In the event that you need medical treatment, it should be a comforting, nurturing experience, without any concerns about affordability. Having health insurance makes that possible, says Anuj Gulati
Illustration: Dominic Xavier/Rediff.com
After a life dedicated to a career or caring for the family, during one’s golden years, they deserve to be indulged.
Life should be all about pursuing a more relaxed daily routine with enjoyable hobbies and rejuvenating vacations from time to time.
Missed the bus?
It has been commonly seen that most Indians in their younger years, tend to oversee the importance of taking a health insurance policy of their own. This is primarily due to two reasons: firstly because they feel it would not be required since they are healthy and secondly, those who are working professionals find coverage offered by their employers sufficient.
This results in a situation where in their golden years or post retirement, when the need of health insurance is the most, they don’t have a cover.
Keeping this in mind, a lot of insurance companies offer health insurance plans specifically designed for senior citizens. Enrolment for such plans is usually allowed at least till 65 years; however some insurers put no restriction on entry age thereby making it easy for senior citizens to access quality healthcare.
Making the right choice
With almost every company in the health insurance industry offering a policy for senior citizens, it can be a daunting task to narrow down on one. Here are five factors that one must pay attention to while purchasing a mediclaim policy for senior citizens:
Ideally, thehigher the coverage you opt for, the better. However, there is a direct correlation between the premium that you have to pay and the coverage that you receive.
Some companies will offer to cover more than the basic hospitalisation and pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses. They offer you a consumable allowance, allowance for a companion, domiciliary hospitalisation, dialysis cover and other add-ons.
So, ensure that you get the best value for your money. Furthermore, some insurance companies provide offer coverage till Rs 10 lakh.
Some policies allow you to recharge the sum insured -- up to 100 per cent of the original SI -- if the amount gets exhausted.
Additionally, some companies allow you to purchase a policy for tenure of one to three years and offer discounts for choosing a longer tenure.
Look for such options that build useful flexibility into your plan.
Senior Citizen health insurance policies usually have a co-payment clause. This means that the insured has to bare a portion of the claim amount (as specified in the policy).
Look for a policy that gives you the best deal in this regard.
4. Maximum age to renew
Every insurer specifies a different maximum age till when they can stay enrolled in their plans. However, there are some companies that do not put any restriction on this, that is, once enrolled the insured can stay covered throughout lifetime. All they have to do is renew their policies timely.
5. Pre-existing illnesses and waiting periods
This may be the most important factor to consider since most companies have a waiting period before they cover pre-existing illnesses and some do not cover them at all.
Naturally, the lower the waiting period the better; there are companies that offer to cover these after a wait-period of just 2 years thus making such policies extremely relevant for a senior citizen keeping in mind they might be already ailing from certain illnesses.
Do check the wait-period when you choose an insurer.
6. Simple claim process
This factor is relevant, irrespective of what age you are. Make sure you understand how the claim process works, in advance, so that you do not lose time or effort while filing your claim.
Anuj Gulati is MD and CEO at Religare Health Insurance