Health Insurance Checklist: What You Need to Know Before Enrolling

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Health Insurance Checklist: What You Need to Know Before Enrolling
Health Insurance Checklist: What You Need to Know Before Enrolling

New Delhi : Selecting a health insurance plan is a critical decision that can affect your family’s well-being. It may also positively influence their financial stability. With medical costs soaring, finding the right health insurance can feel overwhelming. The key is to know what to look for in a health insurance policy to ensure it meets your family's unique needs. Understanding certain factors can be crucial for routine check-ups, emergencies, or long-term care.

Understand Your Healthcare Needs

Before looking at different policies, assess your family's healthcare needs. Consider aspects like:

The age and health status of each family member

The frequency of doctor visits and regular medications

Any pre-existing conditions or chronic illnesses

Knowing these needs can help you choose a policy that offers adequate coverage.

Types of Health Insurance Plans

Learn about the various types of health insurance plans available:

Individual Health Insurance

This plan covers one person. It is suitable if you need coverage for yourself only.

Family Floater Policy

It covers the entire family under a single sum insured. This could be an ideal mediclaim policy for family coverage.

Senior Citizen Health Insurance

This plan is tailored for individuals above 60 years of age.

Group Health Insurance

It covers employees and sometimes their family members as well. These are typically offered by employers.

Coverage and Benefits

It can be beneficial to review the coverage and benefits of each policy. Ensure the policy includes:

Hospitalisation Expenses: These cover room rent, ICU charges, and nursing fees

Pre and Post-hospitalisation: These are the expenses incurred before and after hospitalisation

Daycare Procedures: This covers treatments that do not require a 24-hour hospital stay

Ambulance Charges: These are the costs of transportation to the hospital

Maternity Benefits: These are applicable for those planning to start/expand their family

No Claim Bonus (NCB): This is a discount on the premium for each claim-free year

Network Hospitals

Check the list of network hospitals associated with the insurance provider. Network hospitals offer cashless treatment. Here, the insurer settles the bill directly with the hospital. Ensure that your preferred hospitals are included in the network for convenience.

Sum Insured

The sum insured is the maximum amount the insurer will pay in case of a claim. Choose a sum insured that provides enough coverage for your family's medical needs. Consider the rising costs of healthcare and opt for a higher sum insured if possible.

Co-payment and Deductibles

Understand co-payment and deductibles:

Co-payment: The percentage of the claim amount you need to pay out of your pocket

Deductibles: The fixed amount you must pay before the insurer starts covering expenses

Lower co-payments and deductibles mean higher premiums. However, they also reduce your out-of-pocket expenses during a claim.

Exclusions and Waiting Periods

Every health insurance policy has exclusions and waiting periods. Exclusions are conditions and treatments not covered by the policy. Some examples include cosmetic surgeries or non-medical expenses. The waiting period is the time you need to wait before certain benefits become active. Common waiting periods include:

Initial Waiting Period: This period is usually 30 days from the policy start date

Pre-existing Conditions: These typically range from 2-4 years

Be sure to read the fine print and understand these terms before enrolling.

Premiums and Payment Options

You can compare the premiums of different policies to find one that fits your budget. Lower premiums can be quite attractive. However, they should not come at the cost of inadequate coverage. Also, check for flexible payment options like monthly, quarterly, or annual payments.

Claim Process

A smooth and hassle-free claim process is vital. Research the insurer’s claim settlement ratio. This is the percentage of claims settled by the insurer. Read reviews from existing customers. A high claim settlement ratio and positive reviews indicate a reliable insurer. Also, understand the claim filing process, documentation required, and the claim approval timeline.

Add-on Covers

Consider add-on covers to enhance your policy, such as:

Critical Illness Cover: Lump sum amount given upon diagnosis of severe illnesses

Accidental Death and Disability: Additional cover for accidents leading to death or disability

Hospital Cash Benefit: Daily cash allowance during hospitalisation

Maternity and Newborn Cover: For maternity expenses and newborn care

These add-ons increase the premium but provide comprehensive coverage tailored to your needs.

Tax Benefits

Health insurance premiums are eligible for tax deductions under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. The deductions are as follows:

Self and Family: Up to ₹25,000 per year

Senior Citizens: Up to ₹50,000 per year

Additional Cover for Parents: Up to ₹25,000 (₹50,000 if parents are senior citizens)

Ensure you take advantage of these tax benefits while planning your health insurance.


Portability allows you to switch from one insurer to another. This can be done without losing the benefits of your existing policy. This feature is useful if you are unhappy with your current insurer’s service or find a better plan. Ensure the new policy offers at least the same benefits and coverage as your existing one.

Customer Support

Good customer support is crucial for resolving queries and issues. Check if the insurer offers 24/7 customer support. It is ideal for them to have multiple communication channels, such as phone, email, and chat. A responsive customer service can make a difference during emergencies or claim processes.

Digital Tools and Services

Many insurers offer digital tools and services for convenience:

Mobile Apps: For policy management, premium payment, and claim tracking

Online Portals: To access policy documents, network hospitals, and health resources

Telemedicine Services: For online consultations with doctors

These tools enhance customer experience and make managing your health insurance easier.

Choosing a mediclaim policy for family needs involves careful consideration of various factors. Understand your healthcare needs, compare different plans, and scrutinise the policy details. By doing so, you can make an informed decision. Use this checklist to guide you through the process. This can help ensure you select a policy with comprehensive coverage and financial protection. Investing time and effort in choosing the right health insurance policy can pay off in the long run. This can thereby safeguard your family’s health and finances.