A healthy mind in a healthy body is the key to success and is the most sought-after state. Spiritual, emotional, and financial health plays a significant role in one’s overall health. Medical experts have associated lower stress levels to improved mental & physical well being.
One of the leading resources on global health, the World Health Organization (WHO), defines wellness as a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. In current times, all aspects of health and wellness are interrelated and essential for a fulfilling life.
Good financial health is another aspect that can contribute to one’s better health, for instance, one may worry less about finances. Someone with spiritual health may feel a sense of calm and a purpose that further induces better mental health and well being.
This state of good health is needed in all life stages especially in retirement age. Old age on the doorstep and the pandemics like covid-19 lingering indefinitely, health insurance for senior citizens in India is a foremost necessity.
What is Health Insurance?
Health Insurance is a plan that covers medical expenses arising out of illness. The expenses incurred are covered as cost of medicines, hospitalization expenses, day care procedures, etc.
7 Types of Health Insurance Plans
1. Individual Health Insurance
Individual Health Insurance covers are offered to a person on an individual sum insured basis. The medical expenses are covered for hospitalization, surgery costs, room rent, etc. Every member that is covered will have an individual sum insured. Individuals in age bracket of 18 years to 70 years can choose to buy this plan.
2. Family floater health insurance plans
A family floater health insurance is the most affordable plan to give coverage to all family members. This policy is beneficial because the premium is comparatively lower than the Individual Health Insurance policy. This policy covers the policy bearer, spouse, children & parents. For family members above the age of 60 years, it is recommended to take a separate plan.
3. Group Health Insurance
A group health insurance for employees is a kind of benefit that you can provide your employees. The plan comes with a low cost premium, and the insurer along with dependents are usually covered in this plan. One important thing to note is that this cover ends when you stop working with the company.
4. Senior Citizens Health Insurance
This type of Health Insurance policy is designed for people above 6o years. Until recently there were very few senior citizen plans that were available, however, now there are many options available. Some companies also have a senior citizen health insurance premium calculator. A senior citizen policy covers the cost of medicines, hospitalization, pre and post hospitalization expenses. Some insurers may ask for a complete body checkup for this policy. The lifetime renewability option is also available in several policies.
5. Maternity Health Insurance
A maternity cover can be taken as a rider along with the basic Health insurance plan. Newly married couples or families who are planning a baby should buy this policy. Most plans under this cover prenatal, delivery, and postnatal expenses. The maternity cover usually has 2 years waiting period, however, new plans come regularly and one can check for maternity health insurance without waiting period.
6. Critical Illness Insurance
These are the plans that cover specific life-threatening diseases. These are diseases that require extensive treatment or even a transformation in lifestyle. The payout on critical illness insurance coverage depends on the cover chosen by the customer and not on the actual expenses that may be incurred in the hospital. Also, the payout is applicable only after the diagnosis of the disease for which original bills are not required. A critical illness plan usually covers diseases like:
Treatment for these diseases is an expensive affair and only critical illness insurance starts working as soon as the diagnosis has happened. A smart move for those who have had a family history of some diseases.
7. Top-Up Health Insurance
Top up plans are policies to seek coverage for higher amounts. This type of policy comes with a ‘Deductible Clause’. So when asking for the claim, the payment will be made over and above a defined limit mentioned in the policy. If you need a wider coverage on your existing plan then a super top- up health insurance premium ( top-up plans that work on total medical expenses and not per claim basis) is an economical option for a wide coverage.
Why do we need Adequate Health Insurance?
There is no matchable argument that can overshadow the importance of health insurance. With covid-19 competing to join the list of most deadliest diseases such as Stroke, Respiratory diseases, Tuberculosis, Diabetes, Malaria, and overuse of technology, sedentary lifestyle, the environment of adulterated food, and pollution, etc., a contingency plan is required . An adequate Health Insurance plan is of the utmost importance and people across the globe are getting more aware of this.
Close to the millennium years, the Public Healthcare Expenditure was on all-time high across the globe as shown in the below figure from -“Our World in Data” analysis chart.
