“It’s no coincidence that four of the six letters in health are HEAL”- Ed Northstrum
Due to high medical costs, health insurance has become a need of the hour. Further, in the new age, our susceptibility to risks has also increased. Some of these risks can become a reason of unforeseen hospitalization, and thus, cause a financial burden on you and your family. According to the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO), the cost of medical treatment has increased tremendously, outdoing the average inflation rate, both in rural and urban India, over the last few years.
Health insurance policies can act as a savior in such times by covering financial losses to a great extent. With the right health insurance policy, you can protect yourself and your family from unexpected financial loss that may arise due to ailments.
However, most people shirk from buying health insurance policies in India as they consider them as a wasteful expenditure. Even those who buy it, do it for tax benefits. But in reality, health insurance policies play an imperative role by ensuring that your savings remain intact and goes towards fulfilling your family’s dreams and not towards paying medical bills. Also, health policies are beneficial in various ways as insurers foot the bill for associated medical expenses and also offer value-added services. Here are some hidden benefits offered by health insurance policies that sometimes remain unutilized due to lack of awareness.
- Daily hospital cash allowance: Usually, all mediclaim insurance plans cover hospitalization costs. However, what about other miscellaneous expenses incurred on food and refreshments? Or the amount spent by your family members while commuting between hospital and home? If you add all these expenses, the final amount becomes substantial. To give a quick relief from these expenses, insurers have now started offering daily hospital cash allowance.
- Convalescence Benefit: Also called recovery benefit, this feature takes care of the insured’s recovery expenses. The insurer gives a lump sum amount to supplement costs due to hospitalization for 10 consecutive days or more. Some health insurance plans consider post-hospitalization stage as the recuperating period.
- Alternative treatment: Undeniably, India has an unmatched heritage of ancient systems of medicines which are known for both preventive and health care systems. In the last few years, a surge has been recorded in the popularity of alternative therapies, such as ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homoeopathy (AYUSH). The growing inclination of people towards this ancient system of treatment has also encouraged insurance companies to include AYUSH in their policy coverage. However, insurance companies cover such treatments only if they take place in government hospitals or at an institute recognized by the Quality Council of India and the National Accreditation Board on Health.
- Domiciliary treatment: Most of the people think that the scope of health insurance is restricted to hospitalization or day care procedures only. However, many insurers have expanded their ambit to cover domiciliary treatment i.e., treatment taken place at home under doctor’s supervision.
- Free health checkup: Health insurers also offer free health checkup after every four or five claim-free years. These test findings are considered only if the insured wants to increase its sum insured at the time of policy renewal. A policyholder is not required to pay fees if tests are done at an empaneled center. In case of tests done at non-network diagnostic centers, one can later file for reimbursement.
- Bariatric (weight loss) surgeries: Gone are those days when bariatric surgeries were only considered as cosmetic procedures. Now these are known as life-saving techniques for people who are battling with medical conditions which are either caused by or related to weight. As a result, insurers cover bariatric surgeries if they are done due to medical reasons.
- Organ donor expenses: Be it heart, kidney or liver, India has seen a good increase in the number of organ donation While organ transplantation is savior, it also puts tremendous strain on the patient and family— both financially and emotionally. Apart from the cost of organ donation, the cost of organ recipient’s treatment is also included in hospital bills. To deal with this issue, many insurance companies have started covering both organ recipient and donor expenses up to the sum insured.
- Attendant allowance: Many insurance companies offer attendant allowance to adults accompanying the insured child at a hospital. The allowance amount could vary as per the insurance company and the policy.
- Lump sum for critical ailments: Some insurance policies pay a benefit amount upon diagnosis of certain critical ailments, such as cancer, stroke, paralysis, and heart valve during the policy tenure. Some high-end health policies also give a lump sum amount as survival benefits after discharge.
- Domestic Road Emergency Ambulance Cover: Some insurers reimburse the reasonable expenses incurred on availing an ambulance service in case of some medical emergency.
- Terrorism and acts of terrorism coverage: Many insurance policies cover injuries afflicted due to terrorism acts within the policy tenure.
- Free health line: Various insurance companies offer free and confidential healthcare information service with registered doctors. In case of any health issue, a policyholder can call a team of doctors and seek medical guidance.
- Other Value-added services: Various insurers have partnered with leading hospitals and wellness centers to provide additional services, such as special offers, and discounts, to their policyholders. Also, you can show your health card to avail discounts while shopping at participating outlets, such as Adidas, Reebok, and Indian Terrain.
Remember, misfortunes never announce their arrivals. Health insurance policies not only play an imperative role in shielding you against exorbitant medical expenses, they also offer a range of benefits that can help you in the long run. So make the most of it!