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You must have heard of this adage, “the best time to do it was yesterday, the second-best time is now”. The same applies to health insurance plans as well.

Changing lifestyle and environment means we need more medical attention, and growing medical expertise means the treatments are available. However, the treatment costs are also growing. In any case, the COVID-19 pandemic must have given you a glimpse of how important life and health cover is for your family.

Hence, it is important to invest in the best health insurance plans, and the earlier the better.

When is the Right Time to Buy a Health Plan?

The right time to buy a health insurance plan is – Now. The best health plan will act as a financial shield against unplanned health related expenses. It is needless to say that the current pandemic has been a wakeup call for all of us. We never thought that we will be gripped by such an outbreak for a long period.

A lot of health insurance plans offer coverage for COVID treatment. Not only that – policies cover a range of terminal or critical illnesses. So, instead of worrying about the hefty medical expenses, you should buy a health plan as soon as possible. But is that all?

5 Benefits of Buying a Health Insurance Plan

A lot of people realise the importance of a health plan only when they have to pay down the medical expenses upfront. Here are 5 major benefits of buying a health insurance plan:

1. Cut Down the Cost of Emergency Healthcare

By investing in the best health insurance plan, you can have financial cover to pay for surgeries, medicines, hospitalisation expenses, ambulance fees, and doctor’s consultation fees. The availability of funds in the time of need helps you focus on recovery instead of feeling anxious about the expenses.

2. Critical Illness Cover
Critical illness cover is a defined benefit health plan. This pure protection insurance plan has been designed to provide financial support to you and your family in your fight against a life-threatening illness. For example, cancer, heart failure, renal failure, and other rapidly progressing and unpredictable illnesses.

Your normal Mediclaim insurance may not be enough to cover the treatment costs of these illnesses. As many times they do not even need hospitalization. However, the treatment and medicine costs could be really high.

Also, if your ability to earn the same amount of money is affected, your entire household could risk losing financial status.

Thus, a critical illness cover disburses a large sum of money regardless of your actual expenses upon the diagnosis of any such illness. The best critical illness plans also provide a part of this benefit as a regular income for the family, which helps in running the household smoothly.

3. Cashless Claims
The health insurance companies collaborate with hospitals to provide quick emergency hospitalization to the consumers. These hospitals are called network hospitals. You are eligible for cashless claims in case you or any of the covered family members are admitted to any of the networked hospitals.

The insurance company will directly pay the hospital for the treatment that you have availed of. Cashless hospitalisation is especially useful in case of emergencies.

You must check what all expenses are not included under the cashless claim section by the health insurance company, before buying a policy. It is important, as you need to pay for the services that are not covered by the health insurance policy.

4. All Round Coverage
A family floater health insurance plan can cover your entire family including your newborn. You can try covering your parents under a separate policy, especially if they are senior citizens. While this does not mean much difference in costs, it means a lot of difference in benefits.

Senior citizen medical needs are different and senior citizen health cover is more suited to meet them.

5. Tax Savings
By investing in the best health insurance plan, you become eligible for a tax rebate under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. You can avail deduction in tax up to Rs. 25,000 every year by owning health insurance that covers you, your spouse, and your children. You can claim a tax deduction of Rs. 50,000 by owning health insurance for your parents aged above 60 years.

Learn how a health insurance plan protects you from health and financial risks.

How to Buy the Best Health Insurance Plan?

You can research most of the things online, discuss with customer care of the insurer for clarity or talk to an advisor. To make the process short and precise, consider the below-given points to choose the best health insurance plan.

1. Check the Sum Insured
The golden rule of thumb says that insurance should cover at least your 10 to 15 months’ salary. For example, if your income is Rs. 1 lakh a month then the ideal health cover would be Rs. 10 lakhs.

2. Waiting Period & No Claim Bonus
Every health insurance plan will have a waiting period for pre-existing illnesses. This period ranges from 24-48 months, and if you have a pre-existing condition that may lead to hospitalisation later, this will be an important factor for you.

Another factor to look at is the no-claim bonus and how is it applicable. Usually, policies keep increasing your sum insured until it doubles up.

3. Check Coverage Limits for Different Expenses
Check the policy documents to know how much amount will be paid in case of hospitalisation for surgery/treatment. For instance, if your policy pays Rs. 1500 room rent per day and you are admitted to a hospital that has Rs. 3000 room rent per day. Then, you must bear the remaining cost i.e., Rs.1500.

Also, check for the pre and post hospitalisation charges, as some insurance companies offer 30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalisation charges.

4. Check for Add-On Benefits
Some health insurance plans offer wide coverage. But some insurance companies provide add-on covers and they are called riders. Check if the policy offers you maximum cover or do you need to buy add-ons.

In case of buying add-ons, check the additional amount that you need to pay, as it will increase the total value of your premium. Apart from rider options, also check if you are eligible for No-Claim Bonus.

5. Day Care Expenses
While the rules of inclusion and exclusions of major policies are almost the same, you should have a look at the day-care expenses. Progress in medical science has made treatments for many diseases just a few hours businesses which otherwise needed few days of hospitalisation. Thus, such treatments do not fall under the normal Mediclaim cover.

However, the best health insurers allow you to claim a refund of your expenses for such treatments.

Should You Worry About the Hospital Network?

This is a simple equation. You want maximum hospitals in your area and across the country on this list. However, it does not mean you should reject policies just because they have a lower number of hospitals on the list. Look at the features and benefits and if the plan is good, get it for your family.

Learn more about Health First Plan by Canara HSBC Life Insurance.

The hospital network is a continuously growing feature, the longer the insurer spends in the market, the larger the network grows. Also, even when a hospital is not in the insurer’s network, it could be connected to a TPA connected to the insurer.