Things to consider before buying a senior citizen health plan in India

By Sunil Fernandes
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    Things to consider before buying a senior citizen health plan in India
    It is no wonder that as you grow old you get riddled with various diseases and illnesses as your body's immunity system suffers a setback due to ageing. Contrary to this scenario, thanks to the miracles of modern medicine, an average human's life expectancy has also increased. Crippling old age, higher life expectancy, increased cost of medical treatments and the absence of a steady source of income burdens the already overburdened common man. Who will come to his aid?

    A dilemma experienced by many senior citizens. To counter this grief, health insurers today have come up with senior citizen health policies which take care of the medical bills incurred by senior citizens. Though it is actually a blessing for senior citizens and the choices of buying a plan are many, there are certain points that need to be assessed before plunging headlong into the insurance pool. Let's take a look:

    A. Look for maximum entry age- various plans have various entry age limits. The best approach would be to buy a plan with the highest entry age as it would offer coverage even at the later ages.

    B. Don't just consider the cheapest premium- when you start to compare between the available plans, don't let the premium amount to be the sole decider of your choice. Look for other features under the plan which are more suitable to you for example the choice of network hospitals, the limit on hospitalization expenses, critical illnesses covered, etc. even if it entails a bit higher premium. It is because the older you get, the more chronic ailments you are prone to contracting. Thus, it is always better to be fully secured even if the payout is a little higher than other cheaper options available.

    C. Choose the highest coverage available- senior citizen health plans often come with a limit on the Sum Assured granted. Choose the policy with the highest available limit because a) medical treatments don't come cheap and b) medical inflation is spiraling upwards. So you need to have sufficient cover to prevent any strain on your finances during medical emergencies.

    D. Consider the waiting period of pre-existing illnesses- as is the norm with normal health plans; senior citizen health plans also exclude pre-existing illnesses from the scope of coverage for a certain pre-defined period. As your age increases so does the list of the pre-existing illnesses. So, while shopping for a suitable product, look for the plan which has the lowest waiting period for your pre-existing illnesses so that you may extend the scope of your cover at the earliest.

    E. Evaluate the co-pay ratio- senior citizen plans generally come with a co-pay clause which states that in the event of any claim, the policyholder will be required to pay a particular percentage of the claim from his pocket. The ratio varies from company to company. The obvious choice should be the plan asking for the lowest co-pay clause.

    F. Look for lifelong renewability option- nowadays, insurers offer lifelong renewability option to the policyholders except a few like National Insurance Company's Varishtha plan which expires at the age 90. So choose the plan offering lifelong renewability and if by god's grace you survive past 90, you won't have to worry about the continuity of your health plan.

    G. Check the terms of medical check-ups required- companies insist on medical check-ups of the proposer before issuing the policy. Moreover, some insurers may also ask the proposer to bear the check-up expenses. So find the plan which asks for limited number of check-ups and also bears at least a part of the expenses incurred.

    Written By: Deepak Yohannan

    The author is the CEO of, an online insurance price & features comparison portal

    For more articles by Deepak Yohannan, please visit
    You may contact him directly on Twitter: @dyohannan

    Story first published: Saturday, August 16, 2014, 10:48 [IST]
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