I am planning to buy health insurance for my parents. Both are above 60 years of age. I have come across health insurance plans focused on diabetes/cardiac conditions. How are these plans different from normal plans? Are they expensive compared to normal plan? My father has diabetes but my mom does not have any issues now.


The pressing need for health insurance for the elderly cannot be overstated. It’s a responsible step that you are planning, to shield your parents against the unexpected blow of medical expenses, especially with a condition like diabetes. It is of utmost importance to choose a plan that casts a robust safety net for them, and also provides them with access to a wide range of medical services.

Coming to your question, your father has diabetes, which falls under a pre-existing disease category. If an individual has had a certain condition like diabetes or hypertension for 48 months or more, it is classified as PED (pre-existing disease).

Earlier, health insurance plans for senior citizens came with certain limitations, like waiting period or capping on coverage. However, now there are more comprehensive plans that provide adequate coverage for pre-existing diseases from Day 1. India has a severely high number of diabetics with over 100 million patients in the country at this point. It is now more crucial than ever to shield them with adequate coverage that factors in their condition and associated expenses too. You should go for a plan for your father that covers pre-existing diseases right from day 1.

While your mother doesn’t suffer from any such condition, you can still opt for a senior citizen plan for her to protect against any medical expenses even in the future. These new-age plans also cover OPD expenses as a rider, day-care treatments, pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses, and ambulance services. Some senior citizen policies even offer the valuable feature of cumulative bonus, in which a percentage of sum insured gets added to the coverage every year.

On top of this, some plans even offer no reduction of bonus on account of claim. This means that even if the policyholder makes a claim, this will not impact their bonus which will continue to get added to their coverage every policy year, as per terms and conditions. The plans now also offer higher flexibility of choice to senior citizens. They can choose the room type they want, they can also increase or reduce their co-payment or other voluntary deductions as per their premium paying capacity.

However, when selecting the plan, it is advisable to go for a high sum assured of at least ₹1 crore, especially in a metro city. Fortunately, these plans come with no restriction on coverage and the elderly can choose a high sum insured plan to cover themselves. This will protect them against expenditures caused by complications that may arise due to their condition. Just make sure that you disclose all the details to the insurer before purchasing the policy or the claim can later get rejected on the grounds of non-disclosure.

Also, before going for any policy for your parents, always compare the benefits and premiums and review the inclusions and exclusions of different policy providers online. This will be useful at the time of filing claims. 

The writer is Joint Group CEO, PB Fintech