scorecardresearchWhy should you include OPD cover in your medical insurance policy?

Why should you include OPD cover in your medical insurance policy?

Updated: 28 Mar 2022, 08:15 AM IST
TL;DR.
Some medical insurance policies cover outpatient department cover while a few also include online OPD & e-consultations
Usually OPD coverage is not given as a part of a health care plan.

Usually OPD coverage is not given as a part of a health care plan.

Ajay Sharma, a Delhi resident, was diagnosed with a liver ailment six months ago which eventually led to three-day hospitalisation costing 1.2 lakh in total. A large chunk of it was covered by his medical insurance policy. There were, however, a number of follow-up visits to doctors and diagnostic centres which cumulatively cost him more than his hospital bill. He is now contemplating upgrading his policy to incorporate the outpatient department (OPD) cost as well.

And he is not alone. It is often seen that the hospital expenses are only a part (although significant) of the overall medical cost.

Usually, OPD treatments are frequent in nature and include the treatment for basic viral fever, infection, regular health check-ups or follows up for ongoing medication. This results in a huge amount of bill for an insurance company and consequently, mostly insurers keep them out of the policy’s ambit.

“If an insurance plan includes an old age person, kids, or a person ailing prolonged disease who require frequent visits to the doctor for regular check-ups and consultations then OPD coverage, undoubtedly, is an integral part. Else, OPD is not suggested to be a part of the base plan as a young healthy person doesn’t need frequent visits to a doctor. Also, the OPD comes with sub-limits and OPD requires a limited cost involvement which a policyholder can easily afford,” says Naval Goel, CEO and Founder, PolicyX.com

Some of the OPD Health insurance plans offered by insurers

Insurer Policy
Aditya Birla Health InsuranceActiv Health Enhanced Platinum Plan 
Bajaj Allianz Tax Gain Health Insurance Plan with OPD Cover
Digit Health InsuranceDigit Health Insurance with OPD cover
Niva Bupa GoActive Health insurance plan
Star Health InsuranceOutpatient Care Insurance Policy

 

Why to take OPD cover?

Experts opine that the inclusion of OPD cover is vital in the medical insurance plan if you factor in the rising medical costs and the growing reliance on online consultations. Mr Naval Goel, CEO of PolicyX says it is significant for policy holders to take OPD cover particularly when regular consultations are indispensable because of a pre-existing disease.

"Generally, health insurance gives compensation for hospitalisation which happens only in extreme situations such as illness or accident cases. But it’s a known fact that people tend to make visits to hospitals or clinics for regular check-ups, or for follow up treatment, incurring a huge expense over and above the insurance cover"

“With the effect of COVID-19, hospital visits have become riskier due to the heavy risk of infection. Thus e-consultations have become essential for the masses to consult with doctors to reduce the exposure of the COVID19. It depends on the policyholder whether they need regular consultations and follows up on account of pre-existing diseases. In such case, having OPD and e-consultations provide good options to policy holders,” says Mr Goel.

Abhishek Misra, chief executive officer and principal officer, Bonanza Insurance echoes the same sentiments. “I think policy holders should go for it (OPD cover) even if they won’t use it. That is how things work in case of medical insurance. It is meant for healthy people. Already unhealthy ones don’t get the medical insurance any way,” Misra remarks.

The premium charged by insurers for OPD coverage is usually not exorbitant, but it is important to know that the number of OPD visits is also restricted for policyholders.

ALSO READ: How to choose the right insurance policy?

“Earlier medical insurance policies only used to offer hospitalization but increasingly most policies offer OPD cover also. Some of them charge an extra 1,500 to 2,000 and provide a certain number of consultations, say, 10,” says Misra.

So, we can say that OPD cover is imperative for those policy holders who want to minimise the possibility of unanticipated medical expenses burning a hole in their pockets, particularly the ones who have a pre-existing disease leading to frequent visits to a doctor.

 

First Published: 28 Mar 2022, 08:15 AM IST