The Importance of being ‘Insurance Active’

The importance of having your personal health insurance is widely known, especially after the pandemic, and a good percentage of millennials have considered opting for their own health insurance, it is still widely considered a “Tax-Saving Instrument”. With the large choices available, it is inevitable for anyone to get lost amidst the chaos in the industry. This is where making a good decision is noteworthy. Traditional wisdom says “a work begun is half done” and this is where taking the action of actually opting for the health insurance, instead of procrastinating about it forever is important.

The Government health schemes cater to a specific segment of the society. For others, it is important to have your personal health insurance plan so that it can cover your hospitalisation expenses in a medical eventuality. Medical expenses can neither be postponed nor avoided. Hence planning for the same before the emergency arrives is prudent. This is where Health Insurance comes into play.

Thus, you need to activate your health insurance plan NOW, to battle out medical emergencies without worrying about your financial health. 

Importance of activating your health insurance plan NOW:

Here are some reasons to help you understand the very importance of having an active health insurance plan:

  1. Medical costs are steadily increasing

    This one is a fact. Medical inflation is higher than the often-quoted figure of 8-10% and is as high as 15%. (Source: Business Today)

    This is due to the rise in the cost of medicines, equipment and advancements in treatment. Yes, a healthier lifestyle reduces your risks of falling ill, but it does not completely eliminate the same. Hence to combat the rising costs of treatment, health insurance becomes inevitable.

  2. Illnesses and diseases are on the rise

    According to a 2020 study (Source: Clinical Trials Arena, Sep 2021), India was found to be one of the countries with the highest disease burdens. It forecasted 75.26 million cases of type 2 diabetes and 26,000 cases of endometrial cancer in 2021 and these numbers are expected to increase to 91.72 million and 32,000 cases by 2028.

    Diseases are increasing and if they require medical assistance, you need an active health plan to cover the costs.

  3. You can get comprehensive coverage for your whole family

    Health insurance plans offer comprehensive coverage benefits that are customisable too. You get coverage for most of your medical costs thereby getting financial security. Moreover, by choosing a family floater policy, all your family members can be insured so that their medical needs are also met by the policy.

  4. There are tax benefits too

    Lastly, having an active health insurance policy aids in tax savings too. The premium paid for the policy qualifies as a deduction under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. You can claim a deduction of up to Rs.25,000 if you are below 60 and up to Rs.50,000 if you are aged 60 and above.

    Moreover, if you also insure your parents and pay their premiums, you can claim an additional deduction of Rs.25,000 if your parents are below 60 or Rs.50,000 if they are senior citizens.

    So, with a maximum deduction of Rs.1 lakh, you can save up to Rs.30,000 in taxes if you fall in the highest tax bracket of 30%. 

Health insurance plans also allow lifelong renewals so that once bought, you can enjoy the coverage lifelong if you renew the policy regularly. Thus, instead of contemplating which is the best health insurance plan that would suit your and your family’s requirements perfectly, it is a wise idea to opt for a comprehensive plan with benefits that you consider important at this point in your life; and later if the requirements change or other plans come up with more benefits, you can always port your health plan without disrupting the continuity benefits.

So, it’s time to rise and shine and start your health insurance plan today and secure your finances against medical emergencies. Remember, the early bird gets the worm. So “Active Ho Jao” with your health plan.

Top 5 Questions answered to ensure you get ‘Active’ on your Health Insurance NOW

The biggest reason for delaying your health insurance plan is procrastination! Most people keep “thinking” about the best health insurance without actually taking an action. Once the basic purpose of the health insurance plan is established, it’s much easier to choose the plan based on your needs.

So, here are the top 5 questions which you need to determine which would help you to opt for the best health insurance plan for yourself and your family.

  1. How much health insurance should you buy?

    Health insurance plans allow coverage from Rs.50,000 to Rs.2 crores or higher. As such, choosing the right coverage amount might stump many. Ideally, the choice of the sum insured should depend on your lifestyle, size of the family, estimated hospitalisation and treatment costs, age, etc. However, as a ready reckoner, there is a thumb rule for determining the optimal coverage amount. This thumb rule is as follows –

    Optimal coverage = 50% of your annual income + hospitalisation costs incurred over the past 3 years

    Many experts also recommend 50% of the income to be the starting point. So, if you earn Rs.20 lakhs a year, you need coverage of at least Rs.10 lakhs. Higher coverage is better as you can get sufficiently covered against rising medical costs.

