In India, most people think young individuals do not need health insurance. However, given the fast-pace of life, erratic eating and sleeping patterns, sedentary lifestyle, mounting stress, and environmental conditions of the country, multiple illnesses have started affecting people even at a young age. Also, as per a WHO report, in India, 67.78% of the healthcare expenses, were borne by residents. And the rest sponsored by the government. This is strikingly higher than the world average of 18.2%. Hence, it is best to buy comprehensive health insurance sooner to be financially secure against uncertainties.
Importance of health insurance
Some critical benefits of health insurance are:
- Ensure monetary protection against medical emergencies for the entire family, as times like these - when you have a pandemic situation like the COVID-19, have aggravated the need for health insurance.
- Get substantial support in covering your medical expenses, which can otherwise drain your finances.
- Avail several added benefits, including pre-and post-hospitalisation expenses, second opinions, emergency medical evacuation, diagnostic costs, etc.
- Guarantee monetary protection against critical illnesses, which have increased manifold.
- Enjoy free preventive medical check-ups to diagnose a disease in the early stages, thus, initiating early treatment and improving survival.
- Get access to wide hospital network coverage, offering cashless treatment.
- Avail tax benefits for health insurance premiums paid - up to Rs. 25,000, for people below 60 years, and up to Rs. 50,000 for senior citizens.
The right age to buy health insurance
Some advantages of buying a health policy early, include:
- Low premiums at a young age due to less risk: Insurance companies attach less risk to younger individuals as the chances of the age group 25-30 years being affected by severe ailments are predictably low. Hence, you would pay a significantly lower premium when you are younger and healthy.
- Better coverage at lower premiums, reducing future monetary burden: When you buy health insurance in time, you get better coverage at lower premiums. Hence, you can bear huge costs without hampering your finances. Health plans, like Kotak Health Shield, protect against early or major stage ailments related to cardiac, liver, neuro, cancer, as well as a personal accident protection cover.
- Smaller waiting period for significant benefits when you buy at a young age: Health policies have a waiting time (a few months, or sometimes a few years) before the inclusion of specific benefits. These can include pre-existing conditions, heart issues, etc. If you get a health cover sooner, you can easily pass the waiting period because by the time you would require those specific advantages, they would become a part of the policy.
- Cumulative Bonus for every claim-free year allows better wealth accumulation: Most insurers offer a cumulative bonus for every claim-free year. When you buy health cover early, you can earn a higher cumulative bonus owing to more claim-free years. This increases your sum assured and reduces future premium liability.
- Tax benefits for a more extended period leading to more savings: Health premiums are exempt under the Income Tax Act, 1961. If you invest in a health policy early, you can enjoy tax exemptions for a longer period, leading to more savings.
Which is the right insurance for you?
- The 20s: Opt for term insurance, endowment and a less exhaustive health cover (get an individual plan where you can add family members as and when needed).
- The 30s:Invest in term plans, saving investment plans and health insurance plans.
- The 40s:Invest in health insurance, term plan, retirement plans and invest-cum-insurance policy.
- The 50s:Choose a comprehensive health cover with critical illness cover, retirement plan and term plan.
- The 60s and above:Invest in an exhaustive health insurance cover and life plan with additional benefits.
Getting the right insurance policy at the right time is mandatory, especially given today’s scenario. Always take an informed decision and choose a plan that best fits your needs.