Putting aside adequate resources for healthcare needs has become a major concern for Indian citizens. While innovations in healthcare are constant, people are also living longer and consequently facing newer and pervasive healthcare challenges. These circumstances have necessitated a greater focus on healthcare expenditures and are compelling people to think about overwhelming medical expenditures over the long term. Even routine medical expenses can add up and create a significant dent in the financial savings of younger families as well.
It is no surprise therefore that health insurance is a growing domain in the insurance sector. More and more companies are offering a wide range of insurance services that relate to healthcare. For the uninitiated it can easily overwhelm and confuse if they are not fully aware of requirements and terms. Sometimes it is necessary to look to reliable sources for guidance and assistance.
A Look at Indian Healthcare
The healthcare sector is witnessing new technological innovations that are revolutionizing the way healthcare providers are delivering patient care. However a lot of service providers and pharma companies are still at the nascent phase of absorbing the benefits of these new technologies. as a result of this healthcare is in a transitional phase.
On one hand there are millions, especially in urban, metropolitan economic centres, who are benefitting from upgraded healthcare facilities. While on the other hand there are millions more who are unable to avail of these benefits and have to make do with basic patient care and even face the problem of inadequate doctor to patient ratios. In addition, the amount of resources allocated to building up preventive health facilities while on the rise, is still not enough to account for the large numbers who have yet to gain access to them.
All these factors play a major role in driving up the cost of healthcare in the country, so much so that out-of-pocket medical expenditures account for a large chunk of financial expenses for most Indians. Depending on the medical condition to be treated, it might also require the families of patients to dip into their savings. Not only is this unadvisable but also unwanted. Health insurance offerings have increased and become more competitive over time. Individuals by themselves might miss out on crucial aspects of health plans and coverage if they attempt to navigate these waters by themselves. It is advisable therefore to consult an advisor with comprehensive knowledge of the domain for the best results.
The Need for Financial Advisors
These days it is a necessity for all families to have proper health coverage. These could be for routine medical expenses, for sudden medical needs, or for long-term healthcare requirements. While it is advisable to create a steady and ongoing health plan a few years before retirement, it is also necessary to create a strong financial buffer for healthcare needs early on. In order to do this it is often necessary to enlist the help of a professional who already has reliable knowledge of health insurance options and can advise families and individuals based on their needs.
While insurance agents can also provide crucial knowledge to customers, the obvious benefit of having a financial advisor is they will be aligned to your objectives and can provide impartial guidance on healthcare benefits.
Moreover, there are a plethora of factors for health insurance to take into account before choosing the correct policy. An advisor will not only be able to guide you through all of them, but also provide valuable inputs on coverage and tax benefits.
Guidance Offered by Advisors
Applicants often fail to consider the impact their lifestyle choices have on their health insurance premium. Advisors can increase customers and applicants on whether lifestyle preferences like smoking or drinking will have a resultant increase in health insurance costs. They will also be able to provide insights on whether conditions like diabetes or obesity will affect their health insurance premiums. These might seem like tangential concerns, but an advisor’s able guidance should be able to highlight their importance in the application process.
The empanelled hospitals in a policy should be able to provide the level of care that customers are looking for. This can be significantly important to applicants in the long run. Since insurance companies have tie-ups with hospitals to offer the benefit of cashless treatment, an advisor will encourage due diligence in order to determine if patients an avail of this benefit at all times. For instance a health plan may not make provision for cashless hospitalization in case of an emergency. Similarly cashless admission may be allowed only during fixed hours.
Conditions and Exclusions:
All insurance documents come with detailed fine print that must be thoroughly understood in order to gauge their full implications and the limitations under the given circumstances. In order to avoid future disappointment and regret, it is best to seek the help of an advisor in determining whether any exclusion clauses apply to you or your family members. This is especially true for co-payment clauses. Depending on the person’s age or health, an advisor will be able to provide impartial advice on whether it is better to opt for co-payment clauses or not. For instance, if the individual is older and suffers from chronic medical conditions then it would not be advisable as the ultimate cost of hospitalization will be quite hefty. If on the other hand the individual is young and healthy then they could opt for a co-payment policy which would allow them to save on their insurance premium.
Having a family or dependents changes the health insurance needs of a family. An advisor will take the time to assess an applicant’s family situation and provide relevant information on the kind of health coverage needed. Factors like age, pre existing medical conditions and family medical history play an important role.
Mediclaim or Family Floater Plan:
This is one of the most important aspects of buying health insurance. As a single individual it might seem like an easy choice to opt for a Mediclaim insurance policy. However it should be taken into account whether there are dependents in the family. An individual Mediclaim insurance policy will only look after the health needs of the insured party. If however, there are dependents like older parents or other retired relatives, then an advisor would be able to point an individual towards the correct form of family floater plan. this would also hold true in case of a young family. While the probability of being hospitalized or incurring heavy medical expenses would be less, it would insure the family against unaccounted emergencies and situations.