Imagine that you have just suffered from a serious ailment. You are looking at spending lakhs on your hospitalisation and treatment. At the hospital, you make the application for the cashless claim. To your
Health insurance has become indispensable today. While buying the same is easy for the young generation, the same cannot be said for senior citizens. No one likes to see their parents get old and fight age-related health challenges. Health costs have become very expensive today, especially for senior citizens, and having to face a financial crisis, in addition to the same, is highly undesirable but not avoidable. This is a problem that needs immediate attention from us.
Universally, people over the age of 60 years are considered senior citizens. This is the generation that, till recently, were at the top of their personal professional careers, jobs or business, and were main contributors to society. Having led a full life of hard work, the generation deserves to live their full age with dignity and without financial hassles. However, with age, the biggest challenge and difficulty they face today is with their health, followed by financial security, for a majority of us. At this sensitive phase of life, depending on children / family for health expenses is something of a worry to senior citizens. It is also likely that things normally don’t get priority, adequate attention and special care in the initial stages of any health issue, leading to further worsening of the case. In short, health care for senior citizens is one subject that needs very urgent attention and also a solution.
Health care needs for senior citizens is pretty common today, and almost every family goes through this phase sooner or later. As people age, the list and likelihood of ailments increases and there is a high risk of even repeated hospital visits/treatments. In most cases, group or floater health insurance policies are found to be inadequate. Buying an independent, adequate senior citizen health cover makes perfect sense and is the best thing to do in order to safeguard your health care expenses in the coming years. This may just protect you from falling into any financial crisis like situation and more importantly, ensure continued availability of proper care and treatment. If you have your parents or any senior citizen in your family dependent on you, taking health insurance cover should be considered as your duty and responsibility towards them while being smart about your own finances. If you are a senior citizen, a proper cover might just save you from burning your life’s savings.
Buying Senior Citizen Health Policy:
As the name suggests, most insurers offer senior citizen health insurance policies to people in the age group of 60 years and above. Like any other insurance product, health insurance for senior citizens is a simple contract between the insurer and the policyholder who pays a premium to the insurer and in return, the insurer pays for the medical expenses. Usually, the scope of coverage covers hospitalisation, day-care treatments, post and pre-hospitalisation, of the insured person. However, the premium amount for a senior citizen policy is understandably much higher than health policies meant for a younger individual, since the probability for claims is also very high. Premium though should not be your only deciding factor and one should buy a policy after due consideration of important features and your requirements.
- Medical tests: No pre-policy medical checkup is preferred. However, in some cases, the underwriter may request a few medical tests. If you can go for medical tests, this should not be a deal-breaker.
- Day Care Treatments: This is a fairly common feature offered by insurers that covers treatment procedures that require hospitalisation for less than 24-hours. These include chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis, cataract, lithotripsy, tonsillectomy and so on. You can prefer policies that offer the maximum coverage, especially for the likely, common and expensive day-care treatments.
- Sub-Limits: Sub-limits are the monetary caps or extra limits put on different heads /nature of expenses under a policy, usually in the form of a fixed amount or percentage of the sum assured. Sub-limits are normally put on expenses like room rent, consultation fees, ambulance charges, and few planned medical procedures. Sub-limits are an important element of a policy that helps protect the liability of the insurer and thus also make the policy cheaper. You may choose a policy as per your needs & budget, although a policy without or liberal sub-limits is preferred.
- Pre- & Post-Hospitalisation: As the name suggests, these are expenses incurred by the insured before and after hospitalisation. This usually covers medication costs, tests, consultation fees, etc. While this is a common feature, the number of days covered is important here and one should prefer one with a higher number of days covered.
- Domiciliary Care: This feature covers expenses arising out of treatment at home and is preferred. This is fairly common among the older population, and having this feature can be of great help when required.
- Organ Donor: This feature helps provide coverage to the policyholder up to a specified limit for the organ donor expenses. This typically covers the in-patient hospitalization and surgery-related expenses for the patient. Having this cover is preferred.
- Modern Treatments: This is a cover for modern therapies and advanced technologies that hold great promise in health treatments. Again, a preferred feature to have.
- AYUSH Treatments: AYUSH stands for alternative medical therapies /sciences of Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy. This feature covers any of these treatments and is a desirable feature to have.
- Waiting Periods: Most policies stipulate a waiting period for pre-existing and specific diseases, before which the claims may not be admissible. Shorter waiting periods would be more preferred.
- Co-pay: This is the percentage of the claim amount that is borne by an insured person, under a health insurance policy and the rest of the amount will be paid by the insurer. Generally, copayment helps in reducing the premium amount. A few insurers are also giving an option to reduce Co-Pay thereby reducing out-of-pocket expenses. Such a feature is more preferable.
- No Claim Bonus (NCB): This is the extra sum-assured added for every claim-free year as a reward for not claiming on his health insurance. Again, a common feature and a good thing to have in your policy.
- Restore/Recharge Benefit: This benefit restores your sum insured after it has been exhausted along with the accrued Cumulative Bonus, within a policy period due to an accident or any illness or hospitalisation. So, even if you consume the entire sum insured, you need not worry as if you have this benefit your insurance company can restore the entire amount and you can use it in the future. This is a good feature to have in a policy.
- Free Annual Health Checkup: Old age requires more prevention and protection in terms of health, and medical check-ups can help you to achieve that. There are few policies that are offering free annual health check-ups, which again is a good feature to have.
