A guide to buying health insurance plan for senior citizens in India

With the changing lifestyles and increasing medical costs, having a health insurance policy is a must. More so for senior citizens as they are prone to illnesses and have limited or no income source.

Today there is an array of health insurance plans that assure you high benefits at low premium rates. But the real challenge lies in opting for a right health policy that will cater to the needs of your parents.

So how do you choose the right Health Insurance for senior citizen above 60 years? Quite a daunting question, right?  We would say no, if you read the below guide that helps you understand all about health insurance for senior citizens in India.

What is a senior citizen health insurance plan?

You never know when a sudden medical emergency for your parents can result in a financial crisis. Hence, at times like these, having a senior citizen health insurance plan is beneficial.

A senior citizen health insurance plan offers financial coverage to individuals aged between 65 years to 80 years.

Why to buy senior citizen health insurance for the elderly?

Here are a few reasons on why you should consider buying a health insurance plan for your parents:

Skyrocketing medical expenses

Parents might have limited income

They might be dependent on their heirs

Senior citizens are more prone to illness

Types of health insurance plans that provide coverage for senior citizens:

When you are a child, you are your parent’s responsibility. But as you grow younger, your parents become your responsibility. Hence, taking care of them when they grow older is a necessity.

So here are health insurance plans that provide coverage to senior citizens.

Individual plans:

This type of plan provides cover only for one person who can avail hospitalization benefits.

Group plans:

Many employers today offer health insurance plans that cover family members of the employees. But, a few plans don’t provide parental coverage and cover only the spouse and kids of the employee.

Family Floater plan:

This type of health insurance plan provides cover for the entire family of the policyholder. It lets you claim the entire amount for the medical expenses of one member and covers the cost of individual family members up to the sum insured. If you are thinking to cover your parents under this plan, then it would cost you a higher premium. This is because the premium for the family floater plan is calculated on the basis of your parent’s age.

Senior citizen plan:

IRDA has mandated all the insurance companies to give insurance to people up to the age of 65. Under this plan, the waiting period for pre-existing diseases is low as compared to other plans.

Factors to keep in mind while buying health insurance for senior citizens:

Waiting period:

Health insurance policies come with a waiting period, on the fulfilment of which a policyholder can make claims. Generally, a health insurance policy has a waiting period of over 30-90 days. Certain policies also have a waiting period for specific illnesses.

For eg.x: Bajaj Allianz Silver Health policy has a waiting period of 30 days, before which policyholder cannot make claims. Also, the same policy covers diseases like hernia, piles, cataract and others after a waiting period of 1 year.

So always check for the waiting period as senior citizens fall prey to illnesses soon and then you might end up paying from your own pocket.

Pre-existing diseases:

This is a critical factor that can affect your policy. If your parents have any existing diseases, then you will have to wait for a few years before you claim. Health Insurance policies have a cap limit for covering these diseases after a year or two or even more. The illness and resultant hospitalization, days after buying the policy won’t allow you to make any claim.

Sum Insured/ Cover:

Considering the growing age of your parents and rising medical costs, it’s always a better idea to opt for a cover with the highest sum insured. But, higher the sum insured, higher the premium, which is also subjected to an increase on the renewal of the policy.

Entry age:

A few insurance companies limit the entry age up beyond which your parents are not eligible for a senior citizen health insurance policy. The Bajaj Allianz-Silver Health Plan for Senior citizens has an entry age of 46-70 years. While the Apollo Munich and Tata AIG provide health insurance without any entry age restrictions

Alternative treatments:

Always check if the plan provides coverage for treatments like Ayurveda and homeopathy. This is because your parents would not always opt for cumbersome hospitalization process and high doses of medicines.

Sub-limit:

A few insurance policy specific a sub-limit for various diseases. For instance, a policyholder can only claim 50,000 for treatment of an eye operation even if he has a sum insured of Rs. 5lakh.

It’s always better to opt for a health policy without any sub-limit as you never know when your parents would need medical treatment.

Co-payment:

Co-payment requires the policyholder to pay a certain percentage of the medical expenses incurred. This means that if you have a claim settlement of 2 lakh then you will have to pay 10-30% co-pay as mentioned in your policy. And the rest of the amount will be borne by the insured. Policies without this factor usually have a higher premium.

