To break down the nitty gritty of the importance of health insurance for growing children and for young adults, we spoke to insurance expert, Deepak Yohannan the CEO of MyInsuranceClub.com .
For 20 somethings, insurance doesn’t feature in the vocabulary. But in a world of fast cars and changing lifestyles, health is always subjected to stress and pressure. Hence, Mr. Yohannan stresses on the importance of health insurance in the 21st century. “Medical treatment in India is now a very expensive proposition. Hospitalisation in any of the good treatment centers can leave big holes in our pockets. It is always wise to be prepared for the unexpected expenditure, which can disrupt our finances considerably. One can never really plan for an accident or a disease and we should not be suffering from the lack of finances when such an unplanned event happens. And we are living in times where we are increasingly exposing ourselves to unhealthy lifestyles and food habits. So why take the risk when good health insurance covers are available at the cost of a few dinner bills?”
Deepak Yohannan gives us a few important parameters to keep in mind while scouting for a health insurance plan:
- "What is the amount of cover that you need? You will need to assess this yourself depending on your age, city you live in and hence the expected medical expenditure which you may incur.
- Does the health plan offer cashless facility in your preferred hospital? It makes sense to go in for a plan from an insurer who has a tie-up with a good hospital which is close to your place of stay. Network hospitals offer cashless treatment so it would be very convenient. Else you would have to pay and then claim the amount from the insurance company.
- Are there any sub-limits in the plan? A lot of plans have sub-limits on some of the claim parameters. For example, there may be a cap on the room rent. Some plans have these limits to pass on overall lower premiums to the consumer. There is nothing wrong with this, but ensure that you are aware of these and don't have to get any nasty surprises.”
But the question remains, is an expensive plan the best or should you opt for
a cheaper plan? Yohannan explains, “Low premium does not necessarily mean it is the best health insurance plan. Fortunately for us, the reverse also is not always true - the most expensive too may not be the most suitable one. India is a price-sensitive market and it holds true for the health insurance segment too. There is intense competition in the health insurance segment and this has ensured that great plans are available at reasonable premiums.”
But what about newborns. should we invest in their health at this tender age? “The earlier the better. Medical treatment is not age-elasctic. Just like any one of us, even a baby or a young adult can fall sick or meet wit an accident. And treatment costs will not really differ too much. So it is prudent to cover your child (or shall I say baby) also at the earliest.” says Yohannan.
But the burning question is, should a young adult invest in a health policy? A popular notion among these adults is that we are young, healthy and nothing major will affect us. To this Yohanna promptly replies, “It is best to go in for a health insurance plan as soon as you become financially independent. And health plans actually come very cheap and have to be paid only once a year. It's just that young minds don't always plan or even think of insurance as a priority. But awareness is increasing and it is a matter of time that health insurance would become top priority, especially when the expenses can be killing!”
Whether a young adult's reasons for ignoring health insurance is low income, high socialising costs, or sky-rocketing city real estate rents, it is still possible to invest in an affordable health insurance plan. Yohannan agrees that money is always scarce for young adults, “Yes, this is very true. So if you are employed with a corporate who has a group plan for all the employees, you can maybe turn a blind eye to health insurance for a few years. To give you an idea, a 20 year old can get a health plan of Rs. 2 lakhs from anywhere between Rs.3,000 to Rs. 7,000 per year. Now that shouldn't be too much of an amount to spare in a year.”
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images