- OPD Cover: OPD stands for “Out-Patient Department” where patients visit for diagnosis and tests without being admitted to the hospital. An OPD is an important cover that ensures that you will be covered by your health insurance even without hospitalisation and where even smaller costs are covered as well. And in this age, the probability of frequent consultation is higher due to seasonal diseases. With this cover, you are eligible to make multiple claims of consultation throughout the year until the limit is exhausted.
Health policies for senior citizens is a must and should be considered on priority. While the premiums may seem expensive to some, they should be seen as an investment and not an expense. Understanding your needs and buying the right policy is crucial. If required, you can seek help from your insurance advisor. As discussed, an adequate health cover can prove to be very fruitful in future and give you peace of mind.
The world has become smaller and travelling abroad is no longer a luxury. Whether you are a travel enthusiast, a business person, an employee or a student, you will likely be spending time outside India. Today, travelling abroad has become a need for many and while you may enjoy visiting and staying at foreign places, your health is a matter of prime importance. There is always some fear in mind that what will happen if I face any medical emergency outside my country in an unknown place. There also have been instances where medical care/treatment is sought outside India. Obviously, the question is what policy will cover the health insurance needs of a global citizen?
Medical emergencies can happen anywhere, but things become more complicated when you are in an unknown country away from family and friends. A global health insurance policy can be very helpful during all such times. It protects medical emergencies in different countries if you are a frequent flyer. These policies offer global cover and have better coverage along with the basic coverage against any kind of health or medical emergencies.
There is a big class of citizens who now prefer to have global coverage in their health insurance. If you are being diagnosed with a critical illness in India but you want to get its treatment from world-class medical professionals, this is the policy for you. Moreover, if you happen to be in an unknown country for any reason like study or business, and you are diagnosed with a critical illness, this policy will provide you coverage of the treatment for such critical illness also.
What is generally covered:
- Hospitalisation Expenses: A key element of any health policy, this covers the medical expenses of an insured person, in case of hospitalisation of more than 24 consecutive hours arising from a disease/ illness or injury.
- Day Care Treatment: This covers the medical expenses of an insured person in case of a Day Care Treatment or Surgery that requires less than 24 hours of hospitalisation.
- Pre - hospitalisation: This covers the medical expenses of an insured person, incurred towards a disease/ illness or injury that occurs during the policy period and immediately prior to the insured person’s date of hospitalisation for a specified maximum limit of days.
- Post - hospitalisation: This covers the medical expenses of an insured person, incurred towards a disease/ illness or injury that occurs during the policy period and immediately post-discharge of the insured person from the hospital for a specified maximum limit of days.
- Outpatient cover: Outpatient Department treatment or OPD refers to doctor visits required for medical treatments and diagnosis where hospitalization is not required.
- Domiciliary Expenses: This coversthe medical expenses which in the normal course would otherwise have been covered for hospitalisation under the Policy but is taken at home on the advice of the attending medical practitioner, under some specific circumstances.
- Emergency Evacuation: This covers the cost of travelling/transfer to the nearest suitable medical facility for medical treatment in case the policyholder is ill or injured, and the required medical treatment is not available locally within the opted Area of Cover.
- Medical Repatriation: This covers the charges incurred towards the repatriation of the insured person from outside India, within the opted Area of Cover, on an emergency basis to his/her residence/hospital in India
- Repatriation of Mortal Remains: This covers the charges towards the transportation of the mortal remains of the insured person from the place of death, within the opted Area of Cover, to his/her residence in India.
- Travel vaccination: This covers the charges of vaccine(s) incurred towards the insured person which is mandatorily required /prescribed to be undertaken for visiting a foreign location.
In addition to the above basic covers generally offered by most insurers, there are few optional covers too available such as air ambulance cover, domestic/global second opinion cover, hospitalisation cash, concierge services, convalescence benefit, cover for medical devices and non-medical Items and so on. One may also choose to get the add-on cover for Critical illnesses
What is not covered:
Typically, in any health insurance policy, there are some things explicitly excluded. This basically includes medical conditions' arising due to the use/abuse of a drug or any intoxicating substance and any illness or hospitalisation arising or resulting from any breach of the law.
Buying Global Health Insurance:
There is no substitute for a good health policy in case of an emergency in a foreign land. It can be your friend, guide and your financial saviour, ensuring proper and timely treatment and freeing you from all sorts of tensions. Since medical treatment overseas is usually very expensive and financially a big risk, you need adequate cover that is usually available with global health policies. In addition, global travel health insurance may provide you with additional covers and benefits. Global health policies in the market are normally available in two geographic options - global or global excluding US & Canada.
As can be understood, a policy offering greater coverage and benefits can be a bit costly but it should be worth it as the need arises. Buying any insurance is a question of your needs & requirements. It is also essential that you know the inclusions and exclusions and you opt for the optional covers and add-ons carefully. Consult your insurance advisor for more details, as always.
A popular mantra of the stock market is “buy low, sell high”. However, when push comes to shove, this strategy is hard to follow. Investors in general are irrational and are driven by their emotions and biases.
“There is Nothing Certain, But the Uncertain.”
We are now used to surprises and uncertainties. In the context of the ongoing war, we believe everyone is deeply pained by the tragedy unfolding before us and the loss of human lives. We will try and keep emotions aside as we speak of the subject today.
Page 5 of 7