Health Protection for 2015

A random search on the Internet would show that most of the New Year Resolutions revolve around two most important aspects of our lives – Health and Finance. Fair point! After all, life is worth living if you are in good health and have enough finances.

Well-being of self and family is the biggest concern for most of us. From elderly parents to newborn children, medication and hospitalization play a substantial role while ensuring the health of a family. While age related ailments are almost inevitable, even the young generation of today is not immune from health risks, notably the lifestyle related ailments. Children need extra care due to their weak immune systems and vulnerability to accidents. And with medical inflation estimated at 15% per annum, even simple medical procedures cost enough to disturb a family’s well calculated budget.

Amid such possibilities, it makes perfect sense to begin the Year 2015 with a Resolution to protect self and family against any health related troubles. Health Insurance Industry offers a range of products that provides financial protection in multiple ways to you and your family in the event of medical emergencies.

Individual Health Insurance: An individual Health Insurance policy is a separate insurance for an individual with defined cover. This insurance reimburses your medical expenses – to the extent of the sum insured – in the event of hospitalization. The policy duration is generally one or two years and the premium depend on the applicant’s age, medical history and Sum insured.

Family Floaters: A Family Floater is a Health Insurance policy that covers an entire family and in which the limit (the Sum Insured) can be utilized by any of member of the family individually. E.g. if a family of four wants to take a Health Insurance cover, depending on the ages of individual members, the Family Floater of Rs 8 lakh Sum Insured will be cheaper than the four individual policies of Rs 2 lakh each. Thus, a Family Floater plan also offers flexibility in terms of utilization of the overall insurance cover.

Personal Accident Insurance: A Personal Accident Insurance covers an individual against death or disability due to an accident. This policy offers a wide range of benefits like burns or fracture as well as accidents that result in hospitalization. There is no need to undergo any medical tests to avail it. Anyone from 18 to 65 years of age can avail it this. The best part is that a Personal Accident Insurance is easy on pocket, so one can easily afford it this. The cost of (HDFC ERGO’s) Personal Accident Insurance with a cover of Rs 15 lakh costs approximately Rs. 3,000 per year. And since the premium on Personal Accident Policy does not depend on age, it would be same whether you are 25-year old or 50-year old. Unlike other forms of insurance where coverage is available only within the country, the benefits of this policy can be availed even when abroad.

Critical Illness Insurance: Having Health Insurance takes care of your financial worries in the event of hospitalization.Imagine being diagnosed with a critical illness that requires specialized carewhile your regular Health Insurancereimburses only the medical expenses and does not take care of the long term expenditures like the recuperating costs incurred in cases of Cancer or Kidney Failure which take long time for recuperating. Also, the opportunity costs in terms of loss of income for an extended period of time can financially destabilize families. Critical Illness Insurance is the best way to deal with the financial burden of such situations. The best part is that a Critical Illness policy is not very expensive and provides a wide range of benefits.

Top-up Plans: Exhausting an entire Sum Insured in a single instance of hospitalization is quite possible as the ticket size of traditional Health Insurance policy has not kept pace with the medical inflation in the last few years. You have a couple of options if you feel your current Sum Insured will not be adequate to cover rising healthcare costs. The first one is to go for another policy that will add up to a sufficient amount. With your increased age and inflation, a new health plan for similar Sum Insured will cost you more than your original policy. You might also be required to undergo a medical examination to get the new policy. A better option in such situation is a Top-Up mediclaim policy, which is designed to supplement your primary Health Insurance cover at an affordable premium. The point to note here is an amount called as “threshold level” also known as “deductible” amount. This amount is the level above which the Top-Up can be utilized for paying the expenses. Deductible is a cost-sharing requirement under a Health Insurance policy. It is the amount over which the claim for each hospitalization is reimbursable.

While it is good to have a plain vanilla Health Insurance plan, the variants of Health Insurance plans offer benefits that provide you and your family an added layer of protection and a complete peace of mind. At the beginning of 2015, choose the right product that suits your unique requirements.

- Mr. Mukesh Kumar, Executive Director, HDFC ERGO General Insurance

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