A few of the factors contributing to this trend for India can be sheer ignorance on the need of Health Insurance or not taking it at the right time, leading to most people spending ‘out of pocket’ As the figure shows, nearly 62.4 % of the Indian households spent from their pockets by paying in the form of gratuities or in-kind payments. (Figure 2)
Another data from Statista Research Department depicts, the overall penetration of Health Insurance in India stood at just 35% as of FY 2018
Why Health Insurance is critical for Senior Citizens?
Post 60 is the time to relax and enjoy life with ample time available for oneself and family. To be retired and in old age also means there will be challenges with numerous ailments often knocking on the door. The lack of income in form of pension or earnings can be worrisome as one has to incur costs for expensive health treatments. Paradoxically, the minimal expense of an Adequate Health Insurance policy can save the day against big hospital bills. There are many senior citizen health insurance premium calculator also available to evaluate what a Health Insurance will cost for your age.
Various Benefits for health insurance for senior citizens above 60 years are:
1. Manage Rising Medical Treatment Costs
The medical treatment costs in India are also on a rise can put a dent to one’s pocket in case of a long hospitalization. Good Health Insurance can ensure that unfortunate expenses do not impact the finances in old age.
2. Critical Medical needs
In the time of need a person can avail the needed medical care for critical treatments related to heart, kidney, and other diseases.
3. Day Care Treatments
A day care treatment in health insurance is an important inclusion to look for when buying a policy. This inclusion gives access to numerous day care procedures covered under your policy.
4. Burdening Extra Costs
In case of hospitalization, the extra costs like pharmacy, OPD care, ambulance charges can also be covered by the Health Insurance Policy.
5. Pre-existing Diseases
People with pre-existing diseases might need extensive medical treatment with the rising age and this can be a burdensome expense post-retirement.
While government health insurance for senior citizens might be available for government employees, self employed individuals and those from the private sector can avail from best senior citizen health insurance policies available.
How much insurance is enough?
How has medicine changed over time is a wonder and modern medical treatment has gone leaps and bounds with new technologies like robotic surgery, deep brain stimulation, etc. accessible to people. There is no ideal recommended sum insured for a Senior Citizen but looking at ever-increasing morbidity rates and the rising cost of medical treatment, a cover of minimum 10-25 lacs would be required. A good base policy added with an option from the super top-up plans save the day at the time of long treatments and hospitalization.
Some benefits of taking health insurance early.
While there is no specific age for buying a Health Insurance plan, it is always advisable to take one as early as possible. An increasing age might reduce on benefits that one will avail. So, let’s see why it is better to buy at a younger age:
1. The earlier, the merrier!
When young one is least bothered about securing health through a health plan. But contrary to the general belief that diseases affect the older age group only, there has been a high rise in diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, etc. in the younger age group as well. Looking for insurance later in life and suffering from pre-existing diseases has a detrimental effect on the premium which will automatically increase the premium of the plan. Taking health insurance in 20s is amongst the best times to choose from.
2. Low premium health insurance
The higher the age of the policyholder the higher the probability of more premium for the same policy. A Health Insurance Plan at an early stage can get a much higher cover at a lower premium.
3. Lesser health insurance exclusions
Generally, Health Insurance companies apply exclusions for all your current & past diseases and might also keep in view the diseases you might get prone to, to keep the risk rate low. Health insurance bought when young and healthy gives a full-fledged health cover.
4.No Health Checkup
For a younger age person, in most cases the policyholder does not need to undergo a medical checkup. However, this might not be applicable for the older age group.
Therefore, health insurance without medical check-up in india has its best shot when taken early in life.
5. Sedentary Lifestyle
Technology and gadgets have been boon in making lives easier but have been contributors in hampering health and fitness indirectly. A sedentary lifestyle effects has caused problems of obesity, lower metabolism, higher BMI, increased cholesterol, and many such issues even in the early years.
6. Covers more than just hospitalization expenses in health insurance
If the need arises of using it in early years the plan can save on money not only just with hospitalization expenses but also with several other benefits such as covering for Ambulance charges, dietary services, dental, physiotherapy, pre and post hospitalization expenses, etc.
7. Tax benefits
Buying Health insurance is highly encouraged by the government, and thus backed with tax benefits. If you have health insurance, then you can avail tax-deductions on the total premium paid in a financial year. Other than that tax benefit on health insurance for parents and health insurance tax benefit for senior citizens are few other tax advantages that one can avail.