Things to consider while buying health insurance for your parents

To provide the best possible healthcare facilities to your parents, this article will cover how you can ensure there is no shortfall of funds when the time comes

Things to consider while buying health insurance for your parents

Health insurance policies are true financial saviours at the time of old age. With increasing age, the need for medical treatment also increases. Medical expenses are on the rise and that’s the reason you need to choose the best health insurance policy for parents to cover all possible expenses. 

Health insurance policies are structured by insurance companies in a way that young buyers get higher benefits and greater inclusions at lower premiums. This is obviously not an option while choosing health insurance for your parents. Choosing health insurance for older individuals has completely different considerations that must be kept in mind. So here are the things to consider while buying health insurance for your elderly parents.

1. Age limit covered under the policy

Different insurance companies offer coverage up to a certain age. Some even offer lifetime renewability of the insurance. You could opt for a health insurance policy for parents that has an entry age of 60 years or more so that the renewability age would go up as well. 

With better medical treatments, average life spans have increased tremendously. However, this also means having health coverage for a much higher time period. A health insurance policy that gives guaranteed renewability at any age is a good investment even at a higher premium rate.

Since IRDA guidelines mandate insurance companies to provide senior citizen health insurance policies until 65 years of age, you can find a good number of options to choose from.

Related: Is family floater insurance plan enough to protect your loved ones?

2. Pre-existing illnesses and diseases covered

The pre-existing illnesses clause comes into play especially while purchasing medical insurance for your parents. These illnesses could be blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid or some other health problems. 

Pre-existing illnesses doesn't mean only proven illnesses but also recurring symptoms that may not be diagnosed as yet. The policy you choose should only be after full disclosure of all medical conditions. You should pay special attention to the diseases covered under the policy so that you do not encounter any problems in the future.

3. Waiting period and hospital network

In all new policies, there is a waiting period. Most insurance companies provide a coverage for pre-existing diseases only after a waiting period of four years.

Consider network hospitals as well. While choosing the policy, one must take into consideration the distance from the hospitals and the specialised treatments offered at the hospitals. Also, check for a cashless facility at the network hospitals. 

Related: Lesser known features of health plans that you should take advantage of

4. Co-payment clauses

Insurance providers will most often have co-payment clauses, especially in a senior citizen insurance policy. A co-payment clause states that the insured person will contribute a certain amount towards the treatment expenses before the insurance company starts making a payout. The co-payment option again differs from one insurer to another and can range from 5% to 50% depending on the insurance plan and the health of the policyholder. A high co-payment amount would mean that your parents or you would end up paying a lot before you can make the claim on insurance. So it’s important to check co-payment clauses well before you purchase a health insurance policy for your parents.

Related: 5 New-age features of health insurance plan

Other points to consider

Coverage of amount incurred for daycare expenses: This includes coverage for treatments that don't require a night stay in the hospital. This could be for dialysis, chemotherapy, small surgeries etc. 

The claim settlement ratio of the insurer is important: This indicates the rate of payouts made towards the claims received. A higher payout ratio means that when you are making a claim, the odds of you receiving the claim amount are also high.The industry average stands at about 85%, so consider an insurance company that has a better track record.

The sum insured that you look for should consider an amount of 8-10%: When checking for an insurance cover for your parents, make sure that the sum insured should consider an amount of 8-10% towards inflation and increase in costs. 

If you come across a policy with a surprisingly cheap premium, make sure you look into all of the above points. It shouldn’t be that you’re saving on some amount as premium, but ultimately the policy doesn't serve your purpose because of its exclusions or terms and conditions. Check these new-age features of health insurance plan. Watch this video to know 9 rules to keep in mind while buying health insurance

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