Busting myths around senior citizen health insurance

Last Updated 08 December 2019, 16:48 IST

Healthcare persists to remain a critical lifeline for elderly citizens as they grow old. However, over the two decades, out-of-pocket health expenditures for aging adults are expected to increase manifold.

Considering the existing rate of medical inflation in India, adequate health insurance has become essential, especially if your parents are senior citizens. Due to the verity of life, we need to embrace an increase in the list of medical ailments. This calls for medical attention and comprehensive health insurance which tackles the financial lumber of medical expenses. Whether it is surgery, a life-threatening disease or regular medical check-ups, the bills are many times unaffordable. A health insurance plan ensures these bills are taken care of.

Senior citizens intend to maintain their dignity and lead an independent life post-retirement. A senior citizen pays approximately between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 every year in health insurance premiums, depending on the health of the insured and policy benefits. Hence, senior citizen health insurance plans cogitate the needs and requirements of individuals 60 years old or above. A senior citizen’s health insurance plan offers several benefits such as cashless admission, routine health check-ups, free-of-cost ambulance facility, and coverage for critical illnesses, etc.

A cloud of myths and misconception refrains people to purchase health insurance for their aging parents. Below are a few myths which need to be broken while purchasing a health insurance cover for your parents or a senior citizen:

Group insurance is adequate

Many organizations cover their employees under corporate group health insurance policies as a part of their employee welfare program. However, if you are covered under your employer-provided health insurance cover, do not disregard the significance of having individual health insurance for your parents. Though corporate group policies are beneficial, they might not extend cover to your aged parents or a dependent, which requires you to make co-payments, etc. In addition, your policy will only be applicable until the time you are employed with your current organization. Hence, the widespread notion to have a group health insurance is adequate is incorrect.

One cannot purchase health insurance if they have pre-existing diseases/conditions Several buyers fret about the pre-existing health conditions component of the policy. As a result of this, many people do not enroll for a health insurance policy considering the fact that their parents are ineligible for the policy. Health insurance policies cover pre-existing diseases/conditions either from Day 1 or have a waiting period ranging from 1-4 years. A policyholder can raise a claim once the waiting period is over against their pre-existing disease. It’s best advised for a policy buyer to disclose their medical conditions to the insurer so as to avoid claim rejection.

Fit people do not require health insurance

Maintaining a healthy life is good but just being healthy does not protect you from unanticipated incidents akin to ill health or accidents. Diseases similar to malaria and dengue or critical illness like cancer can be contracted even by the fittest of individuals. The premiums for healthy individuals will be less costly and while you are healthy, you shall exhaust the waiting period to get maximum benefits of your health coverage.

Health Insurance has traditionally been focused only on ‘financial coverage’ and protection. However, it is also necessary to focus on the ‘Care’ aspect of health insurance. The retirement period is the golden era of an individual’s life. Apt health insurance is quintessential for one to enjoy these golden years to the fullest.

(The writer is Chief Executive Officer, Aditya Birla Health Insurance Co. Ltd.)

(Published 08 December 2019, 14:37 IST)

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