First, there is a policy document that one must go through at the time of purchasing an individual or family health insurance plan
Buying health insurance for yourself and your loved ones is one of the most important decisions you could take in recent times. Global Covid pandemic notwithstanding, there is a rise in cases of lifestyle and critical diseases, and every person must be protected by a good health insurance policy that covers the high costs of treatment in India and abroad.
Now that, digitalization has made it easier for people to buy a health insurance policy at the click of a button, there are some key factors that you should contemplate before buying health insurance plan. First, there is a policy document that one must go through at the time of purchasing an individual or family health insurance plan. The document lists all the information about the plan, with inclusions and exclusions, riders, benefits ingrained in the policy, premium payable, details about sum insured and how to upgrade it, etc. However, not everybody reads it in detail, and it may not list some benefits or clauses that arise after the policy is bought – this happens when the plan features are upgraded periodically.
Hence, you may have missed knowing some surprising things about your health insurance policy, such as:
1) Your health insurance plan gives you a free health check – and it doesn’t affect your premiums.
Though you are aware of this benefit, you might not have used it yet. There are some misconceptions about availing of the health check benefit ingrained in the policy. For one thing, policy holders are sceptical about undergoing the health check and discovering that they have developed some form of critical illness. They believe that the insurance provider will terminate their policy at this point – this is a baseless fear. Another myth associated with availing the health check is that the insurance provider will increase the policy premiums after the test results are out. Again, this is an unfounded fear. The results of the medical exam do not affect the premiums you pay, and they are taken into consideration only if you wish to upgrade the sum insured or buy a new health plan with the same insurance provider.
If you are worried about developing a critical illness, you can buy a critical illness insurance plan that pays the policy benefit in a lump sum
2) Not just your own premiums, the premiums you pay for your parents’ plan also gives you tax benefits.
You are probably aware that the premiums you pay towards your health insurance plan (including yourself, spouse and dependent children) can fetch you tax deduction up to Rs 25,000 p.a. under Sec 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961.
But here’s something you probably didn’t know: you can claim an additional deduction under Sec 80D for the premiums paid for your aged parents’ (aged above 60 years) health insurance policy, up to Rs 50,000. Furthermore, if both you and your parents are aged over 60 years and are covered under health insurance plans that you pay the premiums for, then you can claim a total deduction of Rs 1,00,000 p.a. These are great reasons to buy health insurance plans for your parents, too.
3) There is a huge benefit to staying healthy and preventing hospitalisation and treatment: the NCB.
The NCB (No Claim Bonus) is a self-explanatory term implying that one can get a bonus for not staking a claim against their health insurance plan. The NCB refers to the set of benefits you can take when you renew the policy annually. However, you can avail of this bonus only when you have not availed of your claim during the previous years in terms of hospitalisation, surgery, treatment, etc. The bonus can be availed in the form of an increased sum assured (once in a few years of not making a claim against the plan) or a discount on the premium payable. These benefits can only be availed at the time of policy renewal.
With these benefits at play, isn’t it a good idea to remain fit and out of the ambit of treatment and hospitalisation?
4) The ‘Restore’ benefit can be availed only if…
Some health insurance plans have a ‘Restore’ or ‘Refill’ benefit on the sum assured. What this means is that if the entire sum insured on the plan is exhausted in one policy year for a claim for a certain illness, then the sum insured may be restored for the same amount in the same policy year if you file a claim for another illness. For example, if you claimed the sum insured for a heart murmur treatment and finished the entire benefit on the policy, the insurance provider may restore the entire benefit if you were to be diagnosed with stomach tuberculosis of moderate severity. But this benefit is not extended towards claims for the same illness in the same policy year. If you fear repeated claims for an illness that you or a family member have contracted, then you should opt to buy a super top up plan.
So, if you are looking to buy the right health insurance plan for yourself and your loved ones, make sure to consider the above-mentioned points to understand the policies better and to make an informed decision.