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Cut Down On Your Health Insurance Expenses

Make your healthcare bills smaller, go for family floater, top ups, two-year policies etc. 

Over the past years health insurance cost has risen among all insurers. IRDA's move to slash claim-based loading and bring in life-long renew ability have caused the premiums to increase, no to forget the surging medical inflation. These, however, have increased the sector's costs too. But the regulator allows companies to raise rates only once every three years. 

There has been a 14% increase in the pricing of public sector companies. Although there hasn't been a sharp rise in the prices but they have mandated higher premium for age band beyond 45 years, signaling an increase of 10-12 per cent in the same age band. 

As against the older regime, where premiums got hiked depending on how frequently the policyholders claimed their policies (claim-based loading), the new norms consider change in the age bracket as the basis to raise the premium. 

It has been predicted that in the years to come, health insurance will become expensive by 15-20 per cent. 

There are several ways using which you can bring down these high insurance costs: 

Opt for a Family floater

When it is family that has to be covered, one should always choose family floater over individual plans. 

For younger families a family floater is a must as the premium is charged according to the age of the eldest member. Premium increases with increase in the age of the eldest member. 

Usually, people who are covered are two adults along with children in a floater policy. Parents and siblings aren't. Parents and siblings are however covered under policies offered by companies like Oriental India Insurance and family floater by Max Bupa covers up to 13 relations. 

One can look to be covered under very basic plans like a critical illness, personal accident and hospital cash covers, which are cheaper than a comprehensive cover but provide only conditional coverage. 

Go for two-year policies

Insurers Apollo Munich, HDFC Ergo, Star Health are among the many companies who offer two year plans. Opting for the latter will provide you perks on not only the premium but more. Health insurance policies are annual contracts. If one opts for HDFC Ergo's two-year 'Health Suraksha' instead of one-year one saves Rs 4,469 of premium for a Rs 4 lakh policy for a 30-year period. In a one year policy one may have to shell out Rs 5,587, whereas a two-year policy would amount to Rs 10,056. 

Use top-ups for higher cover

Make high cover ups possible and economical by using top ups. One can make that happen (for Rs. 5lakh cover) by buying standalone policy that offers sum assured of Rs 1 lakh or Rs 2 lakh and cover the remaining amount (4-5 lakh) by buying top ups. 

This layout is far more economical than just raising your base insurance. Such plans come into picture after the base cover has drained out. 

Deductibles and Sub-limits

Voluntary deductibles help customers save over premiums. Customers pay as much as their pocket allows and leave the bigger part to be paid by the insurer. In simpler words, policyholders pay marginal portion of claims on their own and make insurers pay the larger one, thus mutually helping self and the insurer. 

Bajaj Allianz's product lets you avail 10 per cent discount on premium if you opt for a voluntary deductible. 

One can also go for sub-limits for not so serious ailments (hernia, appendicitis, knee replacement) and no sub-limits on critical ailments (cancer, stroke). As in case of non serious ailments you could visit smaller hospitals or pay the bill on your own as the bill is bound to exceed the sub limits. 

You can also save by lessening higher sub limits by analyzing your needs. On a policy that provides room rent of Rs 20,000. You can decrease it to Rs 10,000 as such high rented rooms are unnecessary. 

Make sure you get no claims benefit

It is advisable to consider non-claim benefits while choosing health insurance. One should switch to insurers who provide the non-claim benefit feature in their plans. Though in motor insurance, where non-claims bonus helps bring down the renewal premium but in health insurance they only increase the coverage. 

People covered under group health insurance from employers get the option to change to individual policies of the same company a the time of switching jobs. This helps them retain the continuity in terms of pre-existing diseases. But exact replica of the policy is not guaranteed. The policy will be provided as per the availability. For e.g maternity covers are not part of individual policies. 

Buy online

Companies like Bajaj Allianz, HDFC Ergo and Apollo Munich provide online health cover which are 10% per cent cheaper than offline plans.

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