Why should one Get Health Insurance while they are Young?
Health insurance as most experts agree is a mandatory mediclaim insurance plan that everyone should have, irrespective of their age. While the government of India has not made it a mandatory cover (like Motor Third Part insurance), it is strongly recommended that every adult has their own health insurance coverage. Health insurance is also an investment best made when you are young. There are several reasons why you should buy India medical insurance plan at a young age:
Lower premium Premium rates of best health insurance policies in India are dependent on the age of the individual and hence are much lower when at a younger age.
Waiting Periods Most top health insurance plans in India come with waiting periods of different durations for different ailments that vary between 30 days to 48 months…Given this scenario, one can assume that to experience the complete coverage of the policy, the insured will have to go through the mandatory waiting period without fail. It is hence recommended that when purchasing the policy at a younger age will allow the insured to go through the waiting period at a healthier stage in their live that when their age advances.
Rise of lifestyle diseases among the youth With pollution levels on the rise and increasing sedentary lifestyles among the younger generation, many of them are getting predispositioned to lifestyle illnesses like obesity, respiratory and heart diseases. Given this, it is important that they protect themselves from an early age against any unforeseen expenses arising out of a medical emergency, for which they would otherwise have to pay from their pocket.
Your employer-provided health insurance coverage may not be enough Most youngsters today are employed and their employers provide them health cover for themselves and immediate family. But however it is not ideal to solely rely on the health cover provided by your employer, since they may provide a basic coverage with a lower than required sum insured coverage and one can be exposed to the risk of medical emergencies at the time of switching jobs. Many popular health insurance in India offer add ons like Critical Illness, Accidental Disability etc as well as OPD treatments, which group insurance may not cover.
Tax savings health insurnace Health insurance is one of the best tax-saving instruments as it not only helps in saving tax but also safeguards one’s precious health at the time of a medical emergency. The earlier you invest in health insurance, the more tax you can save!
Why Does an Individual need Health Insurance in India?
Health insurance in India is a growing segment of India's economy. The Indian health system is one of the largest in the world, with the number of people it concerns: nearly 1.3 billion potential beneficiaries. The health industry in India has rapidly become one of the most important sectors in the country in terms of income and job creation. In 2018, one hundred million Indian households do not benefit from health coverage, not necessarily health insurance. In 2011, 3.9% of India's gross domestic product (GDP) was spent in the health sector. According to the World Health Organization, this is among the lowest of the BRICS economies. Out of this 3.9%, health insurance accounts for 5-10% of expenditure, employers account for around 9% while personal expenditure (medical expenses paid from hard earned savings) amounts to an astounding 82%. In the year 2016, the NSSO released the report “Key Indicators of Social Consumption in India: Health” based on its 71st round of surveys. The survey carried out in the year 2014 found out that, more than 80% of Indians are not covered under any health insurance plan, and only 18% of the urban population and 14% of the rural population was covered under any form of health insurance. In the past 3-4 years, this % has increased marginally and hence this segment remains on of the most under penetrated, one reason being that health insurance is not a mandatory product for any individual.
So now, more than ever should Health insurance be the mantra of the day…it is for insurance company, insurance intermediaries and customers to appreciate the critical need for every individual to be covered by some sort of good health insurance in India.
Increase in the incidence of lifestyle-related illnesses
Thanks to advancement in medicines, life expectancy has increased, with the average man across the world likely to till around 84 years of age by the year 2040. But a sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, increasing pollution and high stress levels are the growing norm day by day giving rise to chronic diseases like cancer, lung conditions and stroke, claiming younger lives. Health insurance mitigates the financial risk that may befall a person who is diagnosed with a lifestyle disease.
Increase in out-of-pocket expenses With the healthcare industry in India witnessing double-digit inflation, it is getting extremely expensive to treat ailments in India both for regular medical as well as specialised medical conditions. As mentioned earlier, 82% of all medical expenses are paid by individuals from their pocket (read savings). As a result, this puts a dent in an individual’s pocket. Buying best health insurance in India can double up as an emergency financial fund while preparing you for medical emergencies.
Your group health cover may not be sufficient First and foremost, group health insurance plans may or may not cover all family members. Also group employer plans, rarely have sufficient coverage to meet medical expenses incurred in many cases. In the event of switching jobs or remain unemployed, an individual an remain exposed to financial risks from medical exigencies. Hence it is advisable for individuals to opt for a personal health insurance plan as well, over and above the group cover.
Health insurance coverage is more than just hospitalization Many popular health insurance plans in India nowadays give coverage for day care procedures and OPD, cover for pre and post-hospitalisation, as well as doctor consultations, tests and medicines which are incurred during this period. There are also health plans that cover vector-borne diseases like dengue. Domiciliary treatments, Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) are also covered by the best health insurance plans in India.
Why should every individual compulsorily have good health insurance?
As I write this article, we are in the middle of the Corona virus pandemic that has engulfed the entire world. Given the happenings around us, affordable health insurance has become a buzz word across the board, with most people without a health insurance policy, actively scouting for the best insurance plans in the market. But let’s look at some of the important reasons as to why every individual concerned about their physical and financial health should necessarily go in for health insurance:
Use Savings for what they are meant for
When people are young, most believe that they are in good health and hence need not invest in a good health insurance in India. They believe they can use the premium money on more materialistic things rather than pay the same towards a health insurance policy. However at the time of a medical emergency, people end up paying for medical treatment with their savings rather than through Cashless health insurance. Data suggests that 82% of all medical treatment expenses in India are paid through savings, which is not an ideal scenario at all. So one should invest in a good health insurance policy rather than paying for medical expenses from one’s pocket…Savings should be used for investing in a home, education etc.
While India has seen much advancement in science and technology especially pertaining in the health industry, that ensured better medical care, the cost of such treatments has also gone also increased exponentially With an annual double digit growth in the cost of medical care, a health insurance plan comes in handy to partially address this medical inflation. There are insurance plans in the market which offer an additional sum insured (as a no claim bonus) after a claims free year, which ensures proper medical care despite the increased cost. The insured ends up paying the same premium for an increased cover at the time of renewal of the policy.
Not everyone retains a high bank balance or cash at home for facing unforeseen medical emergencies. Hence having Health insurance helps one protect themselves from having to pay for treatment arising out of a sickness/accident and allows the health insurance policy to take over. The added advantage is while seeking treatment at a network hospital, the insured can opt for a cashless facility time to ensure the financial impact to the insured is only the policy deductibles/co-pay. Even if one gets treated at a non network hospital, they can seek a reimbursement on submitting the bills/hospital documents. This is how health insurance acts as a Financial Support during emergencies.
Comprehensive health insurance plans offer almost Complete coverage
There are many insurance plans today which offer comprehensive cashless health insurance coverage for the insured. While there are waiting periods for different ailments, including pre-existing conditions, once these periods are completed, the coverage is as comprehensive as ever. Apart from routine covers, plans also offer pre and post hospitalisation coverage, covers for traditional treatments like AYUSH etc. Apart from this, there are add-ons or riders that one can purchase by paying additional premium like Maternity, Critical Illness, Accidental Dismemberment & Disability etc
Health insurance policies not only support the insured at the time of hospitalization, but also help during the entire duration of the policy through coverage features like free medical check-ups, wellness solutions that include medical counselling, engage through chats with medical experts and doctors and discounts across wellness stores. Most people are inclined to get counselling when they know they don't have to bear the expenses. Customer can then redeem their earned points (for using these services) and avail the discount in the premium at the time of renewal. The intention is to focus on prevention of claims rather than paying the claims later during the policy period, hoping that a health focussed customers will not necessarily have claims.