How To Choose The Best Health Insurance
Businessworld|September 21, 2015
How To Choose The Best Health Insurance
Choosing a health insurance plan on the basis of labels alone can be a dicey proposition. Instead, opt for the one that best meets your requirements.
Sunil Dhawan

We all want the very best in life. And when it comes to one’s family’s health, there is no question of compromise: one wants the best. But there is no such thing as the best plan; best is what works for you.

For instance, the plain vanilla health insurance plan with basic benefits is not necessarily inferior to the advanced or loaded plan. Buyers are, however, often made to buy the latter even when the basic plan can meet their needs. The advanced version, which goes by various names such as exclusive, gold, platinum, premium, has several additional benefits. For example, the sum insured (SI) could be allowed up to Rs 25 lakh or higher compared to Rs 3-5 lakh in the basic plan. Even claims for pre-existing diseases, typically allowed after 48 months, are considered only after 36 months. Some loaded versions include daily cash benefits and ambulance costs too. As advantegeous as the benefits are, they are hardly a requirement for people around 30 year of age or less; the basic plan is enough for them.

New plans are increasingly adding more benefits. Somesh Chandra, COO and CQO at Max Bupa says, “Insurance firms are offering an array of customer-centric features such as no capping of hospital accommodation; coverage for family under single policy; international cashless coverage; option to top up existing coverage and no co-payment, among many others.”

As needs are different and varied, looking for the ‘best’ health plan doesn’t hold good. Needs of young couples with no kids are different from that of middle-aged people with grown up children. Similarly, those nearing 60 have other requirements. As Bhaskar Jyoti Sarma, managing director and chief executive of SBI General Insurance, puts it, “The best plan for one person is not necessarily the best plan for the entire population. There is no “free size” when it comes to insurance buying.”

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September 21, 2015