Just over a year ago, a tiny virus made its entry into our lives and changed it forever. By March 2021, the COVID-19 virus had already infected over 120 million people across the world and had killed over 2.7 million of them. India also faced the brunt of it and had the second-highest number of infections, after the US. Just when things seemed to be getting back to normal, the second wave of the pandemic has hit India, after making its presence felt in several other countries. The unprecedented health catastrophe not only changed the world that we live in, but also challenged our perceptions about the importance and need for health insurance.
When the pandemic was at its peak, the medical bill for a 15-day-hospitalisation at a super-specialty hospital ran up to Rs 7.5 lakh. Moreover, the shocking fact was that less than four per cent of COVID-19 patients in India had health insurance coverage. It is not just the COVID crisis. A health emergency can strike any time and one should be prepared to face it. Health insurance can come handy in such situations.
Also, as the average lifespan increases, thanks to advances in medical science and healthcare, the potential costs associated with healthcare have also increased correspondingly. Add to this the rising incidents of modern stress-related illnesses, and we can understand why health insurance cover is so important for maintaining your financial and physical well-being. When it is time to buy or renew online health insurance, it is especially important to set out clear healthcare priorities and pick a health insurance plan which fits your current lifestyle.
Especially when it comes to insurance renewals, complacency might set in. Hence, to help you make the most of your health insurance renewal, here are seven points you must bear in mind.
1. Times change. So do your needs.
It’s important to remember that over the course of your life, your lifestyle and healthcare requirements also tend to change. With growing age, ailments like diabetes and hypertension are common. A person at an older age is also more susceptible to other health issues including critical illnesses. Just take the example of Coronavirus. Studies have shown that elderly people are more at risk from the COVID-19 virus. Existing health insurance plans can often be inadequate or insufficient to meet new requirements, if the plans were taken some years ago. Fortunately, there are flexible products that allow customers to augment their existing health insurance plans. One can consider going for a top-up plan, which is like a shield that kicks in once your basic medical insurance cover is exhausted. The medical costs above and beyond your basic medical cover are taken care of by this shield up to the limit of your top-up cover.
You can also choose a critical illness cover, which provides coverage for life-threatening diseases which require treatment over a long period of time. If covered, the individual or the nominee would get the coverage amount in lump sum immediately after he or she is diagnosed with a critical illness. This amount can pay for costs not covered by traditional health insurance.
2. Claim settlement record.
Let’s say you get yourself insured and when you fall sick, you also file a claim. But, what if that claim is rejected on frivolous grounds? Then you are left to fend for yourself precisely when you need support from your insurer. Hence, it’s important to review the claim settlement record of your insurer before renewing your health insurance plan. Bajaj Allianz could be a wise choice here as it has a good claim settlement ratio. Also, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance offers claim settlements within 60 minutes (terms and conditions apply). When you’re in need of urgent financial assistance, that that quick response could mean a lot.
3. Get wide coverage
Health insurance plans are only effective when they are widely accepted across a network of hospitals and clinics. Otherwise, it can become a hindrance to timely treatment. So you must ensure your insurer has tied up with major hospitals across the country for a hassle-free cashless health insurance claim settlement experience, especially the best hospitals in your city of residence.
4. Find the best value
Thanks to innovative health insurance products, the average health insurance premiums have been steadily declining. The burden of payment has been further eased by flexible EMI payment options, which makes health insurance plans extremely good value. It is imperative when you renew your policy that you get the best value for your money. Check what kind of features your insurer offers, what add-on benefits are available and how much of a no-claim-bonus are you getting.
5. Go with those who you trust
Trust and transparency are important factors when choosing a health insurance plan. Customers can now track the processing of their claims, and know exactly how much they’re entitled to under each plan. Insurers like Bajaj Allianz also have in-house health administration teams that ensure speedy resolution of pending claims, and fair assessments.
6. Read the fine print
To get the most out of your health insurance renewal, it’s important to carefully read what the health insurance plan entails. Being aware of the provisions of the health insurance plan helps customers judge the suitability of the plan to their evolving healthcare requirements.
7. Stop to compare
All of the aforementioned factors can only be properly accounted for when you compare health insurance plans by other companies. Such comparisons also help consumers understand the range of products and offerings available in the market, and which product fits your healthcare needs the best. If you feel your insurer is not providing you the best value for the premium that you are paying, it is a good idea to consider an insurer that is reliable and trustworthy.
You could consider Health Guard policy by Bajaj Allianz General Insurance which not only covers your hospitalisation costs, but also pre-hospitalisation and post-hospitalisation expenses up to 60 and 90 days, respectively. Moreover, if you exhaust the entire sum insured due to a certain illness in a policy year, the Health Guard plan reinstates the entire amount for future claims subject to certain conditions. The plan also increases the cover amount by 10 per cent for every claim-free year. This bonus can go up to 100 per cent of the basic sum assured (terms and conditions apply). The best part is that Bajaj Allianz has tied up with more than 6500 partner hospitals across the country so you can be assured of the best possible treatment no matter where you live.
These are just some of the most essential factors to consider before renewing a health insurance plan. It’s important to take care of these salient points while renewing your policy. It could be the difference between living a secure, healthy and happy life, and being left perpetually stressed by potential healthcare costs. Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms and conditions, please read sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.
Image Credit: Bajaj Allianz General Insurance
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