Though it’s common knowledge that raising a child leads to an increase in expenses, have you considered the cost of pregnancy and labour? Have you set aside money for the birth of your baby? And did you know that you usually cannot claim for maternity benefit until after 2-6 years of buying the policy?
To ensure you are well prepared for a child and always have an affirmative answer to these questions, here are the top 5 things you must know about maternity benefit cover in India.
#1: What is covered under maternity benefit in India
The definition of maternity expense is a part of the IRDAI’s Circular on Standardised Definitions issued in 2013, so all insurers need to follow this uniform definition. It essentially includes any hospitalisation traceable to child birth, and also includes medical termination of pregnancy and pre/post-natal expenses. Maternity expense includes the following expenses:
#2: What is the waiting period and what are the sub-limits?
There is a waiting period of anywhere between 2 to 4 years before one is eligible to claim a maternity related claim, with some policies extending this up to 6 years, though this of course varies across insurers. Thus, it is essential to buy maternity cover as early as possible, even if you have no plans of having a baby anytime soon. The only notable exception to plans with such long waiting periods is Religare Health Insurance’s specialised maternity product JOY in which the waiting period is just 9 months. To know more about such plans, check out Features of New Age Health Insurance Plans.
There are specific exclusions applicable to the maternity benefit and some are reproduced below:
The major downside to these policies is the high premium. However, the reason these premiums are higher than that of a regular health insurance policy where there’s a high possibility you may not need the cover, maternity insurance covers an almost certain event, and can greatly help lessen its financial impact. For example, Religare’s Joy Rs. 5 lakh cover for an 18-35-year-old woman would be Rs. 27,039 per annum. However, Joy has a waiting period of just 9 months, which so far is the shortest in the industry! Hence, it is important to do a cost-benefit analysis of these plans before picking the one you want.
#5: Tips on buying a policy and planning this expense:
A steep rise in maternity expenses over the years is forcing couples to look for options to fund this expense and hence insurers highlight the maternity benefit feature in their health insurance policies. The couple purchasing these policies should fully understand the scope, exclusions and pricing of these policies and also create a separate medical fund to meet this requirement.
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