Tips to find the right senior citizens' health insurance policy

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Published: Mon 25 Dec 2023, 10:31 AM

Last updated: Wed 24 Jan 2024, 4:17 PM

Health issues increase as you age, and your medical bills can drain a significant part of your savings in no time. However, if you are covered under health insurance, you can either opt for cashless treatment at a network hospital of your insurer or claim reimbursement for your medical bills. When buying health insurance, it is vital to research and choose a policy that will take care of your healthcare needs. Here, we will tell you how to choose the right health plan for senior citizens to avoid financial woes during medical emergencies.

By Shagun Sharma

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As you age, your body goes through many internal and external changes. Some of these changes make you prone to different health conditions and increase the frequency of hospital admissions. Since healthcare expenses also increase with age, it is important to plan your investments wisely to prevent financial setbacks during the golden years of your life. One significant investment that can secure your finances and help you choose the finest medical treatment is health insurance.

A comprehensive health plan can cover your medical bills and keep your retirement funds intact. However, to make the best use of this insurance product, you ought to invest in the right senior citizens’ health insurance policy. Let’s take a look at the important factors you must consider while buying medical insurance for senior citizens.

Tips to choose the right health plan for senior citizens

When buying medical insurance to secure your health and finances post-retirement, make sure you keep the following points in mind to find the right coverage —

Check policy inclusions and exclusions: Instead of randomly zeroing in on a health plan, shortlist a few and compare their coverage. Check their inclusions and exclusions to find a plan that will take care of your healthcare requirements. For example, choose a health plan that covers daycare treatments, home healthcare, road ambulance bills, AYUSH treatments, etc. Use online comparison tools to get a clearer picture.

Look for add-on covers: If you want to enhance the coverage of your health plan, look for a policy with add-on covers. Some important add-on covers for senior citizens are critical illness insurance coverage, room rent waiver, hospital cash cover and personal accident cover.

Choose adequate sum insured: Before deciding on the sum insured of your health plan, consider some important factors, such as the cost of healthcare in your town or city of residence and your healthcare requirements. While a high sum insured will increase the policy premiums, a low one may not be adequate to cover your healthcare bills. So, select a health plan with a suitable sum insured.

Look for plans with affordable premiums: Health insurance premiums increase with age. If you can’t afford an expensive health plan, you can look for one with co-payments and deductibles. These features divide the financial risk between insurance companies and policyholders. Therefore, insurance policies with these clauses are comparatively affordable. However, do not choose a plan that will require you to pay a high deductible before the coverage kicks in. The same applies to co-payments as well.

Choose an insurance provider with network hospitals nearby: When you are buying health insurance, look for an insurer with a long list of network hospitals in the city, with a few reputable ones nearby. If there is a medical emergency, you can reach the nearest network hospital for cashless treatment. This will save you from paying the bills from your pocket and filing a reimbursement claim with the insurance provider.

Select a health plan with a short waiting period: All health insurance policies have an initial waiting period of 30 to 90 days. However, the waiting period for pre-existing conditions can range from 1 to 4 years. Therefore, make sure you check the same and choose a health plan with a short waiting period for pre-existing conditions.

Look for the no-claim bonus benefit: Choose a senior citizen’s health insurance policy with the no-claim bonus benefit. If you don’t make any claim during a policy period, you can earn a no-claim bonus in the form of a higher sum insured or reduced policy premiums.

Choose a health plan with a lifetime renewability option: Since a medical emergency can happen at any time, it is important to stay covered under health insurance throughout your life. Therefore, choosing a health insurance plan with a lifetime renewability option is wise. If you pay policy premiums on time, you can keep the health plan active. This will ensure continuous coverage and save you from the hassles of buying a new healthcare plan at a later age.

Select an insurer with a high claim settlement ratio: This is one of the most important things to keep in mind while buying health insurance. The CSR is the number of claims paid by the insurer against the number of claims received in a financial year. Therefore, a high claim settlement ratio indicates that the insurer settles most of the claims they receive. However, check the claim settlement ratio of the insurance provider for at least the last 5 years to get a clear picture.

Check customer reviews: Visit different insurance portals and check customer reviews to get a better idea about different insurers and the services they offer. Zero in on an insurer known for offering timely and quality customer services to avoid associated hassles later.

Conclusion

Health insurance is one of the most important investments for senior citizens. A good and comprehensive medical insurance policy will help you cover your healthcare expenses without facing any financial setbacks. Therefore, if you are buying senior citizens health insurance for yourself or your aged parents, make sure you choose one wisely. Check policy coverage and benefits minutely and ensure the premiums don’t burn a hole in your pocket.

Shagun Sharma is a business journalist.


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