Health insurance with high covers come at a steep cost. There are cheaper alternatives.
Recently, public sector health insurance firm New India Assurance launched a plan offering a Rs. 1 crore cover (sum insured), joining a select group of private insurance firms— CignaTTK Health Insurance, Max Bupa Health, Aditya Birla Health Insurance—that offer high insurance covers between Rs. 1 and Rs. 2 crore.
These policies usually have a two-year waiting period in the case of pre-existing disease, offer worldwide emergency treatment, maternity benefits, OPD and day-care procedure, and cover airfare for international treatment in the case of critical illness.
Alternative treatments such as homeopathy and Ayurveda may also be covered up to a certain limit by select insurers. So do you need a policy with a high sum insured?
“The most expensive procedures such as organ transplants, serious heart problems, or advanced-stage cancer entail a total cost of Rs. 40-60 lakh. The higher sum insured policies of Rs. 1 crore may gain acceptance in 8-10 years from now,” says Antony Jacob, CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance.
The high sum insured health insurance policies are primarily aimed at high net worth individuals (HNIs).
“HNIs now prefer to avail high-end medical services and treatment in India or abroad by availing high sum insured health covers,” says Sandeep Patel, CEO and MD, Cigna TTK Health Insurance.
What should you do?
Ordinarily, financial advisers recommend buying a long-term basic standalone health cover—individual or a family floater policy—and a top-up cover in addition to employer-provided group health insurance. If there is a family history of critical diseases, then one should also buy adequate critical illness cover at an early age.
These should collectively meet your health insurance requirement at a lesser cost than a plan with a higher cover and higher premiums. Make sure you regularly review your health insurance based on rise in salary, family responsibilities, change in job profile, etc.
“It is essential that you review your health insurance portfolio every three years and then decide whether to increase health cover or not,” says Atrey Bhardwaj, AVP, Business Operations and Partner Management, BankBazaar.com
Building a medical emergency corpus—separate from the general contingency fund—is also advisable. “It will serve as a backup fund in the case of unforeseen medical emergency in the family on immediate basis. The corpus should be built by investing in index funds or diversified large-cap funds,” says Dinesh Rohira, Founder and CEO, robo advisory firm 5nance.com.
Cost of Rs. 1 crore health cover
Premium is for Cigna TTK ProHealth Premier Plan (exclusive of service tax). Gender pricing difference is because of maternity benefit.