Deductible:

This factor requires you to pay a fixed amount at the time of claim settlement. For example: If you have a claim amount of 30,000 and have a deductible limit of 5,000 then the company will only pay you 25, 000. Ideally, one should opt for a plan that has the least deductible clause.

Renewal age:

All health insurance policies have an age limit only until which you can renew the policy. Generally, health insurance policies for senior citizens in India can be renewed till 90 years. Also, a few companies have set the renewal age limit only till 80. So it’s always wise to check on the renewal age to have to understand till what age your parents are insured.

Network of hospitals:

Insurance companies offer you a list of hospitals that are covered/fall under their network. If you visit a hospital covered by the company, then you can opt for a cashless treatment. But, if you visit a hospital that is not covered under the company’s network, then you will have to pay the bills first, which will be reimbursed later.

A senior citizen health insurance policy should cover a broad network of hospitals in your vicinity as you never know when a medical emergency would strike in and your parents would need immediate hospitalization.

Exclusions of senior citizen health insurance plan:

A health insurance plan for senior citizen does not cover the following

  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Treatment of AIDS
  • Cosmetic surgery
  • Dental treatments
  • Any non-allopathic treatment
  • Any pre-existing injuries/diseases
  • Expenses as a result of drug abuse
  • Cost of spectacles/lenses and dental treatment (except arising out of accident)
  • Injury due to war, the act of foreign army etc.

Best health insurance plans for senior citizens:

Insurer Age Renweal age Pre-existing Medical check up
National Insurance-Varishtha mediclaim for senior citizen 60-80 years Till 90 All pre-existing diseases are covered after policy has been in force for 48 months Not required if the policyholder was covered with a health insurance plan since last 3 years.
Star Health-Senior Citizen Red Carpet 60-75 Lifelong Coverage provided from 2nd year No medical tests required
New India Assurance Co.Ltd 60-80 Till 90 Coverage provided after 18 months

Medical health check required for new entrants

 

How To Find The Best Home Insurance Provider At Your Place

Unquestionably, home or personal property is one among the most valuable assets for anyone. It is because the concerned owners put in the money earned through hard efforts all through their lives in buying or acquisition of home or other residential properties. Though we make our best efforts to offer complete security and protection to our home however there are always chances of some damage or risk to your home from unavoidable threats. In case, such damage occurs to your property then you need to spend huge amounts of money in getting the necessary repairs or replacements done for the damaged structures or portions.

Here home insurance proves to be quite helpful for the home owners. It is because they compensate for the loss incurred by the concerned owners due to certain damages caused as a result of some unexpected or sudden incidents or accidents. Here are some of the sources or ways and means that help you to find the best home insurance providers such as Farmers Home Insurance at your place.

Get references through your acquaintances

Numbers of people around you such as your friends, neighbors, colleagues or other acquaintances may have opted for Farmers Home Insurance or insurance provided by other agents. They may know about the best home insurance providers at your place and hence guide you in finding and selecting the most reasonable and excellent one out of them.

Search through advertisements through various modes

It is also a good mode of finding the best home insurance providers such as Farmers Home Insurance. There are numbers of media sources such as newspaper, commercial magazines, Television or other sources over which you can find advertisements about the best home insurance providers. You may look through all such ads and contact such providers or agents that seem to be best to you. You may contact some agents and then select one that is most suitable to you as per your unique requirements.

Give a look to telephone directories

The local telephone directories at any place contain all the contact details of various professionals operating at your place. The services offered by home insurance agents also fall under professional services. Thus you may look through telephone directories and get phone numbers and contact details of the various agents operating at your place. It is in fact a convenient and time saving option as you can use phone to contact the concerned agents’ right from your place.

Check from concerned authorities at your place

For any types of professional services such as home insurance, certain government or private authorities are always there at any place. These authorities are meant to issue some registration number or authorization number to the various home insurance agents or other professionals. You may contact such authorities and inquire about the various home insurance agents for your purpose.

Explore internet

Again it is an easy and time saving option as you can explore various websites or other sources to find the best home insurance agents right from your own place. Also it gives you detailed information, reviews as well comparisons amid various leading home insurance providers at any place. Thus your task is simplified and eased to great extent.

By using any of these modes or sources you may find the best home insurance providers at your place.

How to do online insurance comparison?