  2. How to buy the policy?

    There are more than a dozen health insurance providers in India. As such, you might be spoilt for choice when it comes to finding the right plan and buying it. The ideal way to buy a health plan is to compare and then buy. There are leading online platforms that allow you to compare the health plans of leading companies. Assess your coverage needs and then compare the plans offering the desired coverage. Compare the coverage features vis-à-vis the premium and choose a suitable plan.

    As far as buying is concerned, the online mode allows you to buy the policy instantly, without hassles. So, you can easily compare on and buy the policy online.

  3. Would the premium be affordable?

    Many individuals are concerned with the affordability of health insurance premiums. Truth be told, the premiums are affordable. You can also avail of different discounts that insurance companies offer and reduce the premium further.

    Furthermore, to make the premium even more affordable, insurers allow you the facility of instalment payments. You can pay the premium quarterly, monthly or half-yearly so that it becomes affordable in your pockets. So, avoiding a health plan by simply worrying about its affordability is no longer an excuse to skimp on health insurance coverage.

  4. What benefits to choose while opting for your health insurance plan?

    Health insurance plans can have a variety of benefits for you to choose from. This is the problem of abundance and you might get confused. Choose your plan according to your needs.

    For example, if you suffer from any illness before you buy the policy, such an illness would be called a pre-existing illness. The illness would usually be covered under the policy but after a waiting period. Health insurance companies usually impose a waiting period ranging from 12 months to 48 months after which your pre-existing illnesses get covered.

    So, if you suffer from any illness, you can opt for a plan with a low waiting period so that you can avail of the coverage quicker.

    Along with the regular hospitalisation benefits, here is a list of benefits that you can opt for:

    1. Must-Have benefits:
      1. Good coverage of pre-and post-hospitalisation expenses
      2. Maternity coverage for a young family
      3. Low waiting period for any pre-existing ailments
      4. Day-care coverage
      5. Annual health check-ups
      6. No copay, especially zonal
      7. Home care treatment or domiciliary cover
      8. AYUSH (Ayurvedic, Homeopathy, Unani, Siddha treatment coverage) benefit
    2. Good-to-have benefits:
      1. No room rent capping where there are no sub-limits for claim
      2. Restoration benefit, where the sum assured would be restored in case of claim
      3. Hospital cash benefit
      4. Critical illness benefit
  5. Would your claims be settled?

    Wondering if your health insurance claims would be settled or not? If you are, you can relax. Health insurers have simplified their claim processes so that you can get your claims settled quickly.

    You just have to follow some claim-related steps and your claims get settled easily. You can also seek expert help for claim settlement for a smoother experience. So, if you make a valid claim on your policy, your claim would be settled else the experts at Turtlemint would assist you with the same.

Once you have answers to these 5 questions, you will have an idea of which type of health insurance plan you need. Then all you need to do is opt for the plan at your earliest without contemplating further. In case you come across a better plan later, you can always choose to port it while continuing the benefits. Thus, it is wise to opt for a comprehensive plan so that your out-of-pocket expenses are minimised and you can avail all-round protection.

Top 10 reasons why you need to get ‘Active’ with your Health Plan before you turn 40

No one really “plans” to fall ill, no one really “planned” the pandemic, but it happened! This was when we witnessed multiple families falling ill requiring hospitalisation together. Times like this make us introspect the actual amount of health insurance coverage one needs. With high medical inflation rising the cost of treatment along with the rise of lifestyle ailments in India, insurance is not even an option anymore. Before upgrading your phone or any other electronic accessories, you need to rethink your health insurance coverage and opt for a high coverage before you may need it!

According to the GOQii Fit India Report 2020, 62% of Indians fall in the high-risk or borderline high-risk category as far as fitness is concerned. Lifestyle diseases contribute a large part of this with hypertension, diabetes and thyroid where women happen to be unhealthier than men in general. Also, young adults fall prey to lifestyle ailments due to fast food and an unhealthier lifestyle than their parents!

