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Should you Include Your Parents in Employer’s Group Health Insurance?

While joining a company, every new employee gets an employer’s group health insurance as an extra benefit. This employers’ group insurance is provided for free by default to every employee of the organization and thus, all the benefits provided are same for everyone in the company. It is probably not new for you to know about the employers’ group health insurance and you might not even have given a thought to it but there is another aspect related to it that you must consider before you make up your mind on it. The people that are insured under a group health insurance include the employee’s spouse and two children.

But in India, the family is not only limited to just the spouse and the children, no, it’s bigger than that, it includes parents too. The parents are not covered under a group health insurance and in order to get them covered under this insurance, the organization provides an option but you need to pay an extra premium amount to avail it.

Now, here comes the central question for today which is should you include your parents in employer’s group health insurance? To arrive at an answer to this question, we will try to approach it from every possible side and thus, will let you analyze all the factors at the same time. one of the best way to arrive at an answer to this question seems to be weigh down together the pros and cons of a group health insurance and analyze them how do they stack up against each other and the needs of a health insurance for elderly parents and even compare them with the pros and cons of an individual health plan.

All these details would help you to zero in only on the best health insurance for your parents and why in the first place should you settle for anything less as after all, these are your parent we are talking about who you love a lot and who have raised from day 1 and have been there to support you at every point of time, didn’t they? So, this is how it will go, we’ll start with the basics and then move towards what is mentioned above. So, without wasting any further time, let us get started with our discussion for the day.

What is Actually an Employer’s Group Health Insurance?

As the name suggests, a Group health insurance provides coverage to a specific group of people with every member of the group enjoying the similar benefits without any exception. Now, an employers’ group health insurance is provided by an organization to each and every one of its employee. Apart from the employee, the insurance also provides cover for the dependents which include the spouse and two children.

There are a lot of reasons because of which an organization provides a free health plan to every employee. Take for example; a group health insurance saves a lot of money in premiums in comparison to the individual plan although the coverage provided under the latter is better than the former one. Besides the cheaper premiums, the organization also have flexibility in terms of making payment for the premiums and thus, can make payments annually, quarterly, half yearly or even make divide the payments into partial installments. With respect to an organization, the best health insurance for its employees is the one that has cheap premiums and provides better coverage along with flexible premium payment options.

Characteristics of a Good Health Insurance for Your Parents

Before moving any further and compare the benefits of an employers’ group health insurance to the needs of a senior citizen health insurance, it would be better off, if we take a sneak peek into what actually does make a health insurance plan suitable for senior citizens.

  1. Entry Age and Renewability: If you have ever searched for a health insurance for senior citizens, then you might have learnt that there are a lot options available in the market but the number of options steeply decrease with the age of the insured and thus, the choice for a senior citizen health insurance gets limited and even worse is that the available options have a lot of strings attached to them due to the reason that senior citizens usually have higher chances of suffering from a medical problem as compared to the younger population. Therefore, a good health plan for senior citizens must have higher entry age and options for renewability so that the term of the insurance can be extended to provide coverage for lifetime.
  2. Medical Checkup: Continuing right from where the last point left, every time you get a health plan, the policy holder is required to get a medical checkup done at the center specified by the insurer. Now, the results of this medical checkup determines how complex the terms of the health plan would be because it not only checks for the current medical conditions but also for the medical problems that you are probable to suffer in the future and now, you might have guessed it that how this medical checkup is a problem for your parent’s health insurance.
  3. Waiting Period for Pre-Existing Conditions: As we know that every health insurance has a pre specified waiting period before which zero coverage for a pre-existing medical condition is provided. The shorter this waiting period, the better becomes the health plan.
  4. Regular Checkups: Every health insurance comes with a feature that provides the insured with the facility to avail free medical checkups at the network hospitals but that is not the whole story and there are strings attached to it too and the complexity of the terms and conditions depends upon the types of health insurance you purchase like an HMO plan or a PPO plan.
  5. Major Critical Illnesses Covered: Every health insurance provides coverage for a lot of major critical illnesses like cataract, bypass surgery, body part transplant etc. and a better health plan to choose in this regard is the one that cover more of these critical illnesses with simpler terms and conditions.

