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Five mistakes to avoid while buying health insurance

Zee Business logo Zee Business 19-09-2020 (Zee Business)
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During these unprecedented times with COVD-19, our priorities and perception towards life have changed in many ways. People have realised the importance of health and taking care of it from the early days of life. The world we live in today is already full of uncertainties and prioritising our health has become one of our major tasks. We need to have a financial backup as medical costs are skyrocketing. Many have now understood the importance of having a health insurance policy, but people often fail to buy the right one that suits their requirements. 

Here are a few suggestions that one should consider while purchasing a health insurance policy, which is now easily available online in a contactless manner. 

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Never ignore exclusions: Exclusions are situations that are at times not covered by your insurer. People often only go through the coverage offered by the insurer and do not pay attention to exclusions. Avoiding these exclusions will result in higher chances of rejection of claim and can cause trouble at the time of need. Therefore, rushing to buy a policy without going through the exclusion and terms of the policy is not advisable. One can get all the information from the insurer’s website and can make decisions wisely. 

Medical history: Some people tend to hide their existing medical ailments or past medical history while purchasing the health insurance plan either due to the fear of the proposal being rejected by the insurance company or premiums getting higher. To avoid any unpleasant experience at the time of claim it is wise to disclose all the medical conditions and get the same recorded in the policy. People generally do not understand that their claim is bound to be rejected at a later stage due to fraudulent suppression of medical history. Insurance contracts are based on the utmost good faith, so one must be truthful and provide accurate information while buying a health insurance plan. Not being honest will not only lead to a monetary loss in terms of the premium paid but also lead to the rejection of the claim at a time when we need the money most. Also a non-disclosure history gets recorded at an industry level which might minimize the chances of getting any alternative insurance arrangements.  

Check for network hospitals: The cashless scheme feature is one of the benefits that health insurance companies highlight while selling their insurance plan. Under this, the policyholder does not need to spend any money from his or her pocket, since the network hospital would recover the medical expenses directly from the insurer. Therefore, before signing the policy document, the policyholder should carefully review the list of network hospitals and ensure that the major ones are included in the list. Also check for any co-payment applicable for going to any specific hospital. 

Under-insuring yourself: Under section 80D of the Income Tax Act, health insurance helps a policyholder to save tax. But one should not buy and see it only as a tax-saving product. Customers should prioritise and purchase the health insurance policy to cover the health risk that might arise in the future – COVID-19 being one of the best examples. Customers now even have the option to choose the insurance coverage that fits their needs and customise it accordingly. Customers should first jot down their requirements and search for medical insurance plans. This will ensure that they have the coverages that they would actually require and also a sum insured that will not leave you under-protected.  

Invest ample time and read through the documents: A health insurance policy has a lot of terms and conditions that a policyholder must read through. New-age insurers have already understood the customer pain points and are offering simple documents with terms and conditions that are easy to comprehend.  Before buying the policy, customers should go through the terms and conditions and be completely aware of what is written in the policy document. With the contactless insurance, now all the terms and conditions are present in the insurers’ website, and you will have easy access to these pages. Know your requirements and make the right decision. One should specially go through the conditions on room rent, proportional deductions, co-payments, waiting periods and interpretation of the coverages. 

Making a mistake while buying health insurance is quite common but doing background research and going through all the details will work wonders and help you with your decision. If you have not bought your health insurance policy yet, it is the right time to buy one for you and your family. 

(Authored by Dr. Sudha, Head, Health and Travel at Digit Insurance)

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