In a growing economy like India, opportunities are plenty for the youth and it has never been so good. The choice of goods and services available is unprecedented. They are earning a lot and don’t hesitate in spending with open hands. Whether it is the latest gadget or a vacation to an exotic location, the youth wants to experience it all.
When it comes to managing their finances, they are much more informed than the previous generations. However, the inclusion of an indispensable financial tool that can secure them against the mounting healthcare expenses is often overlooked. Due to lack of awareness and misconception about health insurance most people even today don’t comprehend and recognise the benefits and financial security that a health insurance plan offers. There are several reasons for which youngsters must take health insurance at an early age.
- Hectic lifestyle: Corporate employees are falling prey to ailments such as strain injury, postural back pain, computer vision syndrome, osteoporosis, and stress induced conditions at a very young age. Corporate life means jet setting across the world, perhaps with little time to spare for oneself. The digital age has ensured people are connected to their offices all day and, sometimes, all night with the advent of smart phones, etc.; with this at the backdrop, medical emergency can strike at any time irrespective of one’s age, and impact an individual emotionally and financially. Youngsters are often unprepared for such emergencies and an unplanned hospitalisation can wipe out their entire savings. Therefore, health insurance should become an indispensable part of their financial planning exercise.
- Starting early brings many benefits: Although young people are not as susceptible to health problems as their older counterparts, it is always advisable for every individual to purchase an individual health insurance policy at a younger disease-free age to hedge against pre-existing diseases and to enjoy comprehensive insurance cover against all illnesses at a later stage. The ‘no claim’ benefit will reap gains for younger adults with health insurance covers, as they can enjoy benefits from every year they do not claim.
- Taking charge of finances: The notion that employer-provided health insurance is sufficient is a misconception. A corporate coverage, though attractive, doesn’t offer a complete long-term comprehensive solution. In most cases, the sum insured offered by employers is insufficient and employers can change or reduce the benefits as per their discretion. Hence, an additional top-up plan or an independent health insurance policy for self and family is essential. Individual plans also support one in situations like job change or choosing entrepreneurship.
- Investment, not an expense: A deterrent to buy health insurance is the premium amount, which one has to pay each year. Most youngsters see insurance premium as an 'expense'. However, instead of seeing it as an expense, it must be viewed as an investment in your future life. Lifestyle diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are on the rise affecting more and more youngsters. This further leads to ailments like kidney disease, heart-related disorder and even stroke. Therefore, at a younger age, you can take a health plan with a lower premium rate. Remember, the greater the age, higher the premium and fewer the options.
Therefore, my advice in the era of rising healthcare expenditure – secure your finances and savings by procuring health insurance plan at an early age which is vital to your future life. The earlier you buy health insurance, the better will be the benefits.
Choosing the right health insurance
- Ensure that your health insurance policy has no claims based premium loading, no sub-limits and should offer lifelong cover
- Sum insured of your policy should be at least Rs 5 Lakh
- To avoid any rejections at the time of claim, fill the policy document yourself and read all exclusions
- Avoid choosing the lowest priced policy, as it won’t be the best in terms of coverage, inclusions and benefits
CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance