Careful selection of a health insurance policy for the elderly is a must to make the overall experience worthwhile.
Having a health insurance policy for senior citizens is a must these days. However, buying one is tricky as there are so many plans available in the market. A health insurance plan allows senior citizens to go ahead with the required treatment without worrying about savings and financial security.
“Owing to different plan options offered by different health insurance companies, choosing the best possible plan with comprehensive coverage can be daunting. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed our vulnerability to health emergencies. The elderly being the most vulnerable group need to be secured against such medical emergencies,” Ankit Agrawal, Co-founder and CEO InsuranceDekho, told FE Online.
However, health insurance for senior citizens is highly advised. Having a health insurance policy by side at a crucial stage of life not only provides financial security but also offers mental support when needed the most.
Therefore, careful selection of a health insurance policy for the elderly is a must to make the overall experience worthwhile. Policy terms and conditions must be thoroughly read to avoid confusion at the last moment and prevent inconvenience, said Agrawal.
According to Aatur Thakkar, co-founder and director Alliance Insurance Broker, it is important to choose a policy that guarantees maximum coverage, as these days, treatments are very expensive. One should always choose a policy that provides maximum coverage in terms of covering illness, including critical diseases. Senior citizens should also check what is the waiting period for pre-existing diseases (lesser the waiting period better will be the policy).
Also, one should always choose a policy with the shortest waiting period as there are more chances of hospitalization among senior citizens.
“There are different age criteria for buying a policy or renewing it and this varies from insurer to insurer Some insurers do not allow the purchase of a policy if the policyholder has crossed 80 while some policies do not have any maximum entry age. Some policies only allow renewal up to the age of 80 while some policies do not have that limit. To avoid further surprises, one should be aware of these age criteria while buying a policy,” Aatur Thakkar told FE Online.
“Domiciliary Treatment and daycare cover also forms an important aspect. One should always check with the insurer whether the policy he/she chooses will be considering home care treatment cost on the prescription of the medical practitioner or not. Senior citizens should notice that the claim settlement process is easy. While buying a health insurance policy, it is advisable to look for an insurer that has simple settlement procedure with both cashless and reimbursement facility,” he added.
Key points to consider
Ankit Agrawal shared some key things to consider when buying health insurance for senior citizens:
Age Cap: Many policies have an entry cap of 60-75 years. Extensive coverage with an increased entry cap is ideal for senior citizens as it provides financial aid for a longer period. Several health insurance providers offer policies that do not have any entry age limit. While entry age is an aspect to consider, you must also take into account the renewal age for the policy as many health insurance policies for senior citizens do not allow renewal after 80 years.
Network Hospitals: Always choose a health insurance policy that can be accepted at a wide network of hospitals. Make sure you always check the list of network hospitals before buying a plan for the elderly. The more hospitals in the network, the more likely there will be one in your vicinity, which would be a major support for you during medical emergencies.
Coverage for Diseases: Since senior citizens suffer from different kinds of ailments, consider a policy that provides you with adequate coverage against most diseases. Opting for a health insurance policy with comprehensive coverage against a variety of diseases will prevent inconvenience at the time of medical emergency.
Existing Health Issues: If the elderly in your family has an existing health issue, look for a policy that provides coverage for the same. Do not forget to check along the waiting period associated with the disease. Go for a policy that has the shortest waiting period for the existing disease, as chances of being hospitalized due to the same could be higher. It must be noted that pre-existing conditions must always be declared while buying the health insurance policy. Not declaring the pre-existing conditions can lead to claim rejection.
Claim Process: A simpler claim process leads to faster claim settlement. When it comes to the selection of a health insurance policy for the elderly, this is an important factor to consider. So, make sure you check the claim settlement process for the policy you purchase for the elderly in your family and make their health insurance claim experience smooth and hassle-free.
Premium: Health issues increase with the passing age. Since health risks are high in the case of senior citizens, their medical treatment is also expensive. The healthcare cost in India may not be sky-high, but this should not be one of the reasons for you to settle for a lower sum insured just to pay lower premiums. Some insurance policies provide the facility of sum insured refill, which means that you can restore the sum insured in case you drain the existing amount in a particular year. So, make sure you pick a policy not because it comes at a low premium price, but because it offers you benefits beyond a low premium price.