Thus, instead of thinking about your health insurance plan, it is time to opt for it at your earliest, preferably before you turn 40 or have any lifelong medical conditions so that when you need it the most, your policy has surpassed the waiting periods and ready to process a claim!

Remember: Health expenses can neither be avoided nor postponed!

Thus, here are the top 10 reasons why you need an ‘active’ health insurance plan:

  1. Illnesses are unpredictable 

    Ok, so you are in the prime of your health. But can you predict illnesses? In today’s stressful living, illnesses don’t see age. Individuals develop illnesses even in their 30s. Such illnesses might require medical attention and if they do, a health plan helps in covering the costs.

    According to GOQii India Fit Report (Source: BioSpectrum India, March 2021), more than 50% of teens and young adults are unfit in India and thus susceptible to illnesses. So delaying your insurance may not be a wise idea!

  2. Accidents don’t announce themselves

    Even if you are illness-free in your 20s and 30s, you don’t have any control over accidental injuries. Road traffic accidents, a fall or even a pandemic can land you in the hospital with considerable medical bills.

  3. Medical expenses are on the rise

    This one is no mystery. A simple doctor’s visit can cost you thousands. Imagine hospitalisation!

    Last year, in May and June 2021, health inflation was recorded at 8.4% and 7.7% (Source: Hindu, July 2021) respectively compared to 3.8% in December 2019. If the inflation can double up within 6 months, imagine how much it can grow over the years.

    In the face of such rising costs, a health plan becomes a must to afford quality healthcare.

  4. Your family needs you

    You might be healthy and free from illnesses but what about your family members? If anyone falls ill and requires medical assistance, you would incur medical costs.

    If your family includes dependent parents, the chances of medical emergencies increase. A family floater health plan, thus, also proves relevant for covering the medical costs of your family members.

  5. For maximum coverage

    You benefit when you invest in a health plan at a younger age. Since at younger age you might be healthy, you can avail of maximum coverage under the plan that you choose. The insurer would not impose coverage restrictions when you buy young.

  6. The waiting periods

    Every health plan has a waiting period after which pre-existing illnesses are covered. During this waiting period, claims pertaining to such illnesses become your out-of-pocket expenses, which is almost 70% (Source: Economic Times, Jan 2022) of the total expenditure on healthcare in India. 

    When you buy health insurance young, you are relatively healthy. As such, you can wait out the waiting period easily. Once the waiting period is over, you can enjoy comprehensive coverage.

  7. You have other goals too!

    In the absence of a health plan, a medical emergency poses a threat to your savings, savings that you might have created for other financial goals. As the savings are drained out in paying the hospital bills, the other goals suffer.

    If you want to create a secured corpus for the other financial goals that you have, invest in a health plan, early on, so that your savings are protected and you do not need to dip into your savings for your medical expenses.

  8. Wider plan options

    When you are young, every insurer is ready to offer you a comprehensive scope of protection. As such, you have wider plan options at your disposal. As you age, the plan options start narrowing down, a scenario that is better avoided.

  9. The benefit of no claim bonus

    If you do not make a claim in your health insurance policy, you are allowed a no claim bonus. Most plans offer a cumulative bonus which increases the sum insured on a cumulative basis after each claim-free year.

    Buying young can help you accumulate the no claim bonus and increase your coverage, that too free of cost!

  10. The tax advantage

    Lastly, let’s not forget the tax angle. Investing in health insurance earns you a deduction under Section 80D.

    You can claim a deduction of up to INR 25,000 through health insurance premiums. Moreover, if you also pay for your parents’ cover, you earn an additional deduction of INR 25,000 (INR 50,000 if they are senior citizens).

    These deductions help in lowering your taxable income which, in turn, lowers your tax liability. A reduced tax liability = increased savings. Wouldn’t you want that?

It’s time to take a decision and opt for adequate health insurance coverage. There is no point in delaying. Invest in a health plan before turning 40 so that you can enjoy the aforementioned benefits. Moreover, with health insurance comes financial security which gives you peace of mind and who