Parents play a crucial part of our lives. They have always taken care of us, protected us and given us the satisfaction and assurance all through our lives. But as we grow and become mature our parents grow old too. It is now our duty to try and give back to them in a small way as with old age, health-related issues and compilations are inevitable (in most cases).
This is where a senior citizen health insurance policy comes handy. A health cover enables senior citizens to go ahead with the required treatment without punching a hole into their savings or future plans of the next generation.
However, before selecting a policy for one’s parents - there are a key points that one must note before buying a health insurance policy for their father.
1. Maximum sum assured: With new age treatments and emerging lifestyle diseases, treatment costs are skyrocketing; hence, it is important to choose a policy that guarantees maximum cover. Unlike before one can get coverage for senior citizens too from Rs 1lkah to up to Rs 25 lakh depending on one’s need. This will definitely be helpful in case of exceeding treatment procedures.
2. Coverage of pre-existence disease: A pre-existing disease is an ailment that one already has during the time of buying the policy. Due to the high risk of covering senior citizens, many insurance policies do not cover pre-existing diseases. This could prove disadvantageous in the long run for one’s father. Also, amongst the policies that cover pre-existing diseases, many have a long waiting period. So, it would be most beneficial to avail one that has a minimum waiting period along with coverage for preexisting disease to serve the full purpose.
3. No-mandatory health checkup: There are certain policies available that do not require a mandatory health check-up screening comes to the screening. This reduces the hassles of taking old parents or relatives’ man to a medical center.
4. Free look period: This is one of the important aspects that one must keep in while availing a policy. Free look period is a time during the inception of the policy- generally of about two weeks from the date of receipt of the policy to review the terms and conditions of the policy one is taking. Free look is similar return policy of any e-commerce portal that allows you to return the product if it does not suit your needs within a particular time frame. So in case you feel that the policy you have bought for your father doesn’t suit his needs you can return the policy without incurring any cost. Hence it is always advisable to avail a policy from an insurer that provides this service.
5. Cashless hospitalisation: Shelling out one’s savings on treatment does dig a hole in the pocket. This becomes even more cumbersome for a senior citizen as they do not have a steady income. So, while availing a policy for one’s parents one should look for a plan that enables cashless hospitalisation with maximum network of hospitals. However, in case one has to opt for a hospital out of the insurer’s network, make sure that the insurer also covers reimbursement in addition to the cashless option, thus paving the way for better treatment without worrying about costs.
6. Ease claim settlement: Availing claim is the primary reason for buying insurance. However going through multiple layers of processes makes it cumbersome for senior citizens. So it is advisable to look for an insurer that has simple settlement procedure that is just a call away and one with no third party involvement making the process simple and seamless.
7. Portability: This is a key element while choosing a policy for one’s father or any other senior citizen as the insured will retain all the accumulated benefits in a policy that is portable - if the insured wishes to change his policy to a different insurer after a while. Most policies are portable between 45 days to 60 days prior to the date of renewal of the current policy.
Keeping in mind the above-mentioned points while purchasing, a senior citizen health policy can be quiet beneficial for your parents.
The author is the Joint Managing Director, Star Health and Allied Insurance.