India is a country where Health Insurance is still a growing industry. Despite the efforts taken by the government to provide coverage for its citizens, India still ranks among the lowest when it comes to health insurance penetration. Most people are aware of the fact that a major medical expense may wipe out all their savings. What they don’t understand is that health insurance offers an easy solution against this potential threat. With the rising cost of healthcare, the smart thing to do is to have an affordable health insurance plan that protects you from various health hazards.
It is estimated that the cost of healthcare is likely to increase by 10% to 15% every year due to medical inflation. Yet, the awareness about medical insurance is pretty low compared to other countries. Cost of premiums is often cited as a factor as to why people don’t take health insurance policies. While the cost is certainly a big thing to worry about, you may be relieved to know that there are ways in which you can save money on premiums. By following these easy tips listed here, you can make health insurance much more affordable than what it is now.
1. Enter the cover when you are younger.
Well, health insurance is not similar to term insurance. Here, the premiums will increase along with the age of a person. If you think that there aren’t any benefits to entering the cover young, you are wrong. By entering a health insurance plan at a young age, you can take advantage of the accumulated benefits.
For instance, you can build a nice cumulative bonus by entering a policy at a young age and not making too many claims. Some policies offer cumulative benefits to the tune of 100% of the sum insured amount. This means that you could double the coverage amount over a period of time without shelling out any extra bucks. Also, the waiting period associated with various conditions can be easily exhausted by entering a policy at a young age.
2. Do your research.
This is a point that cannot be stressed enough. No matter what type of coverage you are willing to take, you must do your research. There are currently about 30 health insurance companies in the market. All these companies have a diverse range of plans to meet the different needs of their customers. Choosing the right policy from this big list is not an easy thing. However, you must put it in the time if you want the best deal for an affordable price.
The competition in the market has brought down the prices already. All you have to do is to browse through the policies that fit within your budget and choose the one that you need. If you are willing to do the research, you can easily find a policy that meets all your expectations. While doing your research, do not always go for the cheapest one you can find. Make sure that the company is a credible one that offers policies at a reasonable price.
3. Choose the right sum insured amount.
One of the key steps in bringing down your health insurance premium is choosing the right sum insured amount. While it is better to opt for a higher sum insured amount just to be on the safer side, too much coverage is likely to end up getting wasted. The key here is to determine the right coverage amount that is suitable for you and your family. For instance, a sum insured amount of Rs.5 lakh on a floater basis would be sufficient for any young middle-class Indian family of 4 members (2 adults and 2 children). If you want to be safer, you add a little more to it. However, a coverage value of Rs.20 lakh makes very little sense for the same family unless there are any major health concerns.
4. Voluntary co-payment/deductible.
If you think you can manage certain expenses on your own during an emergency, you can opt for voluntary co-payment to lower the premium. Depending upon your capacity, you can agree to co-pay 10% to 25% of the medical bills during a claim. In turn, the insurer will charge lower premiums accordingly. You can also opt for the voluntary deductible option to manage certain expenses on your own before the health insurance coverage can kick-in. Premium discounts are available in both these options. Make sure that you check for these options while subscribing to a mediclaim policy.
5. Choose a longer health insurance tenure.
Most health insurers in the market provide their customers with the option of choosing policy period from 1 to 3 years. Here, policyholders can get premium discounts by opting for a 2-year or 3-year term. The discounts may vary from one insurer to another. However, most insurers offer a 10% discount while choosing a 3-year policy term. If you have the financial strength to pay for a longer term, you can avail this discount. Moreover, you also have the advantage of not having to renew the policy every year.
6. Take advantage of the family discount
If two or more members of your family are enrolled in mediclaim policies under the same company, you can avail a family discount on premiums. Most companies in the market offer a 5% discount if two members of a family have taken individual policies. The premium discount increases to 10% if 3 or more members are enrolled in individual policies. If you are thinking of taking individual coverage for all family members, you can use this option to save money on health insurance premiums.
7. Choose a top-up policy if you already have employer cover
Top up policies are typically much cheaper than regular health insurance plans. However, they come with a mandatory deductible requirement. In other words, a top-up policy will kick in only after a certain amount of deductible is exhausted. If you wish to have health coverage for a certain amount, you can take most of it as top-up coverage and save money. For instance, if you need coverage for Rs.5 lakh, you can opt for Rs.1 lakh or Rs.2 lakh as regular coverage and the rest in top-up coverage. The cost here will be much cheaper than buying a regular cover with sum insured of Rs.5 lakh.
8. Use the portability option when needed
During the course of a health insurance coverage, you may come across another plan in the market that is both cheaper and beneficial. In that case, you can simply transfer your policy to the other company using the portability option. IRDA allows policyholders to transfer their policies to other service providers without losing out on accumulated benefits. Through this way, you may not lose out on your no claim bonus, disease-specific waiting period, survival benefits, etc. To proceed with the portability option, the existing insurer must be informed at least 45 days before the date of renewal.
9. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
There are many insurance companies that reward customers for following a healthy lifestyle. When you are signing up for a policy, you must declare your smoking and drinking habits to the company. The premium charges vary accordingly. Also, there are companies that monitor the physical activities of customers and provide premium discounts based on that. You may check with your health insurer to know how you can save money on premiums by following a healthy lifestyle.
10. Choose your add-ons wisely
Health insurers offer a number of add-ons/riders for their customers to boost their coverage. In most cases, these add-ons are cheaper than buying separate covers. For instance, you may save money by choosing a critical illness add-on cover rather than buying a separate cover for that purpose. However, buying too many riders is not a great idea for anyone. Make sure that you choose your add-ons wisely in a way that they come in handy during emergency situations.
To sum up
In India, health insurance penetration is extremely low compared to other developed/developing nations in the world. Cost is a major determining factor for most Indian while choosing a health insurance policy. Considering the range of affordable health insurance plans in the market, anyone can have a health insurance cover irrespective of their income. If you follow the above-mentioned tips, you can save a lot of money and get access to the right coverage that meets all your expectations.
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