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How Senior Citizens can choose a Best Health Insurance Plan?

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Tips on How Senior Citizens can choose a Best Health Insurance Plan in India

Medical expenses are skyrocketing. If one gets hospitalized, their hard earned savings can get ruined with high medical expenses. Such risk is high for senior citizens. Hence, senior citizens should choose a best health insurance plan which can save their hard earned retirement savings.  This article would provide you various tips on How Senior Citizens can choose the Best health insurance plan in India.

What are Health Insurance Plans?

Health insurance policies provide medical coverage for hospitalization expenses. Gone are the days where such plans used to provide just hospitalization expenses. New age health insurance plans provide a daily cash allowance, pre-health checkups, refill of sum insured etc.

Picking up a right health insurance by a senior citizens can help them to have maximum medical coverage.

There are several benefits of taking a health insurance plans, hence one should not ignore this.

How Senior Citizens can choose a Best Health Insurance Plan in India?

Here is the list of parameters one can check before opting a senior citizen health insurance plan.

#1 – Assess the health coverage required

If you are thinking of 1 Lac or 2 lac health insurance, then you need to re-assess your decision. As an example, heart surgery costs Rs 4 to 5 Lacs.  Hence one need to assess how much medical coverage required after considering family medical history, number of family members, pre and post hospitalization expenses, surgery costs, day care expenses etc.,

#2 – Low Co-Payment

Senior citizens health insurance generally comes with hidden terms and conditions. One of them is a Co – payment feature.  Under this feature, insurance companies offer health insurance plans where, in case of hospitalization expenses, part of the amount needs to be borne by the policy holder which is termed as co-payment. This could be 10% or 20%. Since there are greater chances that senior citizens might get hospitalized and have high medical expenses, insurance companies offer health plans with co-payment.

Senior citizens need to avoid plans that come with any co-payment wherever possible.

#3 – Refilling sum insured

This is another good feature offered by health insurance companies. In case of hospitalization and the sum insured is exhausted such plans offer refill during the policy tenure. Means you need not worry about exhausting the sum insured.

#4 – Consider a separate health insurance for spouse

If a senior citizen has a spouse (who might be a senior citizen or < 60 years of age), considering separate health insurance plan for spouse is always better. In future renewing individual senior citizen health insurance could be easier till the end of their individual’s life.

#5 – Network Hospitals Coverage

Senior citizens might be residing now in metro cities. However, in the future if they decide to relocate to Tier-2 or Tier-3 or rural areas, hospital coverage should not be an issue. If a health insurance plan covers the majority of the cities / rural areas, considering such plan can help to have quality treatment even if they reside in remote areas.

#6 – Lifelong Renewability

Health insurance plans are offered for 1 or 2 year tenure. It would be difficult to take the new plan by senior citizens, hence they should always look for the plans which offer lifelong renewals.

#7 – Compare Health Insurance Plans

Health insurance companies charge premiums based on features, sum insured, age and pre-existing diseases. Hence it is difficult to assess which health plan is coming cheaper. Here come web aggregator portals. One can check the comparison of various health insurance premiums across insurance companies, features, benefits and the premium. This comparison would help you to know low premium medical insurance plans.

#8 – How much you can afford?

No point in taking health insurance plan which you cannot make premium year on year. Consider a policy where you can pay premiums based on your affordability.

#9 – Good Incurred Claim Ratio (ICR)

Incurred Claims Ratio (ICR) is the ratio of total claims paid over the net premiums received by the health insurance company. This ratio indicates the ability of the insurance company to make claims compared to the premiums it receives. High incurred claim ratio indicates the company can honor the majority of claims and generating low profits. Low ICR indicates the company is not honoring all the claims and retaining majorly of such premiums as profits. Senior Citizens should opt for an insurance company that have Incurred claims ratio of say 70% to 90%. One can always check for latest incurred claim ratio before opting any such plans.

#10 – Good Customer Support

While this is difficult parameter to check, one can check on various forums / groups on how good is the customer support of the insurance company. Even if a health insurance plan is available at a lower premium, but if the customer support is bad, one should rethink the decision.

Final Thoughts:  It is not possible to consider all the parameters while buying a health insurance plan. However, senior citizens can compare various health insurance plans, features, benefits, exclusions and opt for a plan that comes with low premiums.

Suresh KP

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