Most health insurance providers prefer to cover younger clients since the risk of covering them is lower. However, it is the elder generation which needs coverage more than the younger generation. This is a catch 22 situation. Therefore, it is very, very important to purchase a health insurance plan when you are young.
The premium to cover people at a younger age is much less than that at an advanced age. However, people seek health insurance at a higher age rather than when they are young. If you are in this group and are looking for an insurance product for your parents or senior citizens, then this is the blog for you. Read on to know important things about it.
Need of Health Insurance for Senior Citizens
First, you need to understand why is it important to have a health insurance for senior citizens. Here are a few reasons why:
- People become susceptible to illness as they grow old. Once someone retires, they have to survive on a pension and interest earned from savings. However, medical expenditure can eat into savings and thus it is crucial to have a health insurance.
- Ageing and illness go hand in hand. Although we are not saying that just because someone is old, they will fall sick, however, chances are high. Having a medical insurance takes off the worry of medical expenditure from someone’s mind. It helps a senior citizen to live life in a hassle-free manner.
- Medical emergency can happen anytime. And the expenditure can get unreasonably high. There are families which go into debts due to sudden medical expenses. Having a medical insurance can help you avoid this situation.
Benefits of Health Insurance for Senior Citizens
So what are the benefits of purchasing health insurance for senior citizens as compared to no health insurance for them? Here are some:
- You have the flexibility to choose the sum insured as per your own need.
- Although the policy will cover your parents or dependent senior citizen, as a proposer, you will get the tax benefit under section 80 D of the Income Tax Act.
- Every policy has a free-look period extending to a few days which begins when you receive a policy. In case you feel that the policy you purchased does not have the features you wanted, you can cancel the policy and get a refund of the full insurance premium.
- Senior citizen health insurance plans will cover day care costs for day care procedures like dialysis, chemotherapy, etc.
- The insured senior citizen can avail annual health checkups through a health insurance policy.
- If a patient is hospitalized for more than 24 hours, he/she can avail cashless hospitalization services. Things like doctor fees, room charges, medical bills, etc. everything will be covered through the health insurance policy.
- Depending on the limit, ambulance expenses are also covered in many policies.
- Pre and post hospitalization expenses can also be covered under a health insurance policy.
Factors Need To Be Considered
You need to consider certain factors while choosing the right insurance policy. Below we have enlisted some of the important ones.
Sum Insured: The most important factor to consider is the sum insured and to decide on what is your desired sum insured, you need to do a research on what the actual medical charges are. Ideally, you should not settle for anything below 5 lakhs. It is recommended to choose a policy which provides the option to renew the sum insured during renewal.
Sub Limits: Sub-limits are one of the most important factors to consider. Sub-limits refer to reimbursement limits set for particular diseases. Thus, even if the expenditure is higher, the insurance company will only pay the amount as per sub-limit. Such sub-limits exist for almost all diseases be it cataract operation or angioplasty.
Co-payment Clause: Another important thing to keep in mind is the co-payment clause. Co-payment means the policy holder is required to pay a fixed percentage of medical expenses from their own pocket. This is primarily done to safeguard the insurance from the risk of higher claims. For example, a 80-20 co-payment means the insurance provider will pay 80% of the cost while the policy holder has to bear the rest 20%. The higher the co-payment percentage, the lower is the premium for the risk borne by the insurer is lesser.
Waiting Period Clause: Almost all insurance policy comes with an initial waiting period, which applies to pre-existing diseases and specific illnesses. Usually this initial waiting period is the first 30 days from the date of issue of the policy excluding accidental injuries and hospitalization. For pre-existing diseases, the waiting period is 2 to 4 years while for specific diseases the waiting period is around 2 years.
Getting senior citizens insured is not an easy task. Not only do insurance companies discourage insuring a senior citizen, because the risk with them is too high, the insurance also becomes pretty expensive. Hence, we recommend getting a medical insurance at an early age rather than waiting till the last moment.