The internet is dominating most of our purchase decisions today. Almost everything is now available online whether you want to buy goods or services. The online marketplace promises ease, convenience and, above all, the best prices. When it comes to buying insurance policies too, the online platform has the perfect solution. Whether you want to buy a health insurance policy, car insurance policy or a travel insurance policy, you can find a policy online. However, when buying insurance online there is one mantra – compare.

Yes, it is always recommended to buy a policy only after comparing it. Do you know how to do this comparison? Let me give you some important pointers to enlighten you.

  • Plan your insurance requirement

The first step which you should take is to assess your requirement. Find out whether you need to buy or renew a health insurance plan, a car insurance plan or a travel insurance plan. Only after you have planned for the type of insurance plan you are looking for, go online for comparison.

  • Shortlist the online platform on which you want to compare

In case of general insurance, online comparison can be done across three platforms each of which also enables you to buy the insurance plan. Thus, the source of online insurance comparison is:

  • Websites of insurance companies – every general insurance company has a dedicated website where you can find the available products, their details and also the facility of premium calculation.
  • Online web aggregators – online aggregators provide a better platform for online comparison because you can see all available plans from all companies on a single website rather than visiting different company websites. Just choose the type of insurance you want to compare and the aggregator website would list all the available plans to help you compare.
  • Online brokers – online brokers also represent multiple insurance companies and list the plans of all companies they represent. You can find plans from such companies on a single platform and compare between them easily.

So, choose any one among these sources and compare between the required plans.

  • Look at the plan features

When you are presented with a list of plans, compare their features and benefits. Match the features to your requirement and choose a plan which has the best and the most suitable coverage features at the best rate of premium.

  • Look for forums for consumer reviews

What better way to compare between insurance plans than reading customer reviews? Customer and expert reviews on insurance plans and also the insurance company helps you to compare between the insurance plans in a better way. You can understand whether the company and the plan have been good for the customer and then can make your own decisions.

  • Select the best plan from the rest

After you have compared the plan features, the premium rates and the customer reviews, select the best plan according to your needs. The actual beauty of online comparison is to help you select the best plan at the best rates. So, make the most of your comparison and select the best plan.

  • Seek expert advice on any query or for any information

Every online platform, whether it is the insurer’s website, an online aggregator or an online broker, has a dedicated section designed to answer any queries you have. Since insurance is a technical concept, you might get confused on some technical jargons used in plan features. To understand such jargon, seek the help of online experts. You can chat with an online representative, arrange for a call-back or even post your questions online and you would get the answers.

The online insurance comparison is easy since it lets you do your research from the comfort of your home or office. You don’t have to run from pillar to post for comparing and buying an insurance plan if you know how to use the online platform. So, follow the above-mentioned steps to do an online comparison and buy the best product to fulfill all your insurance needs.

Things you overlook while buying a Term Insurance Plan

Tarun wanted to buy a term insurance plan when his agent stressed the importance of having one. He asked his agent to suggest him a plan. At his agent’s suggestion, Tarun bought a plan and was happy at his decision. Tarun felt it was his duty to educate his friend too on the importance of a term insurance plan. With this sentiment, he visited his friend and told him how he bought a term plan for himself. To Tarun’s surprise, his friend was already aware of the necessity of a term plan and had bought one last year. However, when Tarun and his friend discussed their relevant plans, Tarun was in for a shock. He found that his agent sold him an expensive policy compared to his friend. Was he duped?

He wasn’t. He simply overlooked some things when buying the plan.

Though you understand the importance of buying a term insurance plan, you might overlook certain details when buying one. This oversight proves disadvantageous and, like Tarun, you may end up paying a higher premium. Here are some common things you overlook when buying a term insurance plan:

  • The availability of term plans online

Though agents sell you a term insurance plan, it might not be the best for you. If like Tarun, you buy a term insurance plan from an agent, you overlook the online marketplace, which promises you varied plans at a lower premium rate. When you go online, you can compare between the different available plans and buy the plan with the best cover and features vis-à-vis the premium rate.

Solution – always go online to buy a term insurance plan. You can buy the plan from online brokers or from online web aggregators after comparing.

