There is no denying that your health is probably your most precious asset. However, the definition of good health can vary depending on your age. A young person does not have the same health needs as an older person. This is why you should modify your health insurance cover as you approach different stages of life. Read on to find out how you can enjoy real protection throughout your life.
During the 20s
Most people start thinking about buying an independent health insurance policy once they settle into their first jobs. More than 75% of youngsters in India buy health insurance for its tax benefits. Not surprisingly, Indians pay more than 70% of all medical expenses out of their own pockets.
While tax benefits are important, it should not be the primary factor for buying health cover in your 20s. Your plan must cover these risks-
- Hospitalization for treatment of common diseases and ailments. You can fall prey to Dengue or Chikungunya even if you are young, fit, and healthy. With the Day Care Facility feature, you can even get covered for treatment that lasts less than 24 hours.
- Accident treatment. Youngsters with active lifestyles must always guard against mishaps
- Dental cover. Such problems can affect you irrespective of your age and are best tackled properly at the earliest.
During the 30s
You will probably be married by your late 20s or early 30s. Now, you need to look beyond your personal health requirements and include those of your family’s as well. Your health insurance must now offer benefits such as-
- Family floater protection for yourself and your spouse
- Maternity cover for the birth of your child. While the average waiting period is 1-6 years, some new age insurers offer a waiting period of as less as 9 months.
- Post-natal protection for your new-born child along with the option of including his/her name in the family protection plan
- Comprehensive cover that fills the gaps in protection that your company or group health insurance policy offers, because very often, group insurance policies are not enough.
Keep in mind that the more you wait to buy health insurance, the higher your premium is likely to be, especially if you suffer from any pre-existing medical conditions at the time you are buying a policy. In case you are concerned that if you buy it too early, you may not need to make a claim, and that could be a waste of money, there’s always the No Claim Bonus benefit. you can get in case you go a year without making a claim. You can avail this benefit either in the form of a reduction of renewal premium or an increase in the sum assured amount.
During the 40s
As one grows older, good health cannot be guaranteed by merely exercising regularly and eating healthy. Focus must shift to regular diagnostic checks and other preventive measures. A growing family must be protected with a family floater plan. Children fall ill frequently and may require hospital treatment. Even something as minor as a bone fracture can set your finances back by Rs. 4-5 lakhs.
Furthermore, middle age is the right time to opt for critical illness policies. Unlike conventional medi-care that reimburses you for health expenses, critical care policies offer lump-sum benefits upon diagnosis of covered ailments. There are also diseases specific plans for Diabetes, Cancer and other major illnesses which may cover diseases at all stages of severity. However, since there is no guarantee you will be diagnosed with one, a broader critical illness policy may be more helpful.
50s, 60s and beyond
As your children grow older and opt for their own plans, it is time to shift from expensive family plans back to individual plans that are tailored to provide the best benefits for your unique health requirements. Keep in mind that if one member has diabetes, then a combined plan for the entire family may result in unnecessary expenses.
Senior citizens have special health requirements and your cover should provide for the same. For starters, choose a plan that offers assured cover for the longest period of time with minimal excisions, though most plans now offer the option for renewal. Instead of going for a plan that requires a yearly renewal, consider paying more for a plan that offers comprehensive coverage for 3 to 5 years at a stretch.
As you grow older, you may explore alternate treatments like AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) to keep you in good shape. There are some new age health plans offered by insurers like Apollo Munich, Star Health and HDFC Ergo which are open to covering alternate forms of treatment.
At the same time, get rid of cover options you no longer require. Instead, focus on convenience as you are likely to visit hospitals for tests and treatments more often.
In the end
To live in good health all your life is not an easy task. Thankfully, having the right health insurance cover will make things far easier. Instead of adopting a buy-it-and-forget-it approach, assess your present and future needs and opt for the right health insurance plans at different stages of your life.