With medical inflation constantly on the rise, being able to afford good medical treatment is becoming more challenging. This is where a good health insurance plan can come to the rescue, helping us manage our aging parents’ medical needs without falling into financial difficulties.
Why buy medical insurance for senior citizens?
Costs of healthcare are constantly rising
Post-retirement, senior citizens often have limited, unstable or no sources of income
Savings start diminishing
There is an increased risk of illnesses and accidents
Employer-provided health insurance ceases post retirement
Factors to consider while purchasing a senior citizen health insurance plan
Here are some important factors you must take care to analyze before zeroing in on the policy to purchase.
Most public insurance companies offer policies for senior citizens between 60-80 years of age. You can thus purchase a policy even in case you/ your parents have crossed the age of 60 and do not have insurance yet.
On the other hand, some private companies limit the entry age to 69 years. However, certain private companies provide health insurance without any restrictions on entry age.
Renewal age is the age up to which the policy can be renewed. The maximum limit is usually 90 years, however, this too may vary among companies.
Pre-existing diseases are usually covered under senior citizen health insurance plans. However, there are some which do not provide such cover. In most cases though, pre-existing diseases usually get covered two years after the policy has been active. Since the period may vary, it is important to read the policy documents which specify the waiting period.
It's the period of time specified in a health insurance policy which must pass before some or all of your health care coverage can begin. Keeping in mind the age and the relatively higher risk-factor for senior citizens, it makes sense to go for a plan with a short waiting period.
Public companies usually have lower covers (sum assured) of up to 1-2 lakhs, whereas private companies may offer covers of 15-20 lakhs. However, here the premiums are higher, and you may be asked for higher co-payments as well.
Some medical insurance plans for senior citizens have specific limits for certain illnesses. For instance, a policyholder can claim only INR 25000 for a cataract surgery despite having a sum assured of two lakhs. This makes policies without sub-limits better, but they usually charge a higher premium.
Some insurance agencies require policyholders to bear a predetermined percentage of the treatment cost. Select a plan with minimum co-payment.
Most insurance companies require the policyholders to undergo a medical test before buying a health-plan, the cost of which they must bear. This is done to assess their current health status, and determine the degree of risk they pose.
Health insurance companies tie up with specific hospitals for offering cashless treatment. These are known as network hospitals. Make sure to check that your preferred hospital is a part of the network.