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Need for Buying Health Insurance in India for Senior Citizens

A health insurance policy is necessary for senior citizens to protect them against high healthcare costs during their golden years.

  • 15 Feb 2021
  • 2 min read

Healthcare costs are constantly rising in India. Reports say India's medical inflation is increasing at 15% every year; almost double the overall inflation rate. It means that a heart surgery that costs ₹2 lakh today will cost approximately ₹5 lakh after seven or eight years.

Hence, a health insurance policy becomes a necessity for every individual. It protects the insured person from incurring exorbitant healthcare expenditures and ensures that he/she gets necessary medical treatment when required. For senior citizens, a health plan becomes even more crucial since their bodies are weak and more prone to illnesses, infections and injuries.

If statistics are to be believed, around 47% of India's senior citizens suffer from at least one chronic disease, such as diabetes, depression, asthma, arthritis or angina. To protect the elderly from incurring hefty medical expenses, many insurance companies in India have started offering unique mediclaim policies known as senior citizen health insurance plans.

These plans are designed to address the precise healthcare needs of senior citizens, i.e. people above the age of 60. Read on to know why health insurance for senior citizens is necessary.

Tackle skyrocketing healthcare costs

A medical emergency often comes unannounced. A single instance of hospitalisation can wipe out the entire life’s savings of a person. For example, bypass surgery can cost anywhere between ₹2 to ₹5 lakh, depending upon the hospital. Add to it, the charges for medicines, diagnostic tests, hospital’s room rent, and it can become a mountain of expenses.

A senior citizen medical insurance policy helps the insured person to tackle unforeseen medical expenditures with ease. It ensures that the policyholder does not have to worry about skyrocketing healthcare expenses and focus only on his/her recovery at the time of a medical emergency.

Medical coverage for elderly people

As per the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) guidelines, all standard health insurance policies mandatorily provide medical coverage for people up to the age of 65. It means that after this age, senior citizens might be left without any medical coverage, which can be very dangerous.

However, a senior citizen medical insurance policy provides coverage for older people up to 85. It means that by buying such policies, senior citizens can ensure optimal health coverage for themselves, even if the standard health plans refuse to cover them. Some insurers even provide health insurance for senior citizens with an option of lifetime renewability.

Comprehensive medical coverage

As specified above, a senior citizen health insurance policy is designed to cover the specific healthcare needs of older adults. It provides comprehensive medical coverage by covering various healthcare expenses, including hospital’s room-rent, doctor’s consultation fees, costs for buying medicines and other medical supplies, ambulance charges, etc.

Additionally, health insurance for senior citizens also provides a cashless hospitalisation facility, which means that the insured person can avail of treatment at any network hospital without paying anything out of his/her pocket at the time of a medical emergency. This saves him/her or his/her children from the hassles of paying hefty hospital bills and then seek reimbursement from the insurer.

Coverage for pre-existing ailments

As people grow old, their bodies become frail and start losing their immunity power. Pre-existing diseases may be prevalent in senior citizens while buying a mediclaim policy. A senior citizen health insurance policy provides coverage for most pre-existing ailments in the elderly, albeit with a waiting period.

It means that after the completion of this waiting period, which is usually two to four years from the policy inception date, the insured senior citizen will be financially covered for the treatment of pre-existing ailments, including diabetes, blood pressure, heart diseases, kidney problems etc.

Coverage for critical illnesses

Senior citizens are more susceptible to catching life-threatening diseases or illnesses such as cancer, kidney failure, heart attack, anaemia, liver failure, stroke etc. Treatment of such diseases is usually costly, which be sometimes beyond one’s financial capability.

Health insurance for senior citizens provides financial coverage to them against treating critical illnesses mentioned in the policy document. Hence, it helps them save lakhs of rupees they may otherwise incur in the absence of a medical cover.

Also read:

Regular health check-ups and medical consultations

Senior citizens need to undergo frequent health check-ups and medical consultations to identify potential health problems before they become serious problems. A senior citizen health insurance policy covers the policyholder against astronomical medical costs. It helps them avail regular health check-ups and medical consultations at a network hospital, free of charge.

Tax benefits u/s 80D

When a person buys a senior citizen health insurance policy, he/she becomes eligible for certain tax benefits under section 80D of The Income Tax Act, 1961. Under this section, a person can claim tax deductions of up to ₹25,000 for paying health insurance premiums for himself/herself and his/her family members. In the case of senior citizens, this benefit goes up to ₹30,000 per year.

To conclude

Old age brings with itself several ailments which are expensive to treat and care for. A senior citizen health insurance policy provides coverage against all medical expenses, including pre and post hospitalisation expenditures. If you’re looking to buy senior citizen health insurance, you can consider family health insurance. This policy provides comprehensive medical coverage to the policyholders and comes with an option of lifetime renewability.

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