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    National Insurance Awareness Day 2021: Key things to check before buying health insurance

    National Insurance Awareness Day 2021: Key things to check before buying health insurance

    National Insurance Awareness Day 2021: Key things to check before buying health insurance
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    By CNBCTV18.com Contributor  IST (Published)

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    The pandemic has ensured that all of us are well versed with the need for comprehensive health insurance cover.

    The pandemic has ensured that all of us are well versed with the need for comprehensive health insurance cover. Pre-COVID, many of us were happy with the insurance schemes offered by our employees and did not look at the fine print on the covers we received. However, with the exorbitant hospital and medical bills being accrued during COVID treatment, people have become much more discerning when it comes to choosing the best health protection available in the market.
    If you are looking to invest in an optimal health insurance policy, these are the things one must look out for
    Your Social Demographics and the Necessary Coverage
    You should keep your demography, including the city you stay in and the average cost of hospitalization in your area, in mind while choosing your health insurance cover. If you have a higher standard of living and expect coverage in superior hospital rooms and adapt the modern treatments like robotic surgeries and overseas emergency hospitalization; choose a policy with a higher coverage limit. Please check your policy for any capping or limitations on the expenses associated with the treatment especially surgical procedures.
    You must choose a policy that offers you the most benefits, including ambulance service and coverage for pre-existing as well as all possible illnesses. Avoid floater policies with lower sum-insureds as they have fared poorly in the current pandemic scenario. Pick a policy that does not cap your treatment options as nowadays a number of expensive but fruitful treatments are available for a range of illnesses.
    Cashless Claim Options and Premium Values
    Before signing the dotted line, take note of the insurer’s network of hospitals and consider whether these facilities offer you cashless claim options. As it is difficult to make upfront payments during medical emergencies, it is ideal to choose a cover that allows you to make cashless claims. You should choose a policy that offers you cashless coverage throughout the country along with a wider network of hospitals.
    Separately, ensure that you never choose a policy based only on the low cost of the premium. You should pick a cover that suits your needs and figure out how to lower the accompanying premium. Explore avenues to reduce the premium by means of discounts offered by the insurer, like a discount on choosing a higher policy tenure of 2/3 Years can bring down your premium significantly or ensuring a Girl Child or Single Women can get the premium discounted. One can also opt for buying an insurance policy directly from the insurers' website to avail online discounts. Many insurers also have premium payment options in Monthly and Quarterly EMIs, which can be a great relief in case you want to pay the premiums in easy installments.
    Pre- and Post-Hospitalization Charges & Other Coverages
    You should consider the age and pre-existing health conditions of your dependents before buying a health insurance policy. If you already have a policy with lower sum-insured and are looking to upgrade, you could consider choosing super top-up policies for the additional coverage you want, with deductible up to your existing health policy. Also, hospital expenses are not limited to your stay at the hospital. The pre-hospitalization tests and post-hospitalization care could also dent your savings.
    Choose a policy that covers both pre and post-hospitalization expenses for the optimal period. Apart from basic hospitalization coverages, make sure your policy gives a comprehensive coverage for alternate treatments like AYUSH (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy), Day Care Procedures, Domiciliary Hospitalization, Organ Donor Expense or for modern technologically advanced options like Robotic Surgeries, Stem Cell Therapy etc. A policy that covers all the above can be deemed to be a comprehensive one. The recent IRDAI guidelines are also requesting insurers to include Home Care treatment in the existing health insurance policies by paying up nominal charges.
    Policy Tenure and Waiting Periods
    Choosing a higher policy tenure of 2 to 3 years has certain benefits, like you sign-up for the same premium for the entire tenure, without any surprises during renewal each year, also some insurers offer discounts on premium too, which makes it a lucrative deal.
    Waiting periods are something that you should be well aware of if you have a pre-existing disease or a critical illness. Make sure you check the waiting period applied within your policy, opt for policies that have it for fewer years so that they can start to cover you soon.
    These are some of the most important things you need to check before you decide to purchase a health insurance policy. Now that you have your checklist at hand, go through the offers available and ensure that you choose the optimal health cover to help you tide over all possible and unforeseen medical challenges coming your way.
    The author, Rakesh Jain, is ED and CEO at Reliance General Insurance. The views expressed are personal
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