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Health Insurance: A must have

In this episode of Dhan ki Baat, Md Shahid, Product Head and Director - Insurance, IIFL, explains why it is important today to have a health insurance plan.

2877 views  9 Jan 2018

Why you should have health insurance

Health insurance is a basic requisite of financial planning today. In case of a medical emergency, it gives you cover to meet financial obligations. It allows you to pay for health treatment without affecting your savings.

A health insurance plan is a financial product, which provides hospitalization cover against payment of a small amount called premium.

Health Insurance in India

In India, there is a lack of awareness about health insurance and people rarely know about its benefits.Factually, 80% of people are not covered under health insurance in India. This exposes them to huge financial risk in the event of a medical emergency. People mostly break their savings in fixed deposits,provident fund and jewelry to pay hospital bills. At other times, people are forced to borrow from friends and relatives due to absence of enough savings. In general, the cost of medical treatment varies from Rs1lakh to Rs5lakh and if someone suffers from critical illness, then the medical cost may reach up to Rs10lakh. You also need to take into account inflation in medical costs, which is in the range of 10% and growing more rapidly than food and other items. Hence, it is increasingly becoming unaffordable for the common man to meet medical costs from their financial savings.

Even though having a health insurance plan is indispensable in today’s world, many people delay having it and assume that they may not face medical emergency in near future. However, due to growing pollution, unhealthy lifestyle like long working hours, unhealthy eating habits and no physical exercise,we are more prone to lifestyle-related diseases. Atleast one member in every family is affected by lifestyle diseases in India.

Lifestyle diseases Patients
Cholesterol 96 crore
Hypertension 40 crore
Thyroid 40 crore
Diabetes 6 crore

Considering the above facts, you should opt for a health cover, the cost of which varies from Rs300 to Rs500 per month.

Features and benefits of health insurance

Many times, consumers are not aware of the features of a health insurance product and its benefits thereon. Health insurance provides a complete health package, which ensures protective as well as preventive care. The features of health insurance are highlighted as follows:

1) Cashless hospitalization
When you have a health insurance plan, you can avail cashless treatment through a network of hospitals. Customers will not have to pay anything from their pocket. The list of network hospital is significantly extensive wherein you will not face any challenge in availing treatment at the hospital of your choice. This absolves customer to have any kind of emergency fund for medical treatment.

2) Free health checkup
Most of the health plans provide free health check-ups for family members, which ensures that preventive care is taken in case of any sign of medical adversity before it gets critical. This is majorly prevalent in India.

3) Pre-existing disease
People generally think that if someone suffers from any disease, he would not get health insurance cover, which is not true. Health plans do cover people who suffer from any disease except few terminal illnesses like Cancer, HIV patients etc. However, there is a waiting period of 3-4 years in the case of pre-existing diseases, but the accidental cover and any other diseases cover are active from start of the plan

4) No claim bonus
During the tenure of a health policy, if a customer doesn’t make any claim his sum insured is increased further via no claim bonus. The no-claim- bonus can almost double the sum insured in some plans. So customer doesn’t have to pay any additional premium to get higher cover if he is healthy and not making any claim under the health plans.

5) Restoration benefits
This feature gets triggered when a customer makes a claim under health plans. This also doubles the sum insured for the customer for the same premium and ensures that he can still avail the medical cover even if his sum insured is exhausted. However, restoration benefits are usually not applied for same diseases.

6) Pre and post hospitalization expenses
Health plans not only cover hospitalization costs, but also doctor consultancy and medicine expenses before and after hospitalization. For most of the plans, the period for pre-hospitalization is 30 days and post-hospitalization is 60 days. This debunks the myth that health insurance companies will settle claims only for costs incurred during inpatient hospitalization.

7) Tax Benefits:
Health insurance provides an additional tax benefit under section 80D of Income Tax Act. Tax benefits of Rs25,000 is available for self, spouse and children. An additional tax benefit of Rs25,000 is available for parents and if the parents are senior citizens the tax benefits are increased to Rs30,000.