When R Pranathi* started working, she bought the first medical insurance that she came across. Soon after, her father had to undergo surgery. But when she got to the hospital, much to her horror, she realised that the surgery was not covered under her policy.
“I was quite negligent while choosing my plan and got quickly swayed away,” she said. “I should have done my homework and assessed my needs before ensuring I picked a policy that best suited my needs. It was a lesson learned as I ended up paying a fat sum at the end of the surgery.
The moment my father was back to normal, I consulted a professional to get a good policy as I have two ailing parents. I feel a lot more at ease now.” With medical care becoming increasingly expensive and lifestyle diseases on the rise in the country, experts say that medical insurance is crucial. However, the jargons that come with policy documents can be extremely intimidating and is enough to leave anyone in a spin, all the more reason one should understand it before signing it.
Insurance is a way of protecting your financial interests. Anything of value can be insured. Health insurance provides for hospitalisation expenses and treatment costs. “Premiums are more affordable than paying for damages/replacement. Insurance companies calculate probabilities and absorb risk by insuring a large pool of people in exchange for premiums.
From this pool, only a handful would need compensation within the contract term. Essentially, this works out to be a win-win situation for both the insured and the insurance company,” said financial planners from iThought Financial Consulting. According to them, it is a “smart choice” to be insured. “Health complications, death and accidents may arrive without any notice. In the wise words of Benjamin Disraeli, it’s better to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. By paying premiums, with the right insurance products you can manage risk, be financially secured, and have peace of mind at a very affordable rate.”
There are two kinds of policies — individual health policy and a family floater policy. An individual health policy caters to a single individual. The insurance premium is computed while keeping in mind the individual’s age, medical history, current health condition and inherent health risks.
A family-floater policy is specially formulated to fulfil the health insurance needs of the entire family. It caters to the proposer, spouse, dependent parents and dependent children. When it comes to salaried employees, many companies provide them with medical insurance. However, an insurance provider of a well-known private firm, who did not wish to be named, warned that this was not adequate.
“Often, corporate medical insurance policies cover your family members including your spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents. Some cover even the parents-in-law but the coverage is very basic. However, it becomes invalid once you quit your organisation, or if the company does not renew the policy.
It is good to have your own medical insurance policy.” For entrepreneurs and self-employed people, it is critical to have a medical insurance policy in place for the entire family. Proper financial planning is key. Experts also highlighted the benefits of “starting young” and insuring oneself early on in life. This is especially important for young professionals who would be at their prime.