"Caring for our seniors is perhaps the greatest responsibility we have. Those who walked before us have given so much and made possible the life we all enjoy."
- John Hoeven
Have you availed adequate health protection for your loved ones? What about the senior citizens at your home? No yet? Well, if you haven’t taken out an insurance policy for your parents or grandparents, this article is for you.
The need to have adequate health cover only gets more important as one grows older given that the ailments related to growing old
If you have senior citizens in your family who have been without a health cover, it is high time you consider getting them a plan. Although the choices are limited, there are still some great policies at your disposal to choose from.
Now, before you choose a policy for your loved ones, here are six essential elements to look at and keep in mind to ensure you select the most suitable plan:
It is important that the senior citizen health insurance plan you choose covers a broad range of illnesses, especially critical ailments, given that chances of suffering from such incidences are higher as one gets old. The policy that you choose to cover the senior citizen should take care of most of the expenses with no limit on room rent and pre and post hospitalization expense.
Also, make sure to go through all of the terms and conditions and exceptions (what the policy does not cover). The best policy would be the one that offers the most coverage with pocket-friendly premiums and the least exceptions.
- Waiting period
The waiting period is a period of time that must pass before coverage is made available and claims can be submitted. When the waiting period gets over, the insured individual becomes eligible to get the required cover. There is usually an initial waiting period of 30 days before the coverage becomes active and a waiting period of 1-4 years for covering pre-existing diseases. Some policies even have specific waiting periods for certain treatments. When you are looking to buy a cover for senior citizens, it would be wise to look for policies that have a lesser waiting period for pre-existing ailments.
The premiums for health insurance plans for senior citizens are usually high because the chances that the senior individual will require hospitalization are more. But the rates should not be a reason to keep you from buying a health plan for senior citizens. Besides age, insurance companies take into account other factors as well while determining the premiums. Healthier senior citizens can benefit from lower premium rates on their health insurance plans.
- OPD Benefit
Out Patient Department cover is a feature offered in many policies whereby the insured individual can claim for expenses such as pharmacy bills, consultation, dental treatment expense, etc. Some health insurance companies only cover hospitalization expenses, thus limiting the scope of
Another factor you need to consider is the sub-limits placed by the health insurance companies. There are two kinds of limits that insurance companies tend to place - the first on the hospital room rent and the second on the sum set aside for specific ailments. In most cases, a policy without sub-limits has a higher premium as compared to one with sub-limits. Make sure to compare the sub-limits of different policies and choose a plan after considering the budget and the senior individual’s health history.
Most of the health insurance plans that cover senior citizens come with a co-payment clause. Here, you, the policyholder, will be responsible for bearing a percentage of the medical expense. For instance, if the policy has a co-pay clause of 20%, it would mean that you have to bear 20% of the medical costs, while the remaining 80% will be paid by the insurance company. Co-payment clause can be of different types - co-pay for treatments at non-network hospitals, age-linked co-pay (applicable to insured individuals above a certain age, like 60 years old), zone linked co-pay etc. Now since the chances of a senior citizen filing a health insurance claim are higher, it is advisable to go for policies with little to no co-payment. Co-payment does not reduce the sum insured.
Before narrowing down on a policy for your loved ones who have crossed the age of 60, it is important to understand and compare all the policy options in the market to see which would best suit the needs. See to it that you’re completely honest with the insurance company and disclose any past treatment that the senior individual you are