When health insurance was first introduced, it was meant to only cover hospitalization and surgical expenses. However, over time it has steadily evolved and broadened its scope to provide financial protection against all health problems one may face. While a host of treatments and procedures are now covered under health insurance, Out-Patient care is an area where we still face limitations. Gradually more plans offering health insurance with OPD benefits are now becoming available.
Why buy a health insurance plan with OPD benefits?
Indians today are unwilling to take any chances with their health. As environmental hazards and lifestyle diseases are on the rise, people are visiting hospitals more frequently for smaller medical interventions like consultations for minor health issues, diagnostic tests, pre-emptive check-ups, etc. However, these visits often come at a heavy cost, especially in bigger cities. In fact, it has been found that out-of-pocket expenses for such out-patient visits account for about 62% of the overall healthcare expenditure for individuals. In such a scenario, purchasing a health insurance plan that also provides OPD benefits makes a lot of sense.
What exactly is OPD cover?
OPD cover is an add-on cover offered by certain health insurance companies in India. You can opt for it by paying an additional premium.
What are the benefits of an OPD coverage?
● Minor expense coverage- Emergencies that require hospitalization are rare. Our health expenditure usually comprises of expenses made on routine health check-ups, diagnostic tests, and X-rays etc. While these are excluded in ordinary health insurance plans, it is covered in plans with OPD benefits
● Pharmacy expenses are covered- This makes the OPD cover ideal for people who incur recurrent pharmacy related expenses. Old people or young children along with others suffering from ailments that require recurrent medication, stand to benefit the most
● Value for money- The additional OPD cover offers great value for money, especially with those who need to see the doctor more frequently. Since OPD plans allow for multiple claims, the OPD premium in such cases works out to be lesser than OPD expenses incurred
● Tax benefits- OPD covers are also eligible for tax deduction as per Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Plans with OPD benefits offer more tax benefits than basic health insurance policies
● Attractive discounts- If no OPD claim has been filed in the previous policy period, health insurance providers offer a discount on the OPD premium upon renewal
● Shorter waiting period- OPD health insurance plans come with a shorter waiting period than regular health insurance plans
Consideration to keep in mind before purchasing OPD cover
While an OPD cover does offer some valuable benefits, it is wise to analyse its utility. While conducting your analysis, keep in mind your health insurance needs as well as your age. Purchase the cover only if your potential use of the cover is likely to get the benefits to outweigh the costs.