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Should I buy individual policies or a family floater health insurance plan for my parents? Should I buy a specialised or a regular health plan for my parents? You must have asked yourself these questions several times before buying a policy. Given the number of options available in the market, it is not easy to pick a plan, specially when it involves our parents. Here are a few things one must keep in mind before buying a policy for senior citizens:
Individual policy or family floater plan
It is better to buy an individual policy as severity of claims is different for the elderly. You may end up paying a higher premium if you add your parents in your policy as premium for a family floater plan is based on the oldest family member in the policy. Some insurers offer value added services for senior citizens. For example, Bajaj Allianz has a separate cell that only caters to customers who are senior citizens.
Regular or specialised plan
Senior citizen plans are designed for those who did not buy an individual health insurance policy until they turned 61.Senior citizen plans are slightly restrictive in nature but come with copayment and sub-limits. It is always advisable to buy a regular health insurance policy early on in life. It turns out to be cheaper as well.
Difference in premium
Health insurance premium increases as you grow old. Hence it’s best to buy it at a young age.Experts say there could be a 40 per cent to 55 per cent difference in premium for a 55-year-old and 61-year-old man opting for a cover of Rs 5 lakh. For example: for a Rs 5 lakh cover, the premium would be in the range of Rs 13,000 to Rs 16,000 for a 55-year-old and between Rs 23,500 and Rs 25,000 for a 61-year-old.
Points to ponder
Sum insured Senior citizens should buy sufficient cover to protect against rising medical inflation. You should have a cover of at least Rs 5 lakh.
Waiting period Senior citizen health insurance plans have a certain waiting period for preexisting diseases. This may range from a year to four years.
Disease-wise capping Several plans come with capping on claims for angioplasty and cataract surgeries.
Copayment/Sub-limit: There are clauses like sublimit and copayment in health insurance plans. Check with your insurer. Copayment is the percentage of cost which you need to share with the insurers in the event of a claim. Sub-limit is the limit upto which your insurer will pay for certain expenses such as doctor’s fees, room rent, among other things.
Complete disclosure It is highly recommended to ensure that there is complete disclosure at the time of taking a policy.
Premium paid While availing such a plan, one must also take into account the year-on-year growth in premium.
"One must be aware of the rise in premium each year at the time of renewal of policy. This is important for people buying senior citizen policies as they need to manage their finances constantly."
Suresh Sugathan, Head, Health Insurance, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance
"Buying a health insurance cover early in life ensures that you finish the waiting period by the time you get old and you are able to avail full benefits of your plan."
Antony Jacob, CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance