Health Insurance for NRI

Health Insurance for NRI is designed to provide medical coverage to NRIs or Non-resident Indians travelling to India for a long or short period of time. This NRI health insurance policy covers the medical expenses incurred by the insured NRI during their stay in India. However, it does not offer coverage for the medical treatments availed outside India.

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      Can NRIs Buy Health Insurance in India?


      Any NRI living abroad can buy NRI health insurance plans available in India for themselves and their entire families. All they need to do is to provide the necessary documents to prove their Indian citizenship, such as valid address proof, recent ITR, etc. However, persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) are required to provide their passports to buy health insurance in India for NRI.

      Buying a health insurance policy in India is highly recommended to NRIs who plan to return back to reside in India permanently within 3-4 years. By doing so, the policy will be ready for raising claims by the time they shift back to India as the in-built waiting periods will be over. Besides, they would not have the pressure of buying a health insurance policy immediately after returning to India.

      What are Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) Regulations for NRIs?

      The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) states the guidelines for issuing health insurance for NRIs in India. As per the FEMA regulations, the claim amount payable under an NRI health insurance policy can be up to the total premium amount paid by the NRI in foreign currency.

      Moreover, the claim payment can be made to the foreign bank account of the insured NRI or the Resident Foreign Currency (RFC) account maintained by an authorized bank in India.

      Why NRIs Should Buy Health Insurance in India?

      Here are some of the reasons why NRIs should buy a medical insurance policy in India:

      1. Availability of Medical Coverage in India

        In case you have purchased health insurance in your country of residence (for example UK), it will not come useful if you fall sick while visiting India. This is because these plans have geographical restrictions and do not cover medical expenses outside the country. However, by buying medical insurance for NRI visiting India, you can claim medical expenses incurred during your travel in India.

      2. Ensure Adequate Medical Cover

        Some people living abroad are more prone to certain health issues, like stomach-related ailments and flu. In case you fall prey to these health ailments during your India visit, you will not be able to claim these medical expenses under your health policy purchased outside India. But if you buy medical insurance for foreigners in India, these expenses will be adequately covered by your insurance company in India.

      3. Get Continued Coverage

        As an NRI, if you travel to India multiple times in a year, you must buy health insurance for NRI in India. Doing so will ensure that you have medical coverage whenever you visit India during the policy tenure. It prevents you from buying medical insurance every time you plan to visit India and will enable you to claim your medical expenses in case you fall sick during these visits.

      4. Available at Lower Premiums

        Health insurance plans can be purchased at lower premiums in India than in most countries abroad. The reason behind this is that healthcare services are extremely costly overseas as compared to India. The following table compares the prices of common medical procedures in different countries:

        Cost of Medical Procedures (Approx.) India ($) US ($) UK ($) UAE ($) Singapore ($)
        Heart Bypass 5,200 144,000 10,500 25,000 17,200
        Heart Valve Replacement 5,500 170,000 10,500 25,000 16,900
        Cardiac Arrest 7,000 50,000 15,000 10,000 16,350
        Knee Replacement 6,200 50,000 12,500 13,000 16,000
        General MRI Scan 100 750 400 2,500 300
        Cataract Surgery 1,000 2,500 3,000 4,000 1,500
        Liver Transplant 50,000 300,000 80,000 30,000 175,000
        Hip Replacement 7,000 50,000 13,800 12,500 13,900
        Spinal Fusion 6,500 100,000 2,000 16,000 12,800
        Bone Marrow Transplant 50,000 250,000 20,000 30,000 140,000

        Since medical facilities are more affordable in India, they pose a lower liability on the insurer and hence, medical insurance is available at a lower premium.

      5. Enjoy Hassle-free Claim Settlement

        Filing a health insurance claim with an India-based health insurance provider will be easier and hassle-free in case you fall sick during your visit to India. The process will be smoother and you will be easily able to avail cashless treatment facilities. However, the same may not be possible if you have a medical insurance policy from a foreign insurance company, as the process may be more time-consuming.

      6. Get an Advantage on Waiting Period

        If you are an NRI who plans to ultimately reside in India after a few years of staying abroad, then buying health insurance in India for NRIs is a good idea. Most health plans in India provide coverage after a waiting period, especially in the case of pre-existing diseases where the waiting period may vary from 2 to 4 years. By buying an NRI health insurance policy beforehand, you will get an advantage on waiting periods, as it will be over by the time you permanently shift to India.

      How to Buy Health Insurance for NRIs in India?

      NRIs can easily buy health insurance in India on just like the people residing in India. Here is the process to buy medical insurance for NRI in India online:

      Step 1: Visit and click on ‘health insurance’

      Step 2: Enter the requested details, such as your age, medical history and contact details

      Step 3: Select the health insurance plan for NRI that you want to buy

      Step 4: Pay the premium amount online

      Step 5: Submit the necessary documents, if any

      Step 6: Your NRI health insurance policy will be issued

      What are the Terms & Conditions Applicable to Health Insurance for NRI in India?

      While buying medical insurance for NRI in India, it is essential to go through the terms and conditions of the policy carefully. Check out the terms and conditions applicable to NRI health insurance in India:

      Geographical Limit

      Most NRI health insurance plans cover medical expenses incurred within India only. Even if they do offer overseas coverage, it is limited to emergency medical expenses and life-threatening conditions like critical illness treatment, etc. Moreover, it may have a high in-built co-payment and may be available for a higher premium.

      Therefore, it is essential to read the policy wordings carefully and find out the geographical limit of the policy before buying health insurance for NRI in India.

      Limited Coverage

      Health insurance providers in India usually offer a limited sum insured to NRIs. This is because NRIs are considered risky applicants, as they do not reside within India. This makes it difficult for insurers to determine their authenticity. As a result, they offer health insurance to NRIs with a limited sum insured and may not offer benefits like preventive health check-ups.

      Can NRIs Buy Health Insurance in India if they Already Have a Policy from a Foreign Insurer?


      An NRI can buy a health insurance policy in India even if they already have medical insurance from a foreign insurer in their country of residence. Whether they are covered under the health policy offered by their employer or have purchased it on their own, they can buy the best medical insurance in India for NRI.

      Can NRIs Buy Health Insurance for their Parents Living in India?


      NRIs can buy health insurance for their parents living in India. They can choose to buy individual health insurance or family health insurance for their parents as per their preference. In case their parents are above 60 years, they can buy a senior citizen health insurance policy and cover them against emergency and planned medical expenses.

      Can NRIs Save Tax on Health Insurance Purchased in India?


      An NRI can save tax on a health insurance policy purchased in India. Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961 allows non-resident Indians to claim tax deductions on the premium paid for buying health insurance for NRIs in India.

      As per the current tax slabs, NRI policyholders can save tax for up to Rs 50,000 in a financial year. The limit for tax deductions is Rs 25,000 for an individual and Rs 25,000 for parents. In case the NRI or his/her parent are above 60 years, the tax deductions limit increases to Rs 50,000. Thus, the NRI can earn tax deductions for up to Rs 1,00,000 if both the policyholder and the parent are above 60 years.


      Disclaimer: Policybazaar does not endorse, rate or recommend any particular insurer or insurance product offered by an insurer.

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