  • The coverage feature of the plan

What do term insurance plans cover? Your most obvious response must be the risk of premature death. But, aren’t there any other features in a term insurance plan? Gone are the days when term insurance plans were offered as plain vanilla covers. Today, insurers provide many inbuilt benefits in the plan. You can find inbuilt riders (like – critical illness rider, personal accident rider, etc.), structured death benefit and even a maturity benefit or return of premium is offered by some term insurance plans. However, many usually overlook these features.

Solution: always understand the scope of coverage of your term insurance plan before you buy one.

  • The suitability of the Sum Assured opted

Experts recommend that you should choose a Sum Assured based on your financial requirements. Yet, how many of you actually assess whether you are choosing the optimal Sum Assured or not? Sadly, not many! When choosing a Sum Assured, most people randomly buy a plan and overlook the need to match it with their requirements.

Solution: when buying a plan, work out the Sum Assured suitable for you. There are term insurance calculators available online, which let you determine the optimal coverage level. You can also use any of the Sum Assured calculation methods to assess the coverage level.

  • The available riders

Riders are additional protection clauses which enhance the coverage of your term insurance plan. Since riders entail paying an extra premium, it is largely overlooked by many individuals when buying a term insurance plan.

Solution – riders allow you better protection in your term plan. The premiums required are marginally low and easily affordable. Since riders provide additional coverage, you should consider the riders available with the term insurance plan you are buying. Choose riders as per your requirement and add them to your base plan. Some popular riders include accidental death and disability benefit rider, critical illness rider, waiver of premium rider, etc.

  • The Claim Settlement Ratio of the insurance company

The Claim Settlement Ratio (CSR) of an insurance company is the proportion of claims honored by the company against the total claims raised in a year. A higher claim ratio ensures that the company diligently tries to settle your insurance claims. While you might consider the coverage and the premium of a term insurance plan, the CSR of the insurer is usually ignored.

Solution: look at the insurer’s CSR when you are buying a term plan. A higher CSR is better. So choose a company, which promises a higher CSR.

These were the common things overlooked when buying a term insurance plan and also their respective solutions. Tarun also committed these oversights and ended up with an expensive plan. But you are warned. The next time you buy a term insurance plan be vigilant of these points and buy the plan after careful consideration.

 

Tips on Buying an Insurance Plan for Your Family

Buying a life insurance plan for you or your family can be difficult. The insurance market is brimming with hundreds of different products, offered by numerous companies. Making the right choice can be next to impossible, especially if you are buying an insurance policy for the first time. Insurance agents will goad you day-in-and-day-out, trying to convince you that the plan they are offering is best suited for your requirements. However, the first rule of buying an insurance policy is to be patient. To help you make a better decision when buying an insurance policy, here are some tips that you should follow.

Take Your Time

Rather than make a hurried decision, you should always take your time and do your research before buying any insurance policy. It pays to do your research and choose a policy that best fits your needs. Buying a life insurance policy isn’t exactly fun, but it’s necessary for the future of your family. Most people try to get it over with as quickly as they can. Remember, you will be asked a series of different questions about your health.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, such as diabetes or a heart problem, the scenario will change completely. Most insurance companies don’t offer life insurance policies to people suffering from existing medical conditions, so you may have to pay an additional premium. Lying on the insurance form is not a wise idea, the company can get out of paying the insurance if they find out that you lied.Always find out more about insurance in Malaysia through different dealers, before making a decision.

Talk to a Trustworthy Agent

Working with an independent agent is a good idea for people who don’t know much about buying an insurance policy. The independent agent will serve in the capacity of a broker, and will show you insurance rates from numerous different companies. This allows you to compare policies from a number of different vendors and then make an informed decision. The independent agent will serve as a guide, making it easy for you to find a policy that’s suitable for you. You can share details about your existing medical condition with the insurance agent, allowing them to find policies that are tailored to your needs.

Be Truthful

This has already been highlighted above, but it’s worth highlighting the importance of being truthful and upfront about your medical condition. When filling out the insurance form, you might be asked to attach a copy of your medical reports along with the form. The insurance company will review the application and might even ask you to go for an independent check-up with a practitioner of their own recommendation.

These are some key tips that might help you find a policy of your own choice. Choosing the proper policy type is important, so make sure that you remain in touch with your insurance agent throughout. The insurance agent will highlight all important terms and conditions so that you can fully evaluate the policies available.