It is important to choose a suitable policy as per your needs the first time around because unlike motor insurance, as of now the probability (switching from one insurer to other without losing the renewal and no- claim benefits) of health insurance is not there. Therefore a little research at the buying or renewal stage can save you a lot of money and hassles later. Besides knowing exactly what you are buying gives you peace of mind. Thus before buying or renewing the health policy, do remember these fine tips:
Have a valid reason- no, doubt health insurance is becoming as important if, not more, as a life cover. However, keeping in view your individual circumstances and requirements, you should have valid reason for buying or renewing the health cover.
Amount of health coverage- you need to have adequate coverage and avoid either under insurance or over insurance. But there is no best way to decide the optimum coverage. The total amount of coverage required depends on many factors like number of family members to be covered, your estimate of medical cost and your existing health coverage, if any.
Cheapest or lowest cost policy may not be the best policy- with the wide array of health insurance products available in the market, choosing the best product as per your requirement is really difficult. However, cost is not the only criteria.
The first health cover- the first health cover you require is an indemnity cover (which reimburses the expenses actually incurred ) because the basic premise of health insurance is to take care of medical expenses in case of hospitalization.
Better to opt for family floater- floater policies are cheaper than individual policies. Chances of all family members falling ill at the same time or within the same year are low and therefore combined higher limit can be used by any individual member.
Have a separate cover for parents- while opting for floater mediclaim plans it is better to have a separate plan for your parents because in case of floater plans age of the eldest member is considered for the purpose of calculating the premium.
For increasing the coverage goes for top up policy- it is always better to buy top up policy for any coverage beyond two or three lakh or at the most five lakh. By combining your regular mediclaim health with top- up or super top- up policy you can save considerable premium without compromising your total coverage.
Know the exceptions- it is very important that you understand the level of coverage available under the mediclaim health policy.
Group policy vs. Independent policy- most companies provide health covers to their employs under good health plans. However, it still makes sense to sign up for an individual policy because you are no longer being covered in case of job loss or job transition or withdrawal of cover by the employer.