10 QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED WHILE BUYING HEALTH INSURANCE
Q. What does it cover?
A. There are many types of health plans ranging from basic hospitalisation and critical illness to disease-based, top-up and daily cash. Buy a basic hospitalisation policy first. Others such as critical illness and disease-specific ones should be the next level of protection.
Q. Is it an indemnity or a benefit plan?
A. While indemnity plans cover hospitalisation expenses such as room rent, doctor's fee, etc, benefit plans pay a lump sum on diagnosis of the disease.
Q. What does it exclude?
A. You need to carefully read policy papers to know what is not covered by the plan.
Q. How long do you have to wait for the coverage to start?
A. It is important to understand what the policy will not cover, whether for a stipulated period or forever.
Q. What additional covers can you take with the policy?
A. If there is a need, additional covers such as international treatment, maternity and critical illness should be considered.
Q. Are there sub-limits?
A. You need to check expense limits for different heads such as room rent and consultant fee to avoid last-minute surprises.
Q. Are there any treatment-specific limits?
A. There can be treatment-specific caps which restrict the amount of money you can claim for a particular treatment even if the sum insured is big.
Q. Is the policy portable?
A. Ask your agent if the policy can be ported. This means you can transfer the policy to another insurer without losing continuity benefits such as coverage of pre-existing illnesses after completion of four years.
Q. How good is claim paying ability of the insurer?
A. Check the claim ratio of the insurer and compare it with that of its peers.
Q. Can you extend the coverage later?
A. As your responsibilities grow you may need to increase your sum insured. Ask your insurer as to what extent it can be done.
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