Why NRIs should consider buying health insurance from India while living abroad


Published: Tue 23 May 2023, 2:30 PM

Last updated: Tue 23 May 2023, 2:41 PM

Over 2.5 million Indians migrate abroad every year for better work opportunities. For the majority of non-resident Indians (NRI), since the families are back home in India, there’s a need to keep visiting India frequently. Few other NRIs, especially the ones living in the Gulf countries, plan to settle back in India after spending a few years abroad. Therefore, it’s a constant dilemma for all the NRIs, whether they should buy a health insurance plan from India as a backup option or just solely rely on their health insurance plan that covers them in the resident countries.

By Siddharth Singhal

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There are key parameters that can help NRIs understand why having Indian health insurance too is a good option.

Health insurance bought from India covers the treatment expenses incurred in India. However, now increasingly insurance companies are launching plans that provide worldwide coverage, provided the diagnosis happens in India. Here’s why NRIs should look to purchase a health plan from India.

NRI may not get health insurance when they get back to India – Health insurance must be purchased when one is not sick and preferably young, giving you a range of choices. As there could be a situation when NRIs come back to India in their retirement years, they don’t get health insurance at all – putting them at significant financial risk.

Early Start of Waiting Periods–An NRI purchasing health insurance from India while still abroad starts serving the waiting periods from the date of purchase of the policy. This means by the time you come back permanently to India; you would have already served the waiting periods in the policy.

India is a growing medical hub for quality and affordable treatment - should a situation arise for NRIs to undertake treatment of a major disease, they can take opt for hospitals in India. Additionally, the comfort of having loved ones by your side is unparalleled.

Affordability - The health plans available in India can cost 70 to 80 per cent lesser compared to other countries.

Many NRIs have their families or elderly parents back in India. Hospitalization expenses for elderly parents can dent a significant hole in the family’s savings. An NRI can now opt for health insurance plans for their parents, since

No medical checkups required - Most health insurance plans do not need any medical checkups for the policy to be issued and can remotely be purchased for their parents online.

Affordable premiums for parents – Health plans for parents in India are about 35 per cent cheaper than the ones available in host countries. They must be adequately covered in your absence since senior citizens are most vulnerable to health conditions.

Claims Concierge – Many insurance companies have also rolled out claims concierge services for senior citizens, ensuring their claims are processed without any hassles.

Plans designed for Indian needs

A product that is conceptualised and designed in India for Indians is more likely to suit the needs of an NRI than the one conceptualised in their host country. NRIs will have a more exhaustive variety of choices when they select a plan from India – enabling them to customise as per their requirement and don’t have to follow a standard approach in health insurance anymore.

Siddharth Singhal is a business head - health insurance at Policybazaar.com

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