In light of the significantly higher medical inflation in India compared to overall inflation, the importance of saving money on health insurance cannot be overstated. It has become crucial for individuals to explore practical strategies that enable them to reduce their health insurance expenses.
India’s Healthcare Sector
India’s healthcare costs are surging at a pace that far outstrips the general inflation rate. This rapid escalation in medical expenses underscores the need for a well-considered financial plan that incorporates health insurance as a foundational element.
The primary driving force behind the escalating healthcare costs is the substantial disparity in inflation rates between medical services and other categories of goods and services.
How to Save Money on Health Insurance: Exploring 6 Ways
Initiating your journey into health insurance at a young age can bring significant advantages. Young individuals are perceived as a low-risk category due to their lower likelihood of having chronic health conditions. They tend to require less costly medical care. When you purchase a health insurance plan early in life, you secure a consistent premium rate throughout the policy’s duration. Even at renewal, any premium increment is minimal. This means starting early allows you to lock in lower premiums for many years ahead.
Maximisation of Taxation Benefits
Throughout history, tax rebates have incentivised consumers to opt for various insurance options. Health insurance, in particular, provides the added advantage of a tax rebate under section 80D. By offering proof of the premium paid for your health insurance policy, you can potentially save up to ₹25,000 in taxes for yourself, your spouse, and your dependent children. Moreover, contributing to the premium for senior citizen parents can raise the maximum deduction limit to ₹50,000. Remember, saving on taxes directly enhances your financial well-being.
Choose the Right Add-Ons
In today’s world, managing health concerns is an unavoidable reality. Consulting a doctor is imperative whether it’s a minor health issue or a more significant ailment. On average, people can expect to allocate ₹1500-2000 annually to doctor visits. A wise choice is to consider a plan that includes coverage for OPD (Outpatient Department) expenses, encompassing doctor consultations. This ensures adequate coverage, even if consultation costs rise during the policy’s term.
Choose a Budget-Friendly Health Plan
Selecting a health insurance plan that aligns with your budget is essential. Nowadays, the market offers numerous affordable plans that provide substantial coverage. This means you can obtain good value from a low-sum-insured plan if it fits your budget.
Leverage Wellness Benefits
Some insurers reward policyholders for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. These rewards may include discounts for staying fit, undergoing regular health check-ups, or participating in wellness programs. It’s essential to recognise that health insurance isn’t solely designed for those unwell or elderly.
Including wellness benefits in health insurance policies is a reward system for individuals prioritising their health. These activities may involve app-monitored wellness, step tracking, or maintaining records of physical exercises. Meeting the criteria established by insurers can lead to benefits like renewal discounts, redeemable vouchers, or reward points for undergoing health check-ups.
Consider Co-Pay and Deductibles
Another way to save money on health insurance is to consider Co-pay. It involves a fixed amount you contribute each time you avail of a covered medical service, usually represented as a percentage of the total service cost.
For example, with a 20% co-pay, if the total expense for medical treatment is ₹1 lakh, you’d personally bear ₹20,000. Deductibles signify a fixed amount you must pay before your insurance coverage takes effect. Once this threshold is met, your insurance covers the remaining costs of covered medical services up to the policy limit. Opting for a health insurance plan with higher co-pay and deductible amounts can reduce your annual premium. However, this approach also implies higher out-of-pocket expenses if you require medical care.
Compare Health Insurance Plans
To make sure you save money on health plans, it is suggested that you don’t automatically renew your current health insurance without exploring other options. Always compare two or three options and choose the one that suits your pocket and health insurance needs.
Checklist Before Buying health insurance in India
- Secure Health Insurance Early: Obtaining health insurance at a young age is wise. This approach includes lower premiums, extended coverage, and fewer exclusions.
- Evaluate Your Requirements: Before purchasing health insurance, assess your specific needs. Consider factors such as the number and ages of your family members, medical history, lifestyle, and financial considerations.
- Choose the Right Plan: Depending on your needs, decide between individual or family floater plans. Individual plans cover each person individually, while family floater plans encompass all family members under a single policy.
- Determine the Adequate Sum Insured: Opt for a sum insured that adequately covers your current and future medical needs. Consider factors like inflation, rising healthcare costs, and your evolving lifestyle.
- Compare Policy Options: Thoroughly compare policies from various insurers. Evaluate their features, benefits, exclusions, premiums, and claim settlement ratios.
- Review Coverage and Exclusions: Examine the extent of coverage and policy exclusions. This includes aspects like hospitalisation, pre and post-hospitalization, daycare procedures, ambulance charges, and more.
- Consider Cashless Facilities: Seek policies offering cashless facilities at an extensive network of hospitals across India. This simplifies the process of obtaining medical treatment.
- Explore Additional Benefits: Look for supplementary benefits such as no-claim bonuses, complimentary health check-ups, restore benefits, and maternity coverage. These enhancements can boost your coverage without compromising quality.
- Watch Out for Room Rent Caps: Be cautious about policies with room rent capping, which limits the insurer’s contribution to room charges during hospitalisation. High room rent caps can result in additional out-of-pocket expenses.
- Understand Deductibles and Co-Payments: Gain a clear understanding of deductibles and co-payments. These elements affect your premium and out-of-pocket expenses. Choose them thoughtfully in alignment with your risk tolerance to ensure you save money on your health plan.
- Thoroughly Review the Policy Document: Before finalising your health insurance purchase, carefully read and comprehend the policy document, including all terms and conditions. Verify the accuracy of your personal and policy details, and don’t hesitate to seek clarification from the insurer or agent if you have any doubts or questions.
By adhering to this comprehensive checklist, you can select an appropriate health insurance policy in India that aligns with your specific needs and expectations. Always remember, health insurance is not just a financial product; it’s a safety net for your well-being.
However, it is a must to research well and use effective strategies, as explained above, to make sure you save on insurance policies and don’t overspend.
Disclaimer: Investments in the securities market are subject to market risks; read all the related documents carefully before investing.