What are Senior Citizen Health Plans?
These are health plans that cover a person only once they become senior citizens. Most insurers consider the age of 60 years and above as senior citizen. There is no maximum ceasing coverage age and the policy can be renewed for lifetime.
However, most insurers will not permit you to buy a fresh policy beyond the age of 80. The maximum cover can vary depending on the premium you pay from Rs 1 Lakh to Rs 60 Lakh. Like normal health insurance policies, these policies cover a host of medical emergencies and critical illnesses. Some of the benefits are:
Hospitalization expenses and treatment for critical illness - Hospital expenses are covered after 24 hrs hospitalization. The cover is mainly for doctor's fees, room charges, cost of medicines, nurse fees and specialist fees. The per day limit of hospital cover varies from insurer to insurer.
Cashless mediclaim in all network hospitals- Each insurer will provide the list of network hospitals at the time of starting the policy.
Day care procedures expenses- These are expenses for minor surgeries that can complete in a day due to medical advancements for example cataract, Chemotherapy, Dialysis etc.
Ambulance charges- This is usually upto Rs 1000 per hospitalization.
Pre and Post Hospitalization expenses- This is normally covered for one month pre hospitalization and 2 months post hospitalization.
Things to remember
It is important to start planning for health insurance early. Mainly because the premium you pay increases as you grow older. The average increase in premium payment is 20% for every 5 years. Another reason is most insurers can reject a policy if they feel the person is too big a risk, because senior citizens are easily prone to illnesses and diseases.
It is important to give details of your pre-existing conditions, family history and habits clearly when taking the policy. This is to insure that your re-imbursement claims will not have any chance for rejection.
On the topic of pre-existing illness, one must be extra careful. Many insurers have a waiting period for pre-existing illness cover to start. This varies from 1 year to 4 years. Also some insurers have a co-payment clause for pre-existing illness. Co payment is when the expense is shared with the policy holder.
This could be as high as 50%. Some insurers also charge an additional premium of 10% on pre-existing conditions like diabetes and hypertension.
There are also some policies that specify exactly which illnesses they will cover. They will not cover you for any other illnesses you may face. Also there may be fixed maximum limits for each procedure that is covered. So anything above the limit will have to borne by the policy-holder.
Reaching the milestone of 60years should a momentous occasion for celebration. Having a health policy will help you to be financially secure for medical emergencies and enjoy the golden years of your life.
The author is the CEO of MyInsuranceClub.com, an online insurance price & features comparison portal.