Things to Consider Before Opting for Health Insurance

In a world where a healthy lifestyle is slowly receding into the background, taking a health insurance policy is a great step in the direction of good healthcare. If you’ve come so far as to take the decision of purchasing health insurance, you’re on the right track. Now all that remains is to know what suits you best and how to choose the right health insurance plan for you. Here are some things to consider before opting for a health insurance policy:

  1. Claim settlement ratio: What is the claim settlement ratio? It is the ratio of the number of claims paid by the insurance company to the total number of claims received by the company in a financial year. Check if the insurance company you’re opting for has a high claim settlement ratio. The top companies have a ratio of more than 95%.
  2. Coverage: Check if the policy provides adequate coverage. This means that it should be substantial enough for the number of members in your family and for the current cost of healthcare. Go through all the benefits listed under it instead of going just by the premium. Also, check the hospital network covered.
  3. Payment mode: Go for cashless payment facility as it involves less paperwork and you don’t have to pay the bills out of your pocket. Reimbursement mode would require you to pay your bills first and then submit the required documents to the insurer in order to get the settlement.
  4. Add-ons and stand-alone policies: Apart from the general hospitalisation policy, you can also avail yourself of add-ons that cover surgical expenses, critical illness benefits, etc. This can be helpful in case of specific needs. For instance, the critical instance rider focuses on certain diseases whose treatment is expensive. So, if you have a family history or a genetic predisposition, you can take a policy that covers that particular disease.
  5. Waiting period: This is the time period that you must wait out before the health insurance coverage begins. Almost all types of health insurance policies have a compulsory waiting period (which may vary based on the company and the ailment), except in the case of accidents. Look for a policy with the least waiting period.
  6. Pre-existing diseases: These are diseases that have been diagnosed at least two years before purchasing the policy, for instance, diabetes, thyroid, high blood pressure, etc. If you have a pre-existing disease, insurers demand that you should undergo tests to determine to what extent the disease affects you, based on which they decide whether or not to accept your proposal.
  7. Conditions excluded: Check the exclusion clause in the brochure of the policy. Some conditions such as congenital disease, pregnancy, childbirth-related conditions, HIV/AIDS-related diseases, self-harm, toxic substance abuse, etc. are not covered by insurers. Some may not cover non-allopathic treatment methods such as Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy, etc. – although there are several insurers that do cover them.

It is important to be armed with accurate information before purchasing a health insurance policy. Make sure that you buy one that suits all your needs so that you don’t have to worry about finances and can focus fully on your health.