So many questions need not faze you because we are here to guide you on how to choose the best medical insurance plan based on your needs. What points should you consider while buying a medical insurance plan so that your plan comes in handy when it is most required? Let us take a look at the 7 short-listed key points which we think is the secret in choosing the best medical insurance plan for you.
# 1 – Decide on the type of plan
When buying a medical insurance plan, decide what type of coverage is required – individual or family floater. While individual insurance plan covers only you, a family floater policy is an umbrella policy that covers your family members in the same plan. An individual policy is ideal for you if you are a young adult and do not have dependent parents. At a lower premium, you can buy an individual insurance plan. A family man, on the other hand, cannot afford to insure only himself. His family, namely his spouse, children and even parents depend on him to foot their medical expenses. As such, he should invest in a family floater plan that will provide coverage to his dependent family under a single plan.
#2 – Adequate coverage amount
The next big decision is finalizing on the amount of coverage that should be availed. Currently, the cost of any treatment is high and with an ever rising trend of medical costs, these costs are expected to increase manifolds over the years. So, it is prudent to buy a plan with an optimal coverage amount which will be sufficient to take care of the medical costs as and when they accrue. However, the biggest impediment towards availing a higher coverage is the subsequent premium which becomes unaffordable for the common man. So what is the solution? Top-up plans available in the market is the answer to your question. These plans help in increasing the coverage at a low premium. So buy a regular medical insurance plan and supplement it with a top-up plan and you can enjoy a high coverage at lower costs
#3 – Consider the benefits or coverage provided
Every medical insurance plan comes with its own list of benefits also known as coverage. Most medical plans are hospitalization benefit plans. They cover expenses covered at the time of any hospitalization of the insured individual. While some of the points are universally available in all plans, others are included in some plans and excluded in others. The list of common benefits include hospitalization expenses which include room rent, ICU room rent, doctors visit fees, procedure charges, pre and post hospitalization charges, day care procedures and so on.
The other coverage options which are included at the discretion of the company include organ donor expenses, maternity and new born coverage, Ayush treatments, Ayurvedic and Homeopathic treatment expenses, etc. So, before buying a plan, consider the list of coverages that the plan provides or does not provide and see whether the coverages not provided relate to your life or not. For instance, you may not be keen on Ayush treatments and its exclusion may not have any bearing on your decision.
#4 – Pre-existing diseases clause
If you are completely healthy at the time of purchasing the plan, consider it a blessing. But you may be affected with certain illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, etc. at the time of buying the plan which are called pre-existing illnesses. Every insurer excludes the pre-existing illnesses from the plan’s scope of cover for a certain period called the Waiting Period. If you suffer from such illnesses, go with a plan with the shortest waiting period to include your condition at the earliest.
#5 – Claim process
Cashless or reimbursement – there are two ways in which the insurer may settle your claim. Under the cashless facility, if you seek treatment in a network hospital, the insurer directly settles the medical bills with the hospital without you having to get involved. Under a reimbursement claim mode, you will first have to foot the bills and later get those bills reimbursed from the insurer. The reimbursement method of claim settlement may prove a curse because the costs involved may not be affordable and also the process involved is quite cumbersome.
#6 – List of Network Hospitals
Rather a sub-point of the above point, a network hospital is one which has a tie-up with the insurer to provide you with cashless facility of bill settlement. Every insurer has a list of such hospitals with which it is tied up and considering the list is important because you must know which hospital to rush to in case of an emergency or whether the local hospital is among the list of network hospitals and would honor your policy and offer cashless services.
#7 – Discounts and bonuses
Who doesn’t love a good discount or that extra benefit which comes at no extra cost? Most medical insurance plan has the concept of No Claim Bonus wherein extra benefit is provided to the customer if there has been no claim in the previous years. This bonus is given in two forms – either it involves a reduction of the subsequent year’s premium or an increase in the coverage amount at the same rate of premium. While a discount in premium sounds tempting, an increase in the coverage is a better option in the long run when the medical costs are expected to increase.
Insurers also offer other discounts like a family discount of 5%-10% if more than one member is covered under the plan or a discount of 10% – 20% if two years’ premium is paid together. So while buying a plan, look out for these discounts as they will lower your premium and also increase the coverage.
The above tips are the mantra to avail the best medical insurance plan both for yourself and your family so that you have a secured future.