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Universal Health Coverage Day: Why You Should Include A Health Policy In Retirement Planning?

Universal Health Coverage Day draws attention to rising medical costs and the importance of insurance coverage. Getting a health policy is crucial to retirement planning.

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Outlook Money
December 12, 2023
Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan

Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan

Universal Health Coverage Day is observed on December 12 to draw attention to improving the healthcare system and achieving widespread health coverage. This year’s theme is “Health for All: Time for Action” to remind people that health is an asset and why they should take care of it. Why You Should Include A Health Policy In Retirement Planning is a common worry but with the rise in medical inflation, it is always a necessity to have invested in a good health policy.

Health Is An Asset:

Health can deteriorate with age, so ensuring it remains in good condition for the longest period possible is vital. With medical advancements, many ailments can be cured; however, soaring medical costs have made healthcare unaffordable for many people. Therefore, health insurance coverage is vital for any financial planning, especially post-retirement.

According to the National Health System Resource Centre (NHRC), in 2022, medical inflation in India stood at 14 per cent, almost double the 6.7 per cent overall inflation in the same year. Given the rising costs, one must plan for a policy early on to get the maximum benefit from it.

According to the National Health System Resource Centre (NHRC), in 2022, medical inflation in India stood at 14 per cent, almost double the 6.7 per cent overall inflation in the same year. Given the rising costs, one must plan for a policy early on to get the maximum benefit from it.

For a retirement plan to be effective, you must plan for a steady cash flow to care for expenses, including health. In this regard, health insurance coverage can be critical for medical emergencies, regardless of age. However, you may need it more in old age when the body’s immunity weakens and makes it prone to diseases.

Rohit Boda, Group Managing Director, J.B. Boda Group, an Insurance and reinsurance broker, says, “Selecting appropriate health insurance from a young age is advisable because good health is invaluable, and during illness / unforeseen medical crises, it becomes imperative to have the financial means to access exceptional treatment and guidance from healthcare professionals. It promotes financial responsibility, peace of mind, and long-term health and well-being.”

Here are some benefits of Why You Should Include A Health Policy In Retirement Planning early:   

Low Premium: Insurance companies set policy premiums based on age, family medical history, etc. Generally, young people pay lower premiums. As you age, the premiums increase as the health-related risks also increase. So, getting a health plan when you are young is prudent.

Medical Check-Up: Insurance companies do not demand health check-ups when buying a policy if the person is young. After a certain age, say 50, a health check-up is mandatory. Additionally, the premiums can increase due to higher risk if there is a medical issue.

Pre-Existing Disease: Insurance companies cover pre-existing diseases after a waiting period for specific age groups. “The period of claim-free years during the policy’s early stages is the most significant benefit. Once the health insurance is purchased when the insured is in good health, limitations for prior conditions are removed”, says Boda. So, the young can enjoy full coverage of any illness from the start.

What Should You Consider When Buying A Policy?

Medical needs can arise at times in life, and paying the bills from your pocket can imbalance your finances. Here are five points to consider while buying a policy:

Policy Premium: When buying a policy, check the existing costs and what it would be after retirement. It should be within your limit after retirement. One may opt for a ‘deductible or co-pay’ feature, where the premium is low.So, plan accordingly.

Unlimited Renewal: Check for the maximum age limit for which the insurer is providing coverage. It is essential because no new insurer would provide coverage after a certain age when it is most required due to the risk involved.

 Hospital Network and OPD Benefits: Generally, outpatient department (OPD) expenses are not covered in the health policies. These expenses are regular and high. Insurers offer them as an add-on benefit, so check the cost before deciding. Also, check the hospital network the insurance company has a tie-up with. The broader the network, the better it is.

Claim Settlement: When a health policy becomes a retirement planning tool, thinking for the long term is vital. Check the claim settlement process, settlement ratio, and claim-making formalities when buying a policy instead of focusing only on the premium.

No Claim Bonus: Nowadays, insurance companies have innovative products which not only cover hospital expenses but offer benefits like “no claim bonus” and higher sum insured, reward points if one stays fit, free health check-ups, etc. So, check for these extra benefits as well.

Finally, don’t ignore your health. Health insurance offers protection against medical emergencies.

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