Often it boggles our minds why insurance companies are least bothered about offering health coverage to senior citizen. Logically, at this point of time, people need more health attention and frequent medical visits and quality healthcare can be expensive. A retired person may not be able to afford the sky-high medical expenses or end up spending his/her life-savings in paying the bills.
But many of us often skip the insurance wagon the moment we start earning; a few are there who don’t realise the importance until it is too late. The reason is that they only rely on the health coverage offered by their respective employers.
They completely ignore to insure themselves under individual health insurance thinking that whatever coverage is offered under the group health insurance will suffice their needs. Let’s face it! You wouldn’t be covered under employer’s benefit scheme once you leave the organisation or retire. No matter the amount you’ve accumulated in your pension fund, any serious medical emergency can wipe it off easily. Hence, it is essential to have senior citizen health insurance plans to live your golden years worry-free.
It’s better late than never. Luckily, many insurance companies have introduced affordable and trustworthy health insurance plans. But how do you choose the best insurance cover among them?
Thankfully, many insurance providers are coming forward with reliable and affordable senior citizen health insurance plans. But, how do you know which one to choose?
We recommend certain pointers that need to be considered at the time you purchase a senior citizen health insurance plan for yourself or your parents. Let’s have a look-
Tip 1: Maximum Entry Level
At the time of buying a plan or settling for the insurance premium, always consider the entry level. It’s better you choose the maximum entry-level age. Mostly, insurers offer entry until the age of 70 years. But there are, obviously, some insurance companies that allow entry at a late age as well. The best option is to side with those insurers that offer entry up to the age of 80 or more.
Tip 2: Wide Hospital Network
Look for the plan that offers maximum network hospital options. There are insurers with minimal hospitals in their networks. It may not be convenient for senior citizens to travel a long way to avail medical services. Make sure the hospitals are within your reach. Also, keep the list of network-hospitals and their contact details handy.
Tip 3: Co-Payment
Insurance service providers have come up with an option of ‘co-payment clause’. As per this clause, the policyholder has to pay a portion of the total claim amount. Whether it is 5% or 15%, the pay-out amount can be decided on the basis of the total amount of medical expenses. Prefer going for the plan with no co-payment clause.
Tip 4: Pre-existing Illnesses
When it comes to covering pre-existing illness, many insurers have their own criteria and waiting period. Without serving the waiting period, the insured can’t file a claim.
In case of a senior citizen, possibilities are that most of the illnesses developed prior to buying the plan. This means that only after serving the waiting period can the insured claim the insurance. When you can’t do anything about this, make sure you choose a plan with the minimum waiting period. The shorter the waiting period, the lesser are the chances of your claim getting rejected.
Tip 5: Wide Health Coverage
Different companies come up with different coverage. While some provide coverage for diseases like hypertension, Cardiac issues, diabetes etc., the others may offer coverage for various critical illnesses like Cancer, Kidney transplant, Stroke etc. Opt for a health insurance plan that is willing to cover you extensively. You also want to think about whether you might need in home or assisted living facilities like Assured Assisted Living at some point. The cost of that kind of care can be very costly and there is no point of having a plan with insufficient coverage.
Tip 6: Premium Rates
There is a fuss about senior citizen plans being highly priced. The only logical explanation can be that senior citizens are more likely to claim insurance due to their health conditions; while a young person, usually, is healthier and may not require claiming his/her insurance. Hence, insurers put a high premium on senior citizen health insurance owing to the risk factor associated with it. So, it is better to search for a plan with a higher premium but a wide range of coverage that suffices your need.
Moreover, your lifestyle may influence your insurance premium. Let’s say, you have a tendency to smoke and you drink quite often. Keeping this in mind, there are chances that your insurer will fix a high premium. Sometimes, the insurer may take a look at your family background to get a clear idea about whether any illness is hereditary or not.
Tip 7: Sum Insured
Once you retire, you keep a check on your expenses. Also, there are limited sources of finance. This, probably, makes a senior citizen opt for health insurance: to assure financial assistance during an emergency. But, sometimes, the premium you paid is not worth the offered coverage. So, it is essential that you decide the sum insured carefully.
Before coming to any conclusion, analyse your needs and make sure that the insurance you are offered is worth the premium you pay.
Tip 8: Compare Plans
This can work wonders! Online comparison of these plans can help you land a fair deal. Without comparing plans, how can you know what is offered by other insurers? You can compare the plans on basis of parameters like coverage, features, claim settlement process, premium etc.
To make it easier, you can ask your insurance advisor to do it for you. He/ She will guide you through the process of comparing senior citizen health insurance plans. This way you can buy an informed plan that suits your needs.
Choosing right health insurance can be tricky but when you are planning to buy a plan for you or an elderly member of your family, it makes sense to analyse every clause thoroughly. You should consider pros and cons equally and consider the extent to which the insurer is going to protect the senior citizen.
Every insurer claims to offer the best service, but, in reality, only a few actually live up to their promises. So, if you’re also thinking to buy senior citizen health insurance, then, take your time, do own research, and go for it!