Saturday, March 12, 2011

Do You Have Health Insurance?

Well, this is a million dollar question. Yes and I mean it. According to a recent survey less than 5% of Indians are insured for their health expenditure. Thats actually the good part. The bad part is that 95% of them are either not insured or don’t know what it is.

The purpose of this article is to help people understand what it is and how to use it.

So, lets get started!!!

What is Health Insurance?

Health Insurance is just like any other form of insurance. Let’s take Automobile Insurance for comparison. Everyone who owns a car or a bike knows what it is. Lets say you swerve on the road to avoid a suddenly crossing dog on road and end up bumping the roadside lamp-post. This good deed of yours (trying to avoid running over that poor dog) would cost you thousands of rupees to repair your car. But, fortunately you have car insurance, and the insurance company covers nearly 90% of the expenses and you end up paying a few hundred rupees to get your car fixed “as good as new”

Yes, this is exactly what Health Insurance does. But, instead of your car or bike, its your body that is insured. Whenever you have any health ailment or any disease that requires medical treatment, the insurance company would happily pay for upto 90% of your expenses (Provided you are insured for that much) and you will be “as good as new” after the treatment...

Do we Need Health Insurance?

Yes. 100% Yes. Anyone who asks do we need health insurance needs to read the below paragraph...

Lets say, one fine morning, you wake up and realize that you are having a pain in your chest and it might be a heart attack. You are the only earning member of the family and your wife is a house wife and your kids are in school. You don’t have lakhs of money in your bank to pay for your heart treatment. What would your family do without you? Without the treatment they will be left to fend for themselves without a job and for the treatment you need a few lakhs of rupees which you don’t have either.

You need the treatment because, its a matter of life and death and your family needs you because they depend on you.

What do we do here?

“Health Insurance” is the answer my friend. If you had insured yourself, all this confusion could have been averted. You’d have got your treatment at a good hospital without having to shell out this lakhs of rupees and your family is relieved and happy that you are safe.

An Irony!!!

This is something I have been wondering for quite some time... many of us have bikes and cars and we all have insured them. Cars and bikes are just machines. You can always replace a damaged car or bike with a new one. Something that has just monetary value is insured and the human life and health, something that is invaluable and priceless isn’t treated with as much importance like a car of a bike.
People need to realize that life is precious and we need to ensure that we take good care of ourselves.

How to get Health Insured?

There are many insurance providers who provide health insurance policies. You can contact them and get the insurance. Some of the major insurance providers in the public and private sector are:

Public Sector Players:
1. National Insurance
2. United India Insurance
3. Oriental Insurance Company
4. New India Assurance

Private Sector Players:
1. TATA AIG
2. Chola MS
3. Iffco Tokio
4. Royal Sundaram
5. ICICI Lombard
6. Reliance General
7. HDFC Ergo

What kind of Protection do we need?

We need two important things here:
1. Personal Protection – The case where the policy holder (you and me) is covered for all ailments that involve hospitalization and treatment for the same. The amount that the insurance company would pay would depend on the premium we are willing to pay. This amount can be chosen by the insurer (Again you and me)
2. Family Floater Protection – The case where the family members of the policy holder (Wife, kids, dependant parents) are covered for all medical treatments. Again this would depend on the amount of premium we are willing to pay.
Note: All the above insurance companies i have mentioned in the previous paragraph provide both these protections. I personally suggest you include family floater protection to ensure that all members of your family have health insurance.

Things to Check before Insuring Ourselves

If you have decided that you are going to get yourself and your family health insured, its a great decision and i would like to personally appreciate you for that decision. But, there are a few things we need to check & verify before we sign the insurance papers. They are:
1. Read the whole insurance policy document. Make sure you understand what is covered and what is not.
2. NEVER EVER ASSUME ANYTHING
3. Make sure that the policy covers you and your family
4. Make sure that treatment for accidents is covered in the policy
5. Make sure you read the fineprints (The *s #s and other small prints on the bottom part of the document)
6. Make sure that the coverage includes critical illness cover (Ex: heart attack)
7. Make sure you disclose all existing health conditions of yourself and your family members. Many policies do not cover existing illnesses and not disclosing them can result in no coverage.
8. Find out everything about the claim process (You will need this because; sometimes we won’t have time to do paperwork for cashless hospitalization and hence opt to pay for the treatment. In such cases, we can get the money reimbursed through the claim process)
9. Find out about the claim settlement history of the insurance provider. An insurance company that has a history of rejecting insurance payments is probably not your best option.

To Wrap up, i would like to finish with the words that, health insurance is extremely important and it is always a good idea to have health insurance for us and our family members.

Happy Insuring Yourself!!!

8 comments:

  1. I think that it is quite important for anyone to have health insurance. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi

    Which Company got the best settelment history which U mention above..please update

    Thank You

    ReplyDelete
  3. @MHRWorld Photography

    Actually speaking public sector insurance companies have a better settlement history than private sector ones.

    And - If i start mentioning which insurance company is good/bad it would amount to advertisement or criticism which isnt the idea here :) Hope you understand!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. @Orlando

    Health Insurance is not an actual investment that provides any returns or profit. It is an investment on yourself and it will be most useful when you fall sick or need medical care.

    So, I cannot comment on how good an investment product this is.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you Anand..
    I was thinking to have Health Insurance and you blog contain very useful for me information regarding insurance.

    Real Estate Portal

    ReplyDelete
  6. Replies
    1. Thanks for the comments Pete. Yes, I agree. I wouldnt travel anywhere without a valid international medical insurance.

      Note to all Readers: I am not endorsing Cigna as a international medical insurance provider. This is just a comment in my blog and not advise to get insured with Cigna. Readers are advised to perform due diligence before signing for an insurance policy with any provider including Cigna.

      Anand

      Delete

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