Reasons to give your dad an individual health insurance policy, this Father’s Day, Health News, ET HealthWorld

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By Amit Chhabra

Regardless of his age, for a child, a father is always his superhero. They go the extra mile to protect their children every step of the way and achieve their long and short term goals. However, in the ups and downs of life, they often tend to neglect their own well-being and self-protection. One of those crucial aspects of their life, especially as they get older, is investing in a reliable health insurance plan.

Amid the fluctuating COVID-19 graph scenario, increased likelihood of age-related illnesses, and rising medical inflation, it’s time to give your dad a solid health plan for the holiday some fathers. But if you are worried that due to his age it will be difficult to find him a suitable health insurance plan and that it is better to integrate him into the floating family, then there is good news for you. Fortunately, the Indian insurance market offers several options for the elderly and even those with pre-existing conditions. So, as Father’s Day approaches, here’s a handbook on reasons to donate your father an individual health insurance plan.

• Group health insurance is inadequate

Most people rely solely on their group health coverage to meet medical expenses arising from a claim. However, in reality, the average sum insured in these policies ranges from Rs 3 to Rs 5 lakhs, which is not enough amid rising inflation and these uncertain circumstances, especially for the elderly. As age progresses, certain restrictions may also come into play. So, by arranging dedicated individual health insurance well in advance, you can ensure your father’s well-being against various medical issues that could affect him in a near future. If you think of a higher premium, correlate it to the likely medical expenses you might incur in the absence of such a policy.

• Pre-existing health cover

Today’s lifestyle, alarming levels of pollution and age-related illnesses have increased the likelihood that people will inevitably experience some form of health problem. Therefore, when shopping for a health insurance plan for your father, keep in mind that he may have pre-existing medical conditions. Thus, try to opt for a plan with the shortest waiting period; generally, it varies between two and four years. Some plans may also have a shorter waiting period.

Also look for plans where a pre-insurance medical exam is not required. For example, Star Health’s Elderly Red Carpet Health Insurance Scheme is for people aged between 60 and 75 years, with the minimum sum insured being Rs 1 lakh and a maximum of Rs 25 lakh. In addition, it has an attractive co-payment clause of 50% for pre-existing conditions and does not require a prior medical test.

• Sum insured

The sum insured is the key element of any health insurance policy. To assign, this amount is what the insurer will reimburse you against expenses incurred for medical care during a policy year. Any amount exceeding the sum insured will have to be paid out of pocket, so remember to opt for sufficient cover, especially in metropolitan areas. You can consider a senior health insurance plan with a high sum insured of Rs 25 lakhs to Rs 30 lakhs, depending on the limit, and opt for a top-up accordingly in case the policy runs out for a year.

• Fiscal advantages

The health insurance premium paid for the medical insurance policy taken out for the parents is eligible for tax exemption under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act 1961. For example, you can claim a maximum deduction of Rs 25,000 per year for yourself and your family when buying a health insurance policy. However, if you subscribe and pay the health insurance premium for your father who is under the age of 60, your eligibility for a claim will extend to an additional deduction of Rs 50,000. In case he is over 60 , you can claim up to Rs 75,000. The government, in addition to this, also offers a discount of Rs 5,000 on medical check-up expenses for the whole family.

Along with the benefits of getting individual health insurance for your elderly father, here are three things to think about before making your decision:

• Age – This is essential because a policy must protect him from pre-existing medical conditions and health problems. So, opt for a health plan with higher coverage. But, you may have to pay a higher premium depending on your age; it increases with each year that a person ages.
• Medical background – Old age accompanies comorbidities. Therefore, it is essential to inform the insurer of existing illnesses and to be informed of the conditions covered by the insurer. This way, you will be able to calculate a sufficient dividend.
• Geographical location – Costs for medical treatment vary by location. Your father’s coverage requirements would be higher if he lives in a metropolitan city than if he resides in Tier I, II, or III cities.

In conclusion, you can’t protect your dad from possible medical conditions, but you can certainly protect him by offering him comprehensive and tailor-made health insurance that will protect him from astronomical medical expenses. Additionally, these plans offer valuable perks such as annual health checkups, cashless treatment, hospital networks, and more. So research and compare policies online before buying a reliable health plan that will cover your needs. Also find out about exclusions, such as illnesses diagnosed within 30 days of policy purchase, any treatment other than allopathy, cosmetic surgery, dental procedure, etc.

By Amit Chhabra, Head of Health and Travel Insurance, Policybazaar.com

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are solely those of the author and ETHealthworld does not necessarily endorse them. ETHealthworld.com shall not be liable for any damage caused to any person/organization directly or indirectly.)

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