Things To Remember While Buying Health Insurance For Your Parents

By | November 20, 2017

Safeguard your parents’ finances during their golden years by choosing the right Health Insurance policy.

Things To Remember While Buying Health Insurance For Your Parents

Your parents may be under the impression that having a sufficient retirement corpus will be enough to take care of their expenses during their twilight years. However, retirement brings with it its own set of challenges.

The scenario has changed dramatically since the time lifestyles were healthier and our grandparents didn’t have to rack their brains over ridiculous hospitalisation bills. As people get older, physical ailments are almost unavoidable.

There is also the additional risk of contracting diseases as immunity lowers with every year that passes. Health Insurance for Senior Citizens is one of the most popular insurance policies offered by insurance companies today and are designed specifically for people who are aged 60 years and above. Senior Citizen Health Insurance plans offer critical illness cover, cashless hospitalisation, pre-existing disease cover and a higher sum assured.

Why should you buy Health Insurance for your parents?

  • Inflation in medical costs is on the rise. At the existing rate, affording medical bills for the elderly will become impossible.
  • Life expectancy has increased. This means that parents are living longer than before and they need to be financially ready to take on any kind of medical emergency that their declining health might trigger.
  • Post-retirement there’s no regular flow of income for parents. This creates an even bigger need to become financially capable of providing for medical expenses without having to depend on anybody else.
  • Post-retirement, the Health Insurance scheme offered by your parents’ employers under which they are covered, will lapse.

Key features of Senior Citizen Health Insurance:

Some of the common features of Senior Citizen Health Insurance are:

  • Hospitalisation cover including medical bills and room charges
  • Cashless hospitalisation
  • Daycare expenses which arise out of technological advancements
  • Ambulance charges coverage
  • Insurance providers decide the cover for pre-existing diseases.
  • No medical test required before availing medical insurance. Insurance providers decide this.
  • Higher sum insured coverage
  • Pre-existing disease coverage
  • Faster and hassle-free settlement

While selecting a mediclaim policy for your parents, remember to keep the following points in mind:

Entry age

A lot of health insurers, particularly public sector ones, offer mediclaim for senior citizens between the 60-80 years category. So, you can buy a policy even after your parents have crossed 60 years of age. However, not all Health Insurance companies have standard entry age guidelines, so remember to compare various policies and then buy.

What may seem attractive on many counts may not be the best fit for your parents if the entry age is not low enough. Certain insurers offer Health Insurance policies with no maximum entry age.

Renewal age

Before selecting a mediclaim plan, check the age/time until which you can renew the medical policy for your parents. The age limit varies across insurers.

Insurance coverage

Ensure that the policy offers coverage against a large number of illnesses, particularly pre-existing illnesses. Diseases your parents might have suffered come under the pre-existing category. Also, ensure there is a provision for coverage of critical illnesses and medical conditions common in the family like diabetes or cancer.

Sum Assured

This indicates the amount up to which the policy will reimburse expenses, also known as the health coverage of the mediclaim policy. The larger the health coverage the better, since this would mean that your parents would have to shell out less money from their pockets.

Network hospitals

The policy should have a broad network of hospitals and the better ones in your parents’ neighbourhood empanelled. Opt for a medical insurance plan with a wider network of hospitals that specialise in a range of treatments.

Insurance premium

Instead of a family health plan, opt for individual mediclaim policies. Risk levels are higher with medical insurance policies for the elderly and therefore, premiums are very expensive. So, as long as all of the above criteria holds good, go in for a policy where premiums are lower.

Additional Reading: 5 Things You Must Consider When Buying Health Insurance For Senior Citizens

While considering a Health Insurance policy for your parents, here are some myths that you should refrain from believing:

Cover from employer

You should definitely consider the insurance cover for your parents offered by your employer as part of the group cover or enhancing the cover at an additional cost. This is because it is much easier to secure a policy under the corporate cover route. The claim settlement process is much simpler too.

However, it’s not wise to rely on just a group cover for your parents. Besides, the health cover provided by your employer will cease the moment you switch jobs. You will then have to port to the same insurer’s retail policy.

Pre-existing conditions

It is true that most Health Insurance policies do not provide cover for pre-existing ailments, especially for senior citizens. This deters a lot of people from applying for an insurance policy as they think that a pre-existing ailment will make their parents ineligible for a Health Insurance policy.

However, that might not always be the case. Some insurers still offer cover for pre-existing ailments as long as the ailment is not critical or terminal.

Health Insurance policies offer insufficient coverage

Almost all Health Insurance policies do not offer cover for existing ailments and have a waiting period of four years before the existing conditions can be covered. But, during these four years, your parents will still be covered for hospitalisation charges for other ailments and accidents.

Family floater plans are the best

It might be a good idea not to include parents who are senior citizens in a family floater plan as the premium and the renewal age is based on the eldest member of the family. While the entire family shares the sum assured, it could be utilised by a parent in one claim.

Topping up a policy is not a good idea

While a full-fledged health cover independent of your employer’s group scheme is always desirable, it may not suit your pocket. You might want to consider top-up covers to enhance your parents’ coverage.  They are likely to be cheaper than standalone covers.

The maximum cover available for top-up covers is higher than that of senior citizen policies. Remember the top-up covers kick in only after the base sum insured has been exhausted.

Additional Reading: 5 Job Options For Retirees And Senior Citizens

Those twilight years can be bright and sunny for your parents. With the right kind of retirement planning and Health Insurance cover. Don’t wait for your parents to get to that age to buy a Health Insurance policy for them. You can sign them up for any of them right away.

Take the plunge and learn more about Health Insurance as well as other insurance policies such as Life Insurance, Term Insurance, Car Insurance, Two-Wheeler Insurance and Cancer Insurance with BankBazaar.

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