How to Ensure that Your Parents are Insured Right?
Updated 11 May 2020
Have you been looking for a Health Insurance for your parents lately? There is one thing that you must have observed till now if not anything that the Indian market is flooded with the options for a Health Insurance. There are plans made specifically for a target age group like the young people or senior citizens in their 50s or 60s or there are plans available in the market suited specifically for the super senior citizens i.e. elderly people above the age of eighty. There are plans available for entire family too covering the elder members too. So, with this large pool of choices available in market, one has to be well aware of the terminologies surrounding Health insurance in order to be able to compare health insurance plans from several companies.
Moreover, when the plans are being searched for your parents, the choice should be made with a bit more care in order to have a better coverage for your parents at the time when you need it. Even though, the choice for the senior citizen health insurance plans tends to be lesser but that does not mean that you will settle for whatever is available for you, after all, it is your parents we are talking about. So, let us come to the moot point for today’s discussion which many of you might have guessed till now.
Today, we are going to help you out in choosing the right health insurance plan for your parents by covering about various aspects related to health plans in detail. The information that will be given further in the article will help you to compare health insurance plans from different vendors and thereafter, you will be able to make an informed decision. So, let us started with the basics and we’ll roll down to the more complex terminologies as we’ll progress.
What is a Health Insurance and why should one bother about it?
In its most general form, a health insurance policy is a type of insurance which provides you cover for the medical expenses like the hospital bills, paying for the operations, regular checkups and treatment and medicines too.
With the definition out of the way, let us discuss why a health is important at all, what is its significance and what are the benefits that one enjoys after buying one.
Makes you Worry Free
See, it is no surprise that the medical expenses are not cheap by any means and not everyone can afford to pay for the best treatment and even if it is not about the best, the nominal medical charges are not too cheap either and this where a medical policy tends to help you out. When you have a health insurance policy at your back, you don’t need to worry about paying for a large hospital bill in case you need it, your health policy pays for it for you. In return you just got to pay the monthly premiums which are lot less in comparison to the medical charges. And since we are talking about your parents specifically here, then you would probably agree that medical treatment usually becomes a part of life as one age because normally, older you get, the more you become probable to suffer from certain diseases irrespective of how much healthy is your lifestyle.
Not only this, when you have to pay almost regularly for the medical expenses, your parents become a liability upon you and this takes a toll on the love and care they deserve in this phase of their life from you. So, when a health insurance policy covers for these expenses, then your parents become financially independent with respect to the healthcare. And not always you need a specific medical treatment, sometimes all what is needed is a regular checkup which is also covered for free under most of the health plans.
So, we can easily infer that a health policy for your parents in not only important for your parents but is also easy on pockets for you in the long run.
Types of Health Insurance policies
- Based upon the Number of People Insured : Broadly, there are two types of Health insurance policies classified upon the basis of the number of people insured by a single plan. They are Individual plans and Family floater plans. Details about both of them are mentioned below.
- Individual Health Insurance: As the name gives it away, an individual health insurance provides insurance only for a single person and all the benefits and medical coverage is provided for that single individual only. If a policy has a medical cover of Rs.5 lakhs, then all of the amount will be used only in the medical expenses of a single person only.
- Family Floater Health Plan: Family floater health plans on the other hand provides coverage for a group of people including even the aged parents and the type of coverage provided is decided by the age of eldest member of the family or the group. If a policy under this category provides a cover of Rs.5 lakhs, then this amount can be used for paying the medical expenses for all the members combined.
Although, an Individual plan may sound better because all the benefits are shared by only a single person but it comes with higher premiums too while the premiums for a family floater plan are lesser in comparison to the amount that would be paid if individual plan is bought for each of the member.
Based upon the coverage facilities
Depending upon the type of cover provided, the health plans can be classified as HMO, PPO, POS and more. Let us talk in detail about them below.
- HMO: Health Management Organization Plans: Under an HMO plan, one has to fix on a primary care physician who responsible to provide you all the free services. Specialists can be visited for free only in case your primary care physician makes a referral. It is most widely used health insurance plan.
- PPO: Preferred Provider Organization Plan: Under a PPO plan, the services offered to the insured person are under the company’s network without any referral. For the services outside of the network, there are annual deductibles offered.
