Why is Personal Health Insurance Important?
Sudden illness or injury requiring medical attention can happen anytime and anywhere. Considering the rising health care costs, there is a possibility of medical emergencies draining your savings. Thus, to protect your savings from such unforeseen situations, having an adequate health insurance policy is a must today. To manage such medical emergencies, many organizations offer corporate or group health insurance to their employees. However, in spite of having a group health plan, you should consider getting personal health insurance because of the various benefits associated with it.
What is Health Insurance?
Let us first understand what is health insurance in order to understand the topic better. On buying a health insurance policy, the insurance company or insurer gives financial coverage to the policyholder. This means that the insurer pays most of the hospital and medical expenses incurred, as per the type of the health plan chosen. It is also useful for meeting costly treatment expenses related to critical illness like heart attack and cancer. In lieu of this protection, you have to pay a certain amount of money or premium to the company on a monthly or yearly basis.
When a health plan is taken for the entire family also called a family floater plan, dependent children – up to the age of 25 years or unmarried – are included in the policy. However, once you start earning, you need to look at a new plan for yourself. Let us take a look at some points that make a personal health insurance a must.
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Group Insurance Coverage Might Not be Adequate
Health insurance is a safety net wherein, the insurance company assures you to pay your hospitalisation and other medical expenses for which you pay the premium to the company.
In case of group health insurance, your employer or office pays the premium amount to the insurance company for the coverage offered on behalf of you. However, there is a possibility that the coverage provided is not adequate for you and your family, considering that the office would not be aware of everyone’s medical needs. So, analyse your requirement and the group health plan in terms of the coverage offered for you and your family; and compare it to other health insurance plans available in the market to take an informed decision. Opt for an affordable plan with good coverage so that premium payment does not get difficult later. And if needed, opt for a personal health insurance plan that suits everyone’s needs in your family.
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Change in Job could Affect Group Health Plan
A job change would mean losing the health plan benefits provided by that particular organization. With every change in job, there would be a change in the group health insurance plan. And it’s not necessary that your new plan would offer coverage to fit your family’s health requirements.
Another point to be noted is the loss of a job. Lately, the Covid-19 pandemic has triggered many job losses in India. In such a scenario, you might end up not having any health insurance plan, if you do not possess personal health insurance. In case any health emergency arises during this phase, you might be burdened with treatment expenses that can cause a dent in your savings. And you can’t ignore the fear and anxiety associated with such situations. This is when a personal health insurance plan makes a difference by providing the requisite coverage and peace of mind.
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Group Health Insurance might End with Retirement
Retirement from office is another phase of life for salaried people that also brings an end to any group health plan offered by the employers. In the absence of a personal health insurance plan, any medical emergency might invite a financial burden. To avoid such conditions, an early health insurance plan, be it an individual or a family floater, is a must because health plans for senior citizens are quite expensive. In certain situations, there is also a possibility for the older people being denied any fresh medical plans because of their increased health risks.
Thus, getting the right health insurance policy is a big financial decision to protect yourself and your family. Make sure to get an affordable plan with adequate coverage by understanding your requirement well and comparing the health insurance plans available in the market.
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Q. Does the health insurance cover pre-existing illnesses?
For every insurer, the coverage for a pre-existing illness starts after a certain period from the start of the policy, also called the waiting period. Check when the coverage for the illness starts or is it eliminated altogether. Group health plans usually do not have waiting periods.
Q. What are network hospitals?
Network hospitals are those that are on the panel of your insurance company. The patient can get admitted to a network hospital to avail cashless treatment. In such a case, the insurance company pays for the hospitalisation or surgery expenses.
Q. What are the 5 health insurance companies on the basis of market share?
The top 5 health insurers on the basis of market share are Star Health, HDFC Ergo, ICICI Lombard, Care Health and Bajaj Allianz.
Q. Do we get any tax benefit on the premium paid for health insurance?
Yes, according to Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, the policyholder can avail tax benefits on the health insurance premium.
Q. What is no-claim bonus?
No-Claim bonus is a benefit given to the insurer for not making any claims during a financial year. The discount ranges from 5% to 50%.
Q. Should I get health insurance early?
Once college students graduate and get a job, it is advisable to avail a health plan at an early age because premium amount increases with age.