Women, especially after 40, are vulnerable to various health problems and critical illnesses. It is, therefore, fair that women have health insurance coverage to be assured of a financial backup if a medical contingency arises. Insurance companies have started catering to the sensitive health needs of this niche. Along with specially designed women-centric plans, some insurers also provide an inbuilt pregnancy related cover, although this inclusion is not too extensive.
Apart from assisting women in smart financial planning, these plans help them to secure their and their dependents’ futures. Women’s health insurance plans are customized insurance products offering them security against financial and medical uncertainties, catering to diverse needs at different life stages and planning for crucial goals - health, pregnancy, children’s education, long-term savings and investments, and retirement.
Until recently, women were covered by floater plans or as dependents by their spouse’s health insurance plan. However, with the increasing number of working women, they are being covered by employer group health insurance plans and individual health plans. It is important that while buying a ‘woman-centric’ policy, one takes a comprehensive coverage, including various women-related diseases and maternity benefits too.
Most women insurance plans focus on three kinds of insured, categorized by their financial status/earnings:
- Working women with a regular income source
- Women who earn via various interests, dividend, rent etc. (taxable incomes)
- Homemakers without fixed/regular income
Need for women’s insurance plans
Protection: A woman can assure her family’s financial security and independence in case of unfortunate events like an accident, permanent disability, or death.
Wealth creation: Long-term savings/investment plans build a sizable corpus that can be directed towards financial goals like starting one’s own business, buying a home, accumulating savings for family members – along with the dual benefit in terms of tax.
Children’s education: By investing in a Child Plan, women ensure a smooth higher education for their children and secure her child’s future even in her absence. The accumulated corpus is a result of smart financial planning, and can be used for higher education/professional courses in the future.
Protection against critical illnesses: These plans protect women financially in the event of critical illnesses and women-specific health problems like pregnancy or childbirth-related issues, breast, uterine, ovarian, cervical, fallopian tube, and other such types of cancer.
Economic stability: Women stay economically stable in case of spouse’s death/permanent disability.
Retirement: A retirement plan helps a woman to secure her future financially even if she is a homemaker without a fixed monthly income. Starting retirement planning early means lower premiums and a longer time to build a sizable retirement corpus, which comes to aid in old age.
Types of women’s insurance plans
Term Insurance Plans provide cover for the policyholder and guarantee a financially stable life to the family/dependents in case of unforeseen events.
Retirement Insurance/Pension Plans allow building sufficient corpus to fulfill one’s requirements during younger years. These plans ensure constant cash flow during retirement years, ensuring a person leads to an independent life even then.
Child Insurance Plans are one of the best ways to secure your child’s future. Buying these plans guarantee constant cash flow at important stages of a child’s life - higher education, marriage etc.
Health Insurance Plans are customized to cater specifically to women’s health requirements and they cover a broad range of critical illnesses. Women can also opt for personal accident and travel-related risk covers.
HDFC Life Smart Woman Plan
This life insurance policy ensures that a woman’s savings increase and she can pursue her career while continuing to support her family financially. It has options to cover specific events in a woman’s life like health, marriage, and career.
According to the woman’s risk appetite, she can pick from four funds - Income Fund, Balanced Fund, Blue chip Fund, and Opportunities Fund. The plan has three cover options - Classic, Premier, and Elite. The three benefit options are the diagnosis of cancer of female organs, pregnancy complications or giving birth to a child with congenital disorder(s), and death of the spouse (Elite). One has the flexibility to choose the sum assured and policy period (10/15 years).
TATA AIG Wellsurance Woman Policy
This policy is a combination of critical illness cover and hospitalization. It pays a lump sum if the policyholder is diagnosed with any of the 11 specified critical illnesses, including stroke, cancer, kidney failure, and heart attack. The policy provides coverage for cashless hospitalization in over 3,000 network hospitals across India, daily cash benefit in case of hospitalization, post hospitalization treatment, convalescence benefit, and accidental injuries that require reconstruction surgery. The policyholder can avail the tax benefit under Section 80D of Income Tax Act, 1961. Free health helpline, health check-ups, and discounts at various health and wellness centers are other value-added benefits.
Bajaj Allianz Women-Specific Critical Illness Insurance
This is one of the best health insurance plans, offering financial protection against critical illnesses specific to women, which include paralysis and cancer. The plan guarantees a specific sum to the insured if she is diagnosed with any one of the listed critical illnesses, and the insured also gets 50% of the sum insured in case of a congenital disability. The plan pays out a special sum to working women who lose their job three months after being diagnosed with a critical illness.
Assistant Vice-President, Health Insurance, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, Renuka Kanvinde, says, "Such treatments are lengthy and costly and consist of various lifestyle changes like giving up the job, ergonomic modifications at home, and so on. Hence, there is a need for a product specifically targeting this segment."
LIC Jeevan Bharati-I
This is a profit plan designed exclusively for working women. The special features are encashment of survival benefit when needed, flexibility to pay premiums in advance and to receive maturity proceeds as the annuity, and Auto Cover. The plan provides Accident Benefit, Critical Illness Benefit, and Congenital Disability Benefit as optional riders.
The minimum and maximum entry ages are 18 years and 55 years respectively. The maximum age at maturity is 70 years. The policy term could be 15 or 20 years, the minimum sum assured is Rs 50,000 and the maximum is Rs 2, 50,000.
Swayam Shakti Suraksha
Swayam Shakti Suraksha by Bajaj Allianz, an excellent insurance policy for women, supports over a million women across India, including rural areas through 18 states. It is one of the cheapest policies and its tenure extends to five years. A minimal amount of Rs. 500 is needed to start the policy.