Health insurance is one of the most fundamental types of insurance after life cover in terms of being an absolute necessity for everyone. It is important as it provides financial security to meet health related contingencies.
Health insurance is a type of insurance whereby the insurer pays the medical costs of the insured if the insured becomes sick or injured due to covered causes, or due to accidents. The insurer may be a private insurance company or a government agency. The insurance may pay for medicine, visits to the doctor, hospital stays, other medical expenses and loss of earnings, depending on the conditions covered and the benefits and choices of treatment available on the policy.
Health insurance plans in India today can be broadly classified into these categories:
Hospitalization plans are indemnity plans that pay cost of hospitalization and medical costs of the insured subject to the sum insured. The sum insured can be applied on a per member basis in case of individual health policies or on a floater basis in case of family floater policies. In case of floater policies the sum insured can be utilized by any of the members insured under the plan. These policies do not normally pay any cash benefit. In addition to hospitalization benefits, specific policies may offer a number of additional benefits like maternity and newborn coverage, day care procedures for specific procedures, pre- and post-hospitalization care, domiciliary benefits where patients cannot be moved to a hospital, daily cash, and convalescence. There is another type of hospitalization policy called a top-up policy. Top up policies have a high deductible typically set a level of existing cover. This policy is targeted at people who have some amount of insurance from their employer. If the employer provided cover is not enough people can supplement their cover with the top-up policy. However, this is subject to deduction on every claim reported for every member on the final amount payable.
Family health insurance plan covers entire family in one health insurance plan. It works under assumption that not all member of a family will suffer from illness in one time. It covers hospital expense which can be pre and post. Most of health insurance companies in India offering family insurance have good network of hospitals to benefit the insurer in time of emergency..
As name suggest These kind of health insurance plans are for older people in the family. It provide covers and protection from health issues during old age. According to IRDA guideline, Each insurer should provide cover up to age of 65 years.
Maternity health insurance ensures coverage for maternity and other additional expenses. It takes care of both pre and post natal care, baby delivery ( either normal or caesarean). Like Other Insurance , The maternity insurance provider have wide range of network hospitals and takes care of ambulance expense.
Daily cash benefits is a defined benefit policy that pays a defined sum of money for every day of hospitalization. The payments for a defined number of days in the policy year and may be subject to a deductible of few days.
These are benefit based policies which pay a lumpsum (fixed) benefit amount on diagnosis of covered critical lllness and medical procedures. These illness are generally specific and high severity and low frequency in nature that cost high when compared to day to day medical / treatment need. eg heart attack, cancer, stroke etc. Now some insurers have come up with option of staggered payment of claims in combination to upfront lumpsum payment.
Some companies like Cigna TTK offer Pro active living programs. These are designed keeping in mind the Indian market and provide assistance based on medical, behavioural and lifestyle factors associated with chronic conditions. These services aim to help customers understand and manage their health better.
Some companies offer specially designed disease specific plans like Dengue Care. These are designed keeping in mind the growing occurrence of viral diseases like Dengue in India which has become a cause of concern and thus provide assistance based on medical needs, behavioural and lifestyle factors associated with such conditions. These plans aim to help customers manage their unexpected health expenses better and at a very minimal cost.
Direct Payment or Cashless Facility: Under this facility, the person does not need to pay the hospital as the insurer pays directly to the hospital. Under the cashless scheme, the policyholder and all those who are mentioned in the policy can undertake treatment from those hospitals approved by the insurer.
Reimbursement at the end of the hospital stay: After staying for the duration of the treatment, the patient can take a reimbursement from the insurer for the treatment that is covered under the policy undertaken.
Policy price range: Insurance companies offer health insurance from a sum insured of Rs. 5000/- for micro-insurance policies to a higher sum insured of Rs. 50 lacs and above. The common insurance policies for health insurance are usually available from Rs. 1 lac to Rs. 5 lacs.
Duration: Health insurance policies offered by non-life insurance companies usually last for a period of one year. Life insurance companies offer policies for a period of several years.
Under the Income Tax Act, under Section 80D, the insured person who takes out the policy can claim for tax deductions.