How to choose a good health insurance for seniors

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Careful selection of a health insurance policy for seniors is essential to make the overall experience worthwhile

Having health insurance for seniors is essential today. However, buying one is tricky because there are so many plans available in the market. A health insurance plan allows seniors to pursue necessary care without worrying about their savings and financial security.

“Due to the different plan options offered by different health insurance companies, choosing the best possible plan with comprehensive coverage can be daunting. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted our vulnerability to health emergencies. Elderly people being the most vulnerable group should be protected from such medical emergencies,” Ankit Agrawal, co-founder and CEO of InsuranceDekho, told FE Online.

However, health insurance for seniors is strongly recommended. Having a health insurance policy on the side at a crucial life stage not only provides financial security, but also offers mental support when you need it most.

Therefore, careful selection of a health insurance policy for senior citizens is essential to make the overall experience worthwhile. The terms and conditions of the policy should be read carefully to avoid confusion at the last moment and avoid inconvenience, Agrawal said.

According to Aatur Thakkar, co-founder and director of Alliance Insurance Broker, it is important to choose a policy that guarantees maximum coverage because treatments are very expensive these days. Always choose a policy that offers maximum coverage in terms of illness cover, including critical illness. Seniors should also check what the waiting period is for pre-existing conditions (the shorter the waiting period the better the policy).

Also, always choose a policy with the shortest waiting period because there is a higher risk of hospitalization in older people.

“There are different age criteria for buying a policy or renewing it and this varies from insurer to insurer. Some insurers do not allow the purchase of a policy if the insured is over 80 years old while some policies do not have a maximum entry age. Some policies allow renewal only up to age 80, while some policies do not have this limit. To avoid further surprises, one should be aware of these age criteria when purchasing a policy,” Aatur Thakkar told FE Online.

“Home care and childcare is also an important aspect. Always check with the insurer whether or not the policy they choose will take into account the cost of home care on doctor’s prescription. Seniors should notice that the claims process is easy. When purchasing a health insurance policy, it is advisable to look for an insurer that has an easy settlement procedure with both cashless and reimbursement facility,” he added.

Key points to consider

Ankit Agrawal shared some key things to consider when buying health insurance for the elderly:

Age limit: Many policies have an entry limit of 60 to 75 years. Extended coverage with an increased entry cap is ideal for seniors as it provides financial assistance for a longer period. Several health insurance funds offer policies with no age limit. Although the entry age is an aspect to consider, you should also consider the policy renewal age, as many health insurance policies for the elderly do not allow renewal after 80 years.

Network hospitals: Always choose a health insurance policy that can be accepted in a wide network of hospitals. Make sure to always check the list of network hospitals before purchasing a plan for seniors. The more hospitals there are in the network, the more likely there will be one near you, which will give you major support during medical emergencies.

Illness coverage: Since the elderly suffer from different types of illnesses, consider a policy that gives you adequate coverage against most illnesses. Opting for a health insurance policy with comprehensive coverage against a variety of illnesses will avoid inconvenience at the time of medical emergency.

Existing health issues: If the elderly in your family have an existing medical condition, look for a policy that provides coverage for the same condition. Remember to check along with the waiting period associated with illness. Go for a policy that has the shortest waiting period for the existing illness, as the chances of being hospitalized due to the same might be higher. It should be noted that pre-existing conditions must always be declared when purchasing the health insurance policy. Failure to declare pre-existing conditions may result in rejection of the claim.

Claims process: A simpler complaints process leads to a faster settlement of complaints. When it comes to choosing a health insurance policy for the elderly, this is an important factor to consider. So be sure to check out the claims process for the policy you are purchasing for the elderly in your family and make their health insurance claims experience smooth and hassle-free.

Premium: Health problems increase with age. Since the health risks are high in the case of the elderly, their medical treatment is also expensive. The cost of healthcare in India might not be exorbitant, but that shouldn’t be one of the reasons why you have to settle for a lower sum insured just to pay lower premiums. Some insurance policies offer the possibility of recharging the sum assured, which means that you can restore the sum assured in case you empty the existing amount during a given year. So be sure to choose a policy not because it has a low premium price, but because it offers you benefits beyond a low premium price.

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