India is a diverse country, with different people demanding different outcomes from the same product. The insurance landscape is constantly transforming to cater to these evolving demands. The health insurance industry, which traditionally followed a standard approach to products, is also reinventing itself by innovating as per dynamic consumer needs. Keeping customer-centricity as the focal point, health insurance companies are now designing flexible modular products that allow policyholders to financially secure themselves against towering medical inflation.
These new-age modular health insurance plans give insurers the freedom to devise their products according to personalised needs.
This is especially valuable when policyholders may not need or want a traditional plan; rather, they want to go for customised offerings that a single plan can incorporate. The flexible approach also enables policyholders to make their premium more cost-effective.
Read also: Health insurance policy: Focus on essentials
With rising healthcare costs, the importance of high sum insured cannot be emphasised upon enough. It is always advisable to go for a plan that at least offers ₹50 lakh to ₹1 crore coverage.
There are also plans that come with coverage as high as ₹5 crore and provide the policyholder with an additional 30 per cent of the sum insured on this high coverage. This makes sure that you are always covered, no matter the medical emergency.
Cutting waiting period
This is a stellar feature for senior citizens, as waiting period often comes as a pain point when they need medical attention. For instance, the waiting period of 3-4 years in a policy can now be brought down to 1-2 years or less in certain policies. In addition, some plans also reduce the waiting period for specific illnesses like diabetes and hypertension by covering them from day one.
This is an enhanced version of the no-claims bonus. While under NCB, one gets rewarded with a discount for not making any claims during the policy year, in cumulative bonus, a certain percentage of the sum insured gets added to your cover every year even if you make a claim. In some plans, the bonus goes as high as 50% to even 100% every year at a reasonable cost. Also, a few plans even offer 5x, 6x or up to 10x of the base sum insured. Customers can choose any option and make their coverage as high as they want.
There are critical illnesses that may require advanced treatment overseas. In this case, global health insurance comes to your rescue where you are not bound by geographical boundaries or expenses and opt for the best course of treatment. These plans cover both emergency treatments as well as planned hospitalisations.
OPD or out-patient department expenses make up about 70% of healthcare expenses in India. Fortunately, OPD as a category has started getting more traction in India in the past few years. The insurance industry has evolved to make OPD coverage more accessible through health insurance plans. Not everyone needs only large hospitalisation bills covered. So now, one no longer needs to be hospitalised in order to make a claim. Expenses like doctor consultations, tests, etc., are also covered by your insurance plan.
Consumables refer to single-use products like PPE kits, syringes, masks, gloves, needles, sanitisers etc., that saw a significant rise in usage after the pandemic. However, earlier there was no mechanism in health insurance to cover these costs. In case one lands up in prolonged hospitalisation, these items would considerably add up to the bill. Now, the plans come with a consumables cover that you can opt for and get compensated for these costs.
How to lower premium
Just as you can add features to enhance your protection shield, you can also remove features to lower your premium.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle not only rewards your body, but also your wallet. By keeping medical issues at bay, you help keep the cumulative risks low for the insurance company and therefore, are eligible for up to 100% discount on renewal, depending on terms and conditions that vary from plan to plan.
Early bird advantage
When it comes to insurance, it is often said that the best time to buy was yesterday. However, even if you missed yesterday, there’s always today. By buying at a younger age, you escape the chance of many critical illnesses and therefore, qualify for a lower premium. Also, if you renew your plan under 35, you can get a discount on premium.
Policyholders can benefit from tax deductions under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961, for the premium paid towards health insurance and preventive health check-ups.
You have the flexibility to lower your premium in these plans through multiple ways.
You can change your room rent limit, or you can opt for deductible or voluntary co-payment. If you want to escape the hassle of renewing every year, you could just opt for a multi-year policy and save up on premium by locking your rate today.
(The writer is Business Head, Health Insurance, Policybazaar.com)