are steadily growing, the sum insured should also be adequate and provide a cover for a majority of possible illnesses.
Why Senior Citizen Policy?
There are multiple reasons for you to be looking for a senior citizen policy. One of the most prominent is your uninsured parents. The generation of the 70s and earlier is far less likely to have adequately insured their health, due to two most prominent reasons:
Lack of awareness of health insurance benefits
Escalation of health insurance costs
The problem with them is they are in the high age bracket, and many insurers restrict the entry of individuals in standard policies after 60 to 65 years of age.
However, senior citizen plans are a boon for the elderly who haven’t insured their health yet. They tend to include all the significant benefits offered by a regular policy. Additionally, private insurers like Apollo Munich also offer a free, second opinion from experts on the diagnosis of a listed critical illness as an option in their senior citizen plan.
Also, it is a good idea as you get the tax deduction up to Rs. 30,000 on the health policy for your senior citizen parents. Same is applicable if you are a senior citizen and buy a health plan for yourself and your spouse (who may or may not be a senior citizen).
Thus, medical insurance plans for senior citizens should be your ideal choice if you or your parents are senior citizens and are still not insured for unexpected healthcare costs.