Nobody buys a health insurance plan thinking it would turn out to be a useless sheet of paper. However, there are a number of cases wherein health policies don’t work as per the expectations and result in a lot of mental agony for the policy holders.
First of all, let’s understand what constitutes a bad health insurance Plan:
1. Insufficient Sum Assured
If the cover bought is not in line with the rising medical costs, then at the time of emergencies the health plan will prove to be of no use and you will end up paying majority of amount from your own pocket.
2. Capping Limits
Certain policies put a limit on expenses to be incurred for getting adequate medical treatment. It can relate to room expenses in a hospital or expenses for a surgery. If the benefits of health insurance come with stringent limits, they cannot be considered as benefits. Its imperative to read the fine print before.
3. Waiting Period
If the health plan asks for a very long waiting period for certain diseases before you can claim for them, the whole purpose of medical insurance goes for a toss.
4. Pre-existing Diseases
The right plan should provide you with medical cover for pre-existing diseases, even if it costs a little bit extra. Without that a health policy will never work in your favour.
5. Pre-Post Hospitalisation Cover
Most health policies do provide these benefits, but some plans offer only a few days of coverage for such expenses in their bid to offer you lower premiums. This can prove costly to you.
6. Claim Settlement
If your insurance provider doesn’t have a good reputation when it comes to settling claims, then you’re in a soup.
If your policy suffers from any or all of such features, then you have to make a strategy to change your insurer or make necessary changes within the same plan to derive maximum benefits out of it. Here’s what you can do:
Health insurance in India has taken a leap with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) making the provision of portability a welcome reality for policy holders. If you’re not satisfied with your current insurer, you can switch to a different plan with a different insurance provider. All you have to do is inform your current insurer and prospective insurer at least 45 days before the date of renewal of your current policy about the change in plans. You can be assured of better benefits and higher sum assured depending on the prospective insurer’s processing of your application. A plus point about portability is that you can carry forward the waiting period of pre-existing diseases from old insurer to a new one provided you’re not taking a break while renewing the policy.
Buy Top Up/Super Top Up Plans
If you feel the current sum assured is not enough, you can go for either a top-up plan or a super top up plan on your existing policy. Let’s explain how each one works:
This is an additional cover over and above your existing sum assured with a health plan. For example, you have a sum assured of 3 lakhs with an existing policy and a top up cover of Rs. 10 lakhs with the deductible of Rs. 3 lakhs. Now in case of hospitalization claim in a year, if the total expenses are Rs. 5 lakhs, then Rs. 3 lakhs will be paid from your existing policy and remaining Rs. 2 lakhs will be paid using the top up cover. However, you can use this feature only once in a year and that too only after you have exhausted the existing policy benefits. In case you have a 2nd hospitalization claim in the same year of say Rs. 5 lakhs, the top-up will not come handy.
Taking the above-mentioned example, if you have a 2nd hospitalization claim of another Rs. 5 lakhs in the same year, super top up will provide you with the entire medical cover, thereby saving you from any financial hardships.
You can enjoy the benefits of health insurance by purchasing either of the plans depending on your existing sum assured and medical needs.
Increase Sum Assured at Renewal
You can also opt to increase the sum assured on your existing policy at the time of renewal by paying extra premium. However, it would depend on the insurance company to approve your request based on the company’s parameters.
If there are problems with your existing policy over and above the sum assured, it would be better that rather than renewing the policy, buy a new one that meets your requirements! Health policies have to help you financially as well as making it easy for you use them. If they don’t satisfy this parameter, it is better to try a new one.
One decision can go wrong, but you always have the option to correct it. Plan carefully when you buy health insurance in India and even if you make a mistake, you can do course correction at the time of renewal of the health plan. Read the policy document carefully.