- EPO: Exclusive Provider Organization Plan: Under an EPO plan, except the case of emergencies, no services are offered outside of the company’s network while the insured can access all the facilities available under the company’s network.
- POS: Point of Service Plans: A POS plan is a trade-off between an HMO plan and a PPO plan, where you have to assign a primary physician for free regular checkups but you can surely visit others too but you might have to pay in this case even after the usual copayments and deductibles.
Things to checkout to Compare the Health Insurance Plans
Under this section, we are going to discuss about the various terminologies that you come across when search for a health plan. We will also tell you how does each of the term affect the quality of a health plan, so that you can compare the health insurance plans in an informed manner and zero in on the right choice for your parents.
- Cover: This is the first terms that comes up whenever any type of insurance is the moot point of the discussion. Cover indicates the maximum amount for which the medical claims can be made during the entire period of the Insurance coverage.
- Premiums: Premiums are the monthly payments or installments that you make to the insurance provider in exchange to enjoy the benefits of the health insurance. a general trend is that more is the cover amount higher are the premiums.
Now, while you compare the health insurances from different vendors, don’t just look for the cheap premium, instead, look for the plan that offers maximum cover at minimal premiums. Moreover, you are buying the health plan for your parents, then, keep the premiums and the cover amount at lower priority because factors like the major illnesses covered or the pre-existing medical condition of your parents play major deciding role than the cover and premiums.
- Waiting Period for Pre-Existing Conditions: There is always a certain pre-specified waiting period before you can avail coverage for your pre-existing medical existing under any health plan. Obviously, better plans in this context will be the ones that have shorter waiting period for the pre-existing period. Also, this waiting period is also there for maternity claims.
- Major Critical Illnesses Covered: Major critical illnesses include examples like bypass surgery, body part transplant or Diabetes etc. See, any health insurance will not cover all of the major critical illnesses although many of them will cover most of them but not all. So, you should be very well aware of the exact medical condition of your parent and the diseases they can probably suffer from and along with this look for a plan that covers maximum of these critical illnesses.
- Renewal Age: Every health insurance has a maximum renewal age before which the policy duration can be renewed but not after this age. Most of the policies have this cap set around 80 years.
- Age Limit: Initially we mentioned that there are plans specifically for young people and there are some for the elderly parents too specifically. So, the crux here is that the plans that you shortlist should be the ones that provides the cover for your parent’s age too. In this context, you will be better off, if you go for a plan that is specially made for the senior citizen.
- Network Hospitals: Every health plan has a network of hospital at which you can get the medical treatments and claim the expenses. Larger the network better is the plan.
- Myths Regarding a Health Insurance Policy: There are quite a lot of myths that are popularly believed in. Under this section, we would bust through most of them and will tell you the truth. Let us get started:
- Coverage is Provided from the Day1: Except accidental coverage, no other form of medical coverage is available from the day of inception of your health insurance. and yes, the waiting period we mentioned earlier is different from this, even for the medical conditions that occur after the start of health insurance, there is a waiting period for a couple of days.
So, the truth is that no the coverage is not provided right from the day 1.
- Reimbursement is a Complex Process: A lot of people think that reimbursement is a very complex process and it takes forever to get the claim amount. Well, the process is not very complex to be true, you just have to submit all the medical reports and the medical bills to the insurer and the claim process completes after completing some formalities which include filling some forms.
- There are no Plans for very Old People: It has been mentioned multiple times here only that there are plans that are made specifically for the senior citizens in their 60s or 70s. there are plans for the super senior citizens too in their 80s.
Plans available online are not the same as ones available with agents
No, the plans are same no matter where you buy them from. It works simply like this, if you are informed enough that you can yourself search for a plan online then you can get cheaper deal online and if you are a noob in this regard, then you should better contact an agent to get a plan for you.
So, as we mentioned in the start, there is a plethora of options available in the market and you just have to be well informed about the health condition of your parents and about the health insurance themselves and you can easily get the best plan for your parents after you compare health insurance from all the companies. Even though, the information that was mentioned in this article was very general, we would recommend you to go through the terms and condition of the plan you zero in on thoroughly because you would not want to take any chance for the healthcare of your parents, Right?