In our busy lives, there is always a probability of unexpectedly becoming sick and requiring expensive treatments. There is always a slight chance that someone dear to us might be at the mercy of a chronic condition which requires long-term care. Fortunately, there is Individual Health Insurance. Health insurance ensures that undergoing long term treatment does not throw a family into dire financial straits. By paying a small amount of premium to the insurer, you can take a cover under a comprehensive health insurance plan. This will shield your savings from sudden shocks of medical treatments. In this way, health insurance acts as a protective cover for both savings and healthcare so that you and your beloved family can continue to enjoy their life.
Need for health insurance
There are 3 key reasons why you need health insurance.
- You don’t have enough savings to pay for healthcare – Getting treated at a top healthcare facility is costly. People find it challenging to manage their finances when a family member gets diagnosed with a dreaded illness. Nearly 44% of India’s population is not covered by health insurance`. In such situations, people dip into their savings or take loans or sell assets to fund treatments. However, the smart thing to do, is to take a health insurance plan- this will help you to secure your finances and health at the same time.
- Healthcare costs are rising fast – The rate at which medical costs are rising makes it necessary to have health insurance. Medical trend rate, i.e. the increase in per-person cost due to medical inflation. In India itself, this rate is expected to rise at double the inflation rate. The forecasted medical trend rate will be 10% in India, while inflation will be at 5%~. Cancer and diseases of the circulatory system remain the top two highest claims reported by most insurers, followed by gastrointestinal diseases and respiratory conditions. With a fixed benefit health insurance cover, you can effectively fight critical illnesses like cancer and conditions related to the heart.
- Hospital costs includes various items – Treatment at hospital is not merely related to surgery. Medical check-ups, doctor fees, and medicines can account for a higher chunk than the actual hospitalization expenses. Separately, there are diagnostic tests, post-operative care such as having a medical attendant at home, which also cost a lot. Add up all, to understand why medical treatment seems so expensive. Health insurance plans offer coverage for several types of ailments and surgeries. They also cover other aspects of medical treatment. Fixed benefit health insurance plans give the money without asking for a detailed description of all the aspects of treatment costs. It is paid upfront to the policyholder on the submission of first diagnosis report.
Benefits of health insurance
- Money given upfront without medical bills – Fixed benefit health insurance plans pay the entire amount on diagnosis of the disease. Yes, there is no need to show actual proof of hospitalization and treatment, like hospital bills or treatment bills. In this way, such health insurance policies offer full coverage for both, before and after hospitalization expenses. There are no pre-specified durations/limits. If the policyholder is diagnosed with an ailment that is covered under the policy, the insurer will pay the money to the policyholder without asking any further questions.
- Treatment at a facility of your choice – With proper health insurance, you can get treated anywhere in India and the world. If you have the right amount of health cover, you do not need to compromise with treatment. In a fixed benefit health insurance plan such as ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect, you get a lump sum payout upon diagnosis, which removes the hassle of getting admitted to a network hospital for cashless treatment. With the health insurance claim money, you can opt for treatment anywhere in the world as per your own wish and convenience.
- High cover at low cost – Fixed benefit health insurance plans give high coverage amount for a comparatively lower premium. This saves you money and also allows you to remain worry-free even if diagnosed with a severe ailment. ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect provides you with a cover of ₹ 20 lakh at ₹ 387 per month for a 35-year-old healthy male for a policy term of 20 years and inclusive of tax. What’s more, in case of minor claim or on the diagnosis of permanent disability due to accident, the premium is waived completely.
- Automatic increase in the sum assured amount – Health insurance is not just a cost-effective way to manage medical treatment. It also gives you bigger coverage with every year you do not claim. ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect provides a 10% increase in sum assured if it is a no-claim policy year. This means if there is a year where there is no claim, your premium money is not wasted. The premium paid in a no-claim year gets you wider coverage.
- Fixed premium cost – Health insurance plans offer fixed benefits at a fixed premium. The premium amount in such special plans remains fixed for the entire duration of the policy. This means that your household budget is not put under any strain due to rising health insurance costs. Some plans even offer a discount on the first-year premium if you and your spouse are covered.
- Tax benefits* – Fixed benefit health insurance plans offer tax benefits. If you pay the premium, you can avail deduction up to ₹ 25,000 from your taxable income on the health insurance premiums paid. This amount of benefit is available under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act if your age is less than 60 years. If you and your family members are all more than 60 years old, the maximum deduction available is of ₹ 50,000. The same benefit is applicable for premiums that you pay for your parents.