In view of the exorbitant hospital and medical bills that pile up due to COVID treatment or any other medical reason, people have started not only choosing health insurance, but also choosing the best medical protection available.

Before the pandemic, most people, especially employees, were happy with employer-provided insurance schemes. Experts say that most of them did not even pay attention to the paperwork, inclusions, exclusions or fine prints of insurance policies.

However, after the pandemic, especially with exorbitant hospital and medical bills piling up due to COVID treatment or any other medical reason, people started not only opting for health insurance but also choosing the best health protection available. Experts say that because of the pandemic, most people are now well aware of the need for comprehensive health insurance.

Here are some things you should pay attention to before buying the best health insurance policy:

Policyholder need and demographics

A person’s social demographics such as gender, age, income, ethnicity, education level, years of experience, location, etc. etc., Helps insurers to determine the average cost of hospitalisation in his area.
Also, if someone expects improved hospital wards along with modern treatments such as robotic surgeries, emergency hospitalisation abroad, etc. etc., Experts say one should opt for a higher coverage policy. Also, consult the policyholder about any restrictions or limitations on treatment.

Industry experts say new policyholders should also avoid floating rate policies with lower sums insured as they have performed poorly in the current pandemic scenario. Choose a policy that does not limit any treatment options or any diseases.

Waiting periods and duration of the policy

Always try to choose a higher waiting period of 2 to 3 years. This is because a longer tenure offers certain benefits such as discounts on premiums for the 2nd or 3rd year etc. etc., which makes it a lucrative deal.

In most health insurance cases, there are waiting periods. Hence, be very familiar with it, especially if you already have a medical condition or a serious illness. Check with the insurance company about the waiting period stipulated in the policy. Try choosing policies with a shorter waiting period.

Policies with non-cash payment options

Pay attention to the insurance company’s network of hospitals and cashless payment options. Experts say it can be difficult to pay upfront during medical emergencies. So choose coverage that offers cashless payment and nationwide coverage, as well as a wider network of hospitals.

Separately, make sure that the policy you choose has a lower premium without sacrificing its benefits. For example, buying your policy directly from the insurers’ website may help you take advantage of online discounts. Various insurers also offer options to pay premiums in EMIs either monthly or quarterly, which can help many people pay their premiums in instalments.

Hospitalisation and other types of cover

A policyholder should always consider the age and existing health status of themselves and their dependents before purchasing a health insurance policy. For example, if a policyholder already has a policy with a lower sum insured, he/she may consider opting for a super top-up policy for additional coverage if they want to upgrade. A super top-up policy may include a deductible under an existing health policy.

Hospital costs are not limited to hospital stays – pre-hospitalisation and post-hospitalisation costs must also be considered. Consequently, experts advise choosing a policy that covers pre- and post-hospitalisation costs. Along with basic hospitalisation cover, some of the comprehensive coverages that should be included in the policy include day care procedures, hospitalisation at home, alternative treatments like AYUSH (Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy), organ donor charges, modern technologically advanced options like Stem Cell Therapy, robotic surgery etc.

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