How to choose the best Health Insurance Plan for Senior Citizens?

Best Health Insurance for Senior Citizens: A senior citizen health insurance plan is designed to cater to the health-related needs of elderly people.  It serves as a financial guard against medical expenses that incur due to unforeseen medical emergencies. You only need to pay the premium each year to the insurer to get the sum insured which will meet high medical costs during hospitalization. This type of health plan can be availed by the ones who have acquired at least 60 years of age.

Choose the best Health Insurance Plan for Senior Citizens

Adequate sum insured: 
Due to ill health, senior citizens need frequent medical attention that increases medical bills. So when you are seeking a senior citizen health plan, it is essential to primarily assess the health condition of the person you are buying the plan and also consider the factor of health uncertainty while judging an adequate sum insured for a senior citizen. It is advisable to choose a right sum insured under the plan, considering health condition, treatment & surgery costs, medical inflation, etc.

Illnesses covered: 
People at an old age have higher chances to have some pre-existing illnesses. When going to buy a health plan for seniors, firstly you should get a medical screening to ascertain the illnesses they are suffering from and then check the number of illnesses that are covered under the health plan, you want to buy. Make sure the health plan you choose, offers coverage for all existing illnesses and major illnesses as well.

Age limit: 
Most of the insurers offer senior citizen health plan who are aged 61 years or above. Some insurance companies offer health plans for senior citizens aged up to 80 years. Some plans have restricted entry age and some plans put no age restriction for buying the health plan. It’s thus advisable to compare different health plans and choose the one which fulfills your criteria. You should choose a senior citizen health plan that offers coverage from your current age to the maximum number of years possible.

For senior citizens, health policy renewal is a crucial factor that you should consider before buying. You need to check the age up to which the health plan you want to buy can be renewed. Different plans have different age limits for renewal. You need to choose the one, considering your age and health conditions. It’s advisable to pick a health plan that offers lifetime renewability, so you remain covered for your entire life.

 It refers to a percentage of the claim amount that will be borne by the insured and the rest of the amount will be paid by the insurer. People usually opt for co-payment while buying the policy, as it will reduce the premium amount. However, with a co-payment clause, you might not get a complete coverage against specific illnesses.

Waiting period: 
Insurers usually offer coverage for pre-existing illnesses or other specified illnesses after some waiting period. When it comes to buying a health plan for senior citizens, you need to check the waiting period and pick a plan that has a lesser waiting period.

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Coverage under Senior Citizen Health Insurance:

In-patient hospitalization expenses: A senior citizen health plan offers coverage towards the medical expenses incurred upon hospitalization for more than 24 hours. It usually covers room rent, ICU charges, nursing, medical practitioner, surgical appliances, operation theater charges, etc.
Pre-hospitalization expenses: Expenses related to your medical treatment when incurred before the actual hospitalization is covered for 30 days to 60 days, as specified in the plan. It may include doctor’s visit, cost of medicines, laboratory tests, etc.
Post-hospitalization expenses: Expenses related to your medical treatment incurred after discharge from the hospital is covered for 60 days to 180 days, as specified in the plan. It usually includes follows up with doctor, medicines, diagnostic tests, etc.
Daycare procedures: Certain procedures/ treatments don’t require 24 hours of hospitalization because of technological innovation are also covered. Every insurer specifies the number of daycare treatments covered under the senior citizen health plan.
Domiciliary treatment: The medical treatment when taken at home under medical advice which otherwise requires hospitalization is covered under the senior citizen health plan.
Hospital daily cash: A fixed amount as hospital cash allowance is payable on a daily basis, depends on the policy terms. This cash benefit can be utilized to meet expenses that are not covered under the health plan.
Organ donor: Medical expenses incurred towards the treatment of the organ donor during an organ transplant are covered.
Ambulance cover: Expenses incurred towards ambulance service, when used to carry the insured to the hospital for hospitalization. The amount covered depends on the terms specified under the policy.

Tax Benefits under Senior Citizen Health Insurance Plan
Upon paying the premium amount under the senior citizen health plan, you can avail a tax deduction of Rs 50,000 (w.e.f 1st April 2018). Till the financial year 2017-18, this limit was Rs 30,000. If you are paying the premium for a senior citizen (yourself, spouse & parents), you are eligible to avail the tax benefit under section 80D of the Income Tax Act 1961.

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