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With many Indians living abroad for work, the number of NRIs has increased tremendously over the last few decades. Whether they are searching for a better job or moving for a business opportunity, they decide to leave the country and live elsewhere. While the whole world is their oyster, it also brings up a lot of questions and concerns in their minds. One of them is – availing a health insurance policy in India. Inundated by countless queries about the most suited policies, eligibility, what currencies can be used, benefits, and so on, choosing the correct and well-suited health insurance policy in India is not an easy task.

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    In this context, the article will guide through the various aspects a NRI should consider if willing to buy an NRI health insurance!

    Are NRIs Eligible for Health Insurance in India?

    NRIs are most certainly eligible to avail of a Health Insurance Policy in India. However, there are some requirements to be fulfilled and documents to be provided. The most important ones are proof of residence and income tax return. PIOs or Persons of Indian Origin will also need to present their passports.

    Consider a Complete Understanding of Policy Wordings

    While many Indian companies today have policies constructed for Non-Resident Indians, it is important to read the policy wordings before making a purchase carefully. Whether you are purchasing an individual, family floater, or mediclaim policy for senior citizens, most of the companies offering health insurance policy in India have stipulated a geographical restriction. The insurance benefits only apply to hospitals within India. This is especially important for Non-Resident Indians, for they must be aware that the insurer will not cover financial expenses that occurred in countries abroad.

    However, recently some insurance companies cover NRIs when they avail treatment outside the country as well. This might be restricted to certain treatments of serious conditions like cancer, brain tumours, organ transplants, etc.

    Hence, Non-Resident Indians need to be mindful of these restrictions and policy wordings, which will enable them to make the best decision.

    Underwriting Guidelines for NRIs

    Health Insurance policies in India are constructed around mitigating risk. Hence, they have strict guidelines that the users can read to get a better understanding. Due to the fact that NRIs do not have their main place of residence in India, it is perceived that settling any claims and corroborating authenticity has many added hurdles. Hence, they are deemed riskier, and the guidelines are stricter, and options are limited. That is why many insurers do not have plans that cater to NRIs and may even reject applications. Health Insurance Policies in India that cater to NRIs have strict guidelines with limited sums insured and limited access to health check-ups

    Foreign Exchange Management Act Regulations

    Before purchasing a plan, NRIs should read the rules under the Foreign Exchange Management Act that governs India's insurance policies.

    Tax Benefits Under Section 80D

    Section 80D of the Income-tax Act regulations provides tax deduction on the amount paid as a premium. Non-Resident Indians can avail of this facility outside the country, just like Indian residents. A person with individual health insurance can avail tax exemption benefits up to Rs 25,000. Even if the policyholder has purchased a Mediclaim policy for senior citizens, he/she can avail of a tax exemption of Rs 25,000.

    *Tax benefit is subject to changes in tax laws.

    Retiring to India in 3-4 years

    Suppose someone plans to return to India within a span of time beyond 4 years. In that case, it is preferable not to avail of a health insurance policy in India and stick to the plan they currently have in their country of residence. Since it is a long span of time, it is better to wait before purchasing a plan.

    Returning Earlier than 3-4 years

    Suppose the plan is to return to India in a very short amount of time. In that case, it is wise to avail health insurance policy in India and take cover as opposed to availing a plan in the residential country.

    The main advantage of purchasing health insurance a year or two before one lands in India is that the person would not have to worry about the stressful process or hassle about buying insurance immediately after landing. With a variety of activities associated with shifting countries, added difficulties can compound the hassle of moving. 

    Additionally, most plans have a waiting clause for many illnesses, and this will be served while the policyholder is still residing in a foreign country. The policyholder can avail of the benefits of the chosen insurance plan and be protected against financial challenges. They will be eligible to claim insurance in any health emergency or with any treatment. This takes a huge burden off the citizen and hence must be considered carefully.

    Migrating Abroad and Already have Insurance with an Indian Insurer

    If one has purchased a health insurance policy in India and is expected to travel abroad for a period of time, he/she will have a few options. When the person is certain that he/she will return to India after a span of time, it is considered wise to contrive the current insurance plan in India as opposed to purchasing a new plan in a foreign country.

