The prevalent sedentary lifestyle, coupled with the propensity to indulge in unhealthy food habits leads to the onset of several cardiac ailments, the most common being hypertension, Heart attack and stroke.Health Insurance for heart patients is an important component of the insurance portfolio of Indians. Absence of any health insurance induces anathema to seek immediate medical care for heart attack and delay it imperilling their well being. The reason is primarily due to financial concerns and a lack of heart insurance. There is no dearth of the heart insurance company offering an array of mediclaim for heart patients in the form of critical illness cover and dedicated mediclaim policy for heart patient at a lower cost than health insurance. The features differ so widely that it is prudent to remove the misconceptions to enable the purchase of the right heart insurance policy
Difference between Health and Critical Illness / Heart Attack Insurance:
The Indian Heart Association studies have revealed that 50% of all heart attacks suffered by Indians are below 50 years of age. The rise in the incidence of debilitating heart attacks and the ever increasing cost of heart care due to the availability of modern healthcare has encouraged the insurance companies to design dedicated health insurance plans for heart conditions in harmony with the general trend. Thus understanding what they offer as compared to the comprehensive health insurance is important.
- Coverage: While the range and scope of usual health insurance are extensive, the heart insurance covers specific conditions.
- Form of Benefit: The major aspect where it differs is that health insurance is a form of indemnity where it defrays medical expenses for hospitalisation; the critical illness or heart insurance, on the other hand, is a fixed benefit paid out on diagnosis as a lump-sum to offset other liabilities.
- Quantum of Sum Insured: In the case of health insurance, the sum insured offered can be in crores due to the nature of the general health cover. In the case of heart insurance, it is restricted to smaller sums depending on terms of the plan and the heart insurance company.
- Rate of Premium: Health Insurance is dearer due to the extensive coverage compared to heart insurance with specific covers.
- Policy Term: Most health insurance plans are valid for annual terms, subject to renewal at the end of the year. Heart insurance, on the other hand, can have a longer term of 15 to 20 years.
- Claim Settlement: Health insurance claims can be either cashless hospitalisation or reimbursement of bills. Heart insurance claim settlement is subject to survival terms as defined in the plan.
- Insurance Membership: Health insurance plans are individual or family floater offering an element of flexibility, whereas heart insurance applies to individuals only.
Importance of Insurance for Heart Conditions:
The exposure to threats of heart attack among Indians is a cause of concern as per the report released by the Global Burden Disease Report of September 2017 which identifies cardiac ailment as the primary cause of an estimated 17 lakh premature deaths among the young Indians. As a countermeasure to lure more and more Indians into the fold of heart insurance, the insurers have designed a wide range of plans to suit the potential audience. The primary features making these plans attractive are:
- Covers all types of heart ailments and critical illnesses apart from the general health covers.
- Since the cover extends to a specific disease, the premium amount is comparatively low.
- The fixed lump-sum payment is made on diagnosis, regardless of the incurred treatment expenses.
- The cover can be augmented to defray hospitalisation expenses through suitable riders or add-ons.
- Tax benefits under Section 80D of the IT, Act 1961 subject to limits as defined in the annual union budget.
Typical features of a Heart Insurance:
The market of specific heart insurance in the country is very large due to the rampant incidence of cardiac ailments and the threat to life posed by it. Thus the insurers have designed plans with a wide array of attractive benefits. Notwithstanding the wide range of plans, it is always prudent to start early and buy a heart attack insurance suiting your need. Some of the typical benefits are:
- Low waiting period for invoking the insurance claim, which can be as low as nine days.
- Elaborate quantum of the sum insured.
- Hospitalisation expenses.
- Pre and post hospitalisation expenses subject to time limits set in the plans.
- Daycare inclusion.
- Ambulance expenses.
- Global coverage.
- Some times OPD expenses are admissible subject to certain defined limits.
Bottom Line:This gets us back to the position where it is found that persons not covered with health insurance may delay the option of emergency heart care, at times beyond redemption. The two primary causes for this are other financial constraints and lack of awareness. It has been found that most individuals with strong finances have sought invocation of heart insurance as compared to those with weak finance without any health cover. In this context, it is also important to note that both the health and critical illness insurance are supplemental and perhaps a combination of the two will encourage the insured to seek emergency healthcare more positively for the broader cover the two offer in tandem.