What are the benefits of having health insurance?
There is a famous saying, "You can take the horse to the water, but you can't make it drink it." Many health insurance policyholders, unfortunately, fall within the purview of this saying. While health insurance policies offer a massive range of benefits, many of these benefits simply remain unused due to a lack of awareness. Here we will discuss the benefits that your health insurance might be offering, but you may never have considered using them. The idea is to maximise the utility of the health insurance premium and get the maximum possible benefits from your money!
1. Alternative treatment and therapies
Mainstream medical treatments follow the allopathic course of treatment. Most insurance policies offer substantial coverage for allopathic treatments that are typically availed at hospitals and conventional clinics. Many new health and medical insurance policies are offering insurance coverage for alternative therapies and medical treatments. With rising awareness and popularisation of a natural lifestyle approach in India, alternative methodologies under AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy) are also being covered under healthcare policies! There is usually a capping on the total sum insured for these alternative therapies. An insured person can only file a claim against these therapies for treatments availed at government hospitals or private healthcare institutions approved by the Quality Council of India and the National Accreditation Board on Health.
2. Domiciliary Treatment
The domiciliary treatment essentially refers to any treatment available at home rather than at a hospital or an approved healthcare facility. Imagine a situation where an insured person simply cannot make his/her way to the hospital on account of the prevailing medical issue (s). In such a case, the treatment can be availed at home. Any expenses incurred for treatment of the insured person at home are covered under several health insurance policies. Many insurance policies offer reimbursement for domiciliary treatment; however, there is usually an upper limit on the coverage for domiciliary treatment, usually 10% of the total sum insured.
3. Convalescence benefits for the insured
The general misconception about insurance coverage is that it is only available at active hospitalisation for different approved procedures. However, medical insurance policies also offer insurance coverage known a convalescent coverage. Convalescent benefits are the insurance benefits that an insured person can avail during his recovery period for any incurred costs due to the hospitalisation. These benefits are typically offered as compensation for situations where the insured person has missed the salary due to hospitalisation. Under a few policies, insurance coverage is given as a lump sum payout if the person has been hospitalised for a specified period.
4. Tax benefits under The Income Tax Act, 1961
As per the Income Tax Act, 1961 health insurance holders are also eligible for tax benefits under section 80D of the act. It is a way for the government to encourage individuals to subscribe to a health insurance policy. As per the Income Tax Act 1961, insured persons can avail of tax benefits as follows –
5. Increase insured sum of insurance for the same premium
|Scenario||Premium paid (Rs)|| ||Deduction under 80D (Rs)|
| ||Self , family , children||Parents|
|Individual as well as parents below 60 years of age||Rs. 25,000||Rs. 25,000||Rs. 50,000|
|Individual and dependants below 60 years of age but parents above 60 years of age||Rs. 25,000||Rs. 50,000||Rs. 75,000|
|All members above 60 years of age||Rs. 50,000||Rs. 50,000||Rs. 1,00,000|
One of the major advantages of having a good health insurance policy is that it seldom goes to waste. Even if you do not need insurance coverage in a given year, your premium payment will not waste. If you do not file a claim against the policy in a year, you are eligible for a no-claim bonus. When no claim is made against a health insurance policy, a specific amount is added to the insurance amount for the next year. This allows you to avail of greater coverage without paying an additional premium for the same.
6. Day-care treatment and procedures
Several crucial treatments or therapies do not require the patient to be hospitalised. Some of these treatments are chemotherapy, cataract surgery, rhinoplasty and so on. Insurance policies do offer coverage toward the cost of these procedures too. These expenses are referred to as day-care expenses since they are incurred over a day rather than over a long period of hospitalisation. Therefore, one-day procedures, especially those extremely expensive and heavy on the pocket, are covered under the insurance plan you purchase.
7. Cashless payment at the hospital of your choice
A major hassle of being hospitalised is handling and managing the bills and payments to the hospitals. Moreover, following discharge, a tedious and lengthy procedure needs to be followed to seek compensation from the insurance company by submitting reimbursement forms and waiting for their approvals. Undoubtedly, it takes a toll on a person's mental health. An extremely convenient option that is generally offered by insurance companies today is that of cashless treatment and hospitalisation. In effect, the insurer will settle your hospitalisation costs, up to the limit of the sum insured, directly with the hospital or healthcare facility chosen. The only condition is that the treatment should be availed of a partner hospital listed on the insurer's network. This minimises hassle and stress at your end and ensures prompt redressal of your financial needs in a difficult time.
8. Comprehensive medical coverage
Medical insurance policies also offer the insured person coverage against comprehensive issues that arise at a medical emergency. Insurance policies cover the entire costs associated with hospitalisation (more than 24 hours), including room rent, nursing services, ICU or CCU usage, and so on. Further, several insurers also provide for expenses incurred after discharge towards the same ailment for which the hospitalisation was necessitated. This can include doctor's visits, follow up scans and so on. If a patient requires an ambulance, insurance policies do offer insurance coverage for the ambulance charges. The idea is to offer a wholesome package that ensures comprehensive medical coverage to allow the insured person to avail of the best treatment available.
A new inclusion into most health insurance policies is the option of porting from one insurer to another insurer. The portability feature allows the insured person to migrate to another insurer if he/she is dissatisfied with the services or dealings of the insurer while retaining the accumulated benefits. This allows for the insured person to receive the attention that he/she deserves and ensures that insurance service providers offer quality services to their customers.
10. Renewable over a lifetime
This feature of health insurance policies allows an existing customer to continue renewing the coverage for the rest of life, if they wish to, regardless of what their age is at the time of renewal. This option is available as long as they purchase the insurance policy at an age within the upper age limit approved by the insurer. The main advantage that the renewability feature offers to the insured persons is convenience and financial security in old age.
11. OPD expenses
While the concept is still new, insurance companies now allow for claims for reimbursement toward any costs incurred in the out-patient department (OPD) of a hospital by the insured person. Typically, insured persons can only seek insurance coverage if they have been hospitalised for a period that is longer than a full day or 24 hours. However, some insurance policy providers do not require that specific criterion any longer since they offer coverage against OPD expenses for the insured patients.
12. Maternity coverage
The birth of a child is extremely stressful in terms of financial resources. Having an insurance policy that offers maternity coverage is extremely crucial to avoid the sudden onslaught on your financials. Health insurance companies now offer maternity benefits such as insurance coverage toward childbirth, any surgical procedures involved for the birth of a child, vaccination costs incurred after the birth of the child, and so on.
13. Ability to purchase policies online
In today's day and age, going physically to the insurance company's office to select a health insurance policy and then purchasing it is rare. Therefore, health insurance companies also allow you to make online purchases of any medical insurance policy of your choice that they offer. While the insurance company offers a comprehensive overview of the merits of a given health insurance policy, you are free to make your choice regarding which health insurance policy you wish to purchase.
Insurance is an absolute requirement due to the challenges of uncertainty and unpredictability of life. Without insurance, your financials can hardly ever be secure, especially in the event of any medical emergency. Therefore, rather than passing up on your selection of a quality health insurance plan or policy for yourself and your family, be sure to know the advantages that having a quality health insurance policy can provide. Once you do select a plan, be sure to take complete advantage of all the benefits on offer.