Benefits of a Group Health Insurance for Your Parents

Okay, now we have a pretty good idea for what to check to make sure if your employers’ group health insurance is right for your parents or not and is it really the best health insurance they can get. Let us check out the benefits that makes the group health insurance suitable for your parents;

  1. No Waiting Period: One of the best upside of an employers’ group health insurance is that the coverage for any medical illness is provided right from the inception of the policy. it might not be a big deal for the employees but when it comes to their parents, it becomes a great deal and proves to be very beneficial for them. This zero waiting period policy is even applicable for the maternity coverage for the female employees. And to give you a spoiler alert for the conclusion, this particular benefit stands on top to make a GHI the best health insurance for your parents.
  2. No Requirement for a Medical Checkup: Neither the employees nor the dependents including parents are required to go for a pre medical checkup to be insured under the group health insurance and thus, the terms and conditions tends to simpler with least string attached for the parents.
  3. Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions: The zero waiting period policy even extends to the pre-Existing conditions and coverage any previously existing illness is also provided right from the day 1. For parents suffering from some disease already, this particular feature is a god gift because of which they can undergo the treatment for this disease right away and avail the claim for it.
  4. Cheaper Premiums: Let us assume that you are convinced enough to include your parents in your employers’ group health insurance, then the next best option you would have is to go for an individual plan for your parents. The premiums you would be paying for the individual plan is about 30%-40% more expensive as compared to the case if you just include your parents in the GHI. So, this a benefit actually for you and not for your parents as you get to save some more money.
  5. Super Top-Up Feature: The sum assured for a group health insurance is not very large but it comes with a feature of super top-up which allows you to avail benefits for a larger sum assured by paying extra amount for it. Now, when your claim amount exceeds the sum assured provided by the group health insurance, then the super top-up benefit kicks in and provides you additional claim.

Limitations of an Employers’ Group Health Insurance

It would not be wise if we straight away come to the conclusion without giving any thought to the disadvantages of an employers’ insurance. So below are the disadvantages that you have to bear in mind if you decide to include your parents in your employers’ group health insurance. Let’s have a look:

  1. Insurance Facility is Provided by the Discretion of the Employer: The group health insurance is provided by the organizations to their employees and their dependents only because they want their employees to be worry free of the medical expenses of them and their family and this helps the company to gain the trust and loyalty of their employees and it also increases the retention ratio of the company. But it should not be overlooked that there is no compulsion for the company to provide the group health insurance and they can pull this service anytime if they want. Therefore, the employees should not be fully dependent on their employers’ provided health insurances.
  2. Policy Term is as Long as you are the Employee of the Company: Just like you get insured under the group health insurance as soon as you join the organization, the policy coverage ceases as soon as you leave the organization. The coverage is valid only for the current employees of the company and not for the ones who have left the company.
  3. Coverage is not sufficient: This particular disadvantage might sound contradictory to whole point of discussion but when you compare a group health insurance to an individual health insurance plan, the coverage provided from the former one is not similar to latter one where the individual plans always stack above the group health insurance. so, if you can afford to have a individual health insurance besides the group health insurance from your company, then it is always better.

Conclusion:

So, we have discussed about everything staring from the basics of a group health insurance and then moving to its advantages and disadvantages specifically for your parents. Now we are in a good position that we can answer the central question of this whole discussion. Let us weigh the pros against the cons and whichever side will be heavier will win and determine the answer to our question.

Advantages like zero waiting period for providing coverage for any illness including preexisting ones and no requirement of a prior medical checkup are something that in true sense constitute to make up the best health insurance Plan for your parents. But on the other hand, the coverage provided by them is not sufficient enough in many circumstances for your parents and even you. But this can be overcome by paying for a super top-up feature which has been discussed above. Coming to the con that the policy term is only as long as the employees are working for the organization, well, this is one of the bitter truth about the employers’ group health insurance and if we see it from another side, we can say that the employee might be shifting from current company to the next one in which case the health insurance now would be provided by the new company.

So, whether you should include your parents in your group health insurance or not? The answer is Yes, see, you are going to pay 30%-40% less premium in comparison to the individual health plan while in return you will get complete coverage from day 1 and if you can afford, then you can increase the sum assured by making use of the super top-up or top-up feature.

All in all, Employers’ provided group health insurance is a great option for those looking for a health insurance for their parents but can’t afford an individual plan or they want the complete coverage from day 1.