    However, if the resident is certain about his/her stay in the country, it is advisable to purchase a new plan abroad. The key cause for this is the geographical restrictions that can become a burden to the policyholder if they are staying abroad for prolonged periods of time. The option most suitable to each person is variable by time duration and must be made as per their unique situation.

    Individual/family Coverage Plans for NRIs

    In the below table, there are a number of insurers providing NRI insurance in India:


    Network hospitals (number)

    Incurred Claim ratio

    Age period

    Sum insured

    Bajaj Allianz



    18-65 years

    Up to 50 lakh

    HDFC Ergo



    18-65 years

    Up to

    Max Bupa



    18-65 years

    Up to 1 crore

    Star Health



    18-65 years

    Up to 25 lakh


    *PolicyBazaar does not endorse, rate, or recommend any particular insurer or insurance product offered by an insurer.

    Policies for Senior Citizens

    The below-mentioned plans can be availed for your parents or senior citizens living abroad:


    Network hospitals (number)

    Incurred Claim ratio

    Age period

    Sum insured

    Bajaj Allianz Silver Health



    46-75 years


    HDFC Ergo Health Optimum Senior



    Entry at 61

    2,00,000- 5,00,000

    New India – Senior Citizen Mediclaim



    60-80 years


    Star Health – Senior citizen Red Carpet



    60-75 years

    1,00,000 – 7,50,000

    *PolicyBazaar does not endorse, rate, or recommend any particular insurer or insurance product offered by an insurer.

    Insurers that Offer NRI Insurance

    As mentioned above, one can consider the below insurers who offer NRI health insurance in India. Most policies are available for 1-3 years and can be availed either as individual or family floater sum insured basis. There are a few plans that are open to NRIs that have extensive coverage:

    • Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd. -With multiple channels to apply, easy renewal, and seamless coverage, Bajaj Allianz health insurance is a good option that will offer good coverage for in-patient and emergency services.
    • HDFC Ergo Health Insurance - With a wide variety of plans, HDFC Ergo Health Insurance (formerly known as Apollo Munich Health Insurance) has wide coverage, easy online access, and a large hospital network under its purview.
    • Max Bupa Health Insurance - With plans that cater to everyone from new-borns to senior citizens, Max Bupa Health Insurance offers all-inclusive coverage. Some benefits include no room rent cap and coverage of alternative treatments, maternity benefit etc.
    • Star Health & Allied Insurance Co. Ltd. Star health insurance is one of the few Health insurance companies in India that offer claim settlement without a Third-Party Administration. Star health offers many plans that will cater to your needs while being mindful of costs and easy access.

    Policies for Senior Citizens

    The below-mentioned policies can be availed for covering the senior members in the family who are residing abroad:

    • Bajaj Allianz Silver Health – Bajaj Allianz Silver Health is designed for senior citizens who often require medical attention. Covering pre and post-hospitalization and ambulance charges, it is an excellent option to avail. With entry from 46 years, it offers wide coverage as a mediclaim policy for senior citizens.
    • HDFC Ergo Health Optimum Senior – It is a comprehensive plan for senior citizens with tailored benefits offered by HDFC Ergo Health Insurance. With special benefits for senior citizens like – the restore benefit, where if the sum insured is exhausted, it will be restored within the term and is a good option to consider for senior citizens. The plan is available for citizens above 61 years and valid for 1-2 years.
    • New India Assurance Senior Citizen Mediclaim is another extensive option as a mediclaim policy for senior citizens. It covers in-patient, outpatient, and OT charges and also includes Ayurveda treatments. The plan covers Indians between the age of 60 – 80 years.
    • Star Health Senior Citizen Red Carpet – The plan covers senior citizens from 60-75 years. This is one of the few policies that does not require a pre-purchase health check-up. With coverage for outpatient, in-patient, and daycare services, it is a comprehensive option for Mediclaim policy for senior citizens.

    Holding a health insurance policy in India as an NRI is useful if one is planning to settle in India eventually. However, you can also avail of a mediclaim policy for senior citizens if you have ailing parents and want them to be financially covered. Policyholders must be mindful of geographical restrictions.

    Written By: PolicyBazaar - Updated: 29 July 2021

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