scorecardresearchWhat senior citizens must take note of while buying health insurance

What senior citizens must take note of while buying health insurance

Updated: 08 Dec 2022, 09:04 AM IST

There is a lot at stake for senior citizens buying health insurance late in their lives. This is why they must be extremely careful while buying a health plan.

Senior citizens have limited options while buying health insurance, and that is why they must exercise utmost care before choosing one.

Senior citizens have limited options while buying health insurance, and that is why they must exercise utmost care before choosing one.

Many in old age realise their folly of not buying health insurance early on. Retirement planning is incomplete without having enough insurance to take care of your health in the later years of your life.

The lax attitude has caused many senior citizens to remain uninsured after retirement or resort to buying health policies at very high premium charges.

It is not that senior citizens cannot buy health insurance policies. However, they must keep certain necessary factors in mind before investing in a health policy. Here's what they are:

Share details in good faith

Elderly investors are afraid to share the correct details of their health conditions. They fear that putting in the right details about their lifestyle habits and pre-existing diseases will prompt the insurer to reject their policy application or charge higher premiums on their policies. While it is true that certain pre-existing illnesses may refrain insurance companies from issuing necessary health plans, hiding these details will only cause the insurance company to withhold payment for hospitalisation and medical treatment citing a breach of utmost good faith.

What is the waiting period?

Every health insurance company mandates a waiting period ranging between a year and four years for certain benefits. If you are already 60 years old or above, chances are that you may already be afflicted with some diseases or conditions. However, their treatment can be covered only post the completion of the waiting period. While buying health insurance, customers must look for insurance companies mandating the least waiting period tenure.

Seeking natural treatment

Modern science and allopathy may not be the answer to all health problems, especially, for many senior citizens who rely on traditional treatment options including Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy and others. Check if your choice of insurance company pays for these treatment options too. Some insurers put a sub-limit for AYUSH treatment, which is why you must opt for an insurance company that promises maximum coverage on AYUSH treatment while doing away with the unwanted sub-limit too.

Does the insurer allow riders too?

This is important as the add-on benefits called riders can be availed by paying some extra premiums to the existing health insurance plan. These riders are like toppings on basic health policies. For example, some health insurance companies offer critical illness riders that can be availed of after a 15-day survival period. There is a rider that serves as a room rent waiver and then there is a waiting period rider that allows the insured to reduce the waiting period for pre-existing illnesses.

Securing added cover with top-up plans

Imagine that your health insurance coverage is not enough to pay towards your treatment. A top-up plan pays for the remaining unpaid amount or the uninsured part. A super top-up plan serves as a booster dose to your health insurance policy, thus, lending the much-needed respite from the high costs of treatment under the effect of inflation.

Senior citizens must read the details in the policy document before signing on the dotted line. Check for conditions affecting factors including sub-limits, co-payments, deductibles, etc. Try to buy insurance online instead of choosing through agents to avoid succumbing to fraud and discrepancies. Senior citizens dissatisfied with policy conditions may return the policy within 15 days of receiving the documents, which is why they must compare premiums and benefits before assenting to buy a health policy.

Government Health Insurance Schemes in India
First Published: 08 Dec 2022, 09:04 AM IST