Healthcare in a country like India is costly. Hospitalization can burn a big hole in your pocket even for minor infections or ailments. Prolonged treatment for a disease can have drastic effects on your financial situation. You should prepare against such unexpected medical emergencies. The smartest way is to get yourself covered under a medical or health insurance plan.
Awareness about medical insurance in India is relatively low. While choosing a job, for instance, not many people attempt to find out if the company provides medical insurance cover for its employees. Let’s try to learn about health insurance in India and whether you should choose a comprehensive health insurance plan or a disease-specific one.
What is covered by health insurance?
A health insurance plan protects you against hospitalization expenses and some day-care expenses. The insurer pays specified amounts to cover the costs incurred on the treatment. You can acquire a significant cover by paying relatively small premiums, as per the health insurance policy agreement. Usually, costs towards check-ups done during illness, medical tests, hospitalisation, emergency room services, surgery, ambulance charges and even prescription medicines, are covered in part or whole. These health insurance plans can be availed for individuals as well as for an entire family in the form of family plans.
Options for Health Insurance Policies
As mentioned earlier, one can opt for comprehensive health insurance or disease-specific health insurance in our country. Here are some differences between the two.
Comprehensive Health Plan
In layman’s terms, this is what people mean by health insurance most of the time. These policies provide cover against a lot of medical conditions including some diseases, based on the policy you have chosen. You get to choose the policy and decide the plan of action. All major health issues are covered under the scheme. Paying one premium, you cover several diseases. You can guess the amount you save as a result of buying this plan.
Disease-Specific Health Plan
As the name suggests, a disease-specific medical insurance plan provides cover against one disease. You need not submit bills to avail the benefits. The plans are usually available only for life threatening diseases like heart ailments and cancer.
Advantages of such a health plan is that it’ll pay the benefits upon diagnosis itself, without looking at the bills. This kind of policy provides cover during all stages of the illness. Paying one premium, you cover only one disease.
Disease specific health plans usually offer better coverage for the illness than a comprehensive plan and at a lower price. Since, life threatening illnesses usually cost a lot to treat, these plans complement a comprehensive health plan instead of replacing them.
What should you choose?
Getting a comprehensive medical insurance plan over disease-specific is advisable. Here’s why:
It provides cover against all major and minor health issues. Also, if you are looking for a floater plan for your family, a comprehensive health insurance policy is a perfect choice as it covers all the members of your family irrespective of whether they are high risk or low risk.
Most common illnesses are usually covered, but you can also add riders to cover critical illness under a single scheme. For example, if there prevails a family history of a ailment, and the insurance does not cover, you can add a rider and get coverage by paying an additional premium.
Moreover, you can also top-up your comprehensive health insurance cover during the policy term, and the top up would apply to all the diseases covered under your standard medical insurance plan. A top-up in case of a disease-specific insurance plan would apply to a specific illness.
Diseases act unpredictably. Sometimes, a primary disease may offshoot and lead to secondary diseases. If you avail a disease-specific cover, it may not be helpful against secondary illnesses and leave you helpless. On the other hand, a comprehensive health insurance plan will be beneficial and take care of the secondary illness as well, and is, therefore, much more practical.
It would be advisable to get a complete health insurance cover for your entire family. You should also consider disease-specific health insurance especially if you have a family history of life threatening illness. However, your basic health care should be comprehensive so that it offers you protection against a wider range of illnesses.