10 questions you must ask before buying a health insurance
With so many options for health insurance, choosing a plan can be a tough task. Moreover, lack of awareness can sometimes make you choose a health insurance plan
that might not be the right one for you. The majority of us have a tendency to buy insurance that looks affordable, irrespective of whether it offers the required cover or not. Also, people have a strange habit of following the herd, like if our neighbor has bought a policy we tend to find it good and end up buying it without giving it a second thought. One must not get overwhelmed by offers or acquaintances; instead a deeper and insightful research is what we should ideally do before buying health insurance.
To help you settle for the right health insurance policy, here's a list of ten questions you must ask your insurer:
1. What type of a health plan it is?
The first thing that you must ask your insurer is the type of insurance plan that is best for you. There are three types of health insurance plans on offer - fixed benefit, mediclaim and critical illness. Go thoroughly through the benefits of each plan and then choose the one that best caters to your requirement.
2. What does the policy cover?
Policy coverage or inclusions is the set of conditions that are covered under the health insurance policy that can be claimed. The coverage of a health insurance policy may include hospitalization charges, pre and post hospitalization charges, ambulance services, laboratory tests, prescription drugs, organ donor charges and others. You must read the policy document carefully to understand the exact coverage on offer.
3. What the policy does not cover?
Policy exclusions are the conditions that the policy will not cover. Some insurance policies do not cover treatment of certain diseases in the first year, but after a waiting period. The exclusions in the policy may differ from one insurer to another, therefore being aware of these exclusions is equally important as that will help you decide which policy to buy.
4. Does your health insurance policy cover routine tests?
Certain health disorders require you to undergo routine medical check-ups. You must ask whether or not your plan will pay for your routine check-ups.
5. How much does the plan cost?
The cost of the plan is the monthly premium or the amount you pay per month to your insurer to keep your health cover active. Depending on the type of plan you choose and the amount of coverage you require, the cost can vary.
6. How is the policy premium determined?
When it comes to determining the premium you pay for your health plan, age is a major factor. The older you are, the more prone you are to diseases and so the premium cost will be higher. Previous medical history also plays a role in deciding your health premium. If you are healthy with a favorable medical history, your premium tends to be lower.
7. How much money will you have to pay for availing medical care?
Health insurance comes with certain out-of-pocket costs like deductible and coinsurance. This amount is what you will have to pay out of your own pocket when you receive medical care. Check with your insurance provider for these charges. Also, find out the cost percentage that your health plan will cover once you have paid the deductible.
8. Will you be able to avail treatment from your preferred doctor?
If you have a preferred doctor or hospital, check the list of network hospitals to ensure that you can avail their services or not since an out of network provider can turn out be very expensive.
9. What is the process for filing a claim?
It is always better to have an idea about the process of claim initiation, because emergencies can occur anytime without giving you any time. You must understand the claim process and the documents you will require for claim initiation. Insurers also offer cashless facilities, in which you can avail medical services without paying for it!
10. What is the maximum number of claims you can make in a year?
In general, there is no limit to the number of claims in a year, provided it does not exceed the sum assured of your policy. You must ask your insurer about your claim limit beforehand.
Create a check-list of these questions, and analyze all the available policy options on the basis of this. Another very critical thing to remember is that whichever plan your decide to opt for, go through the policy wordings carefully and completely before you sign the policy documents.
**To understand exactly about the policy coverage, exclusions etc read the Policy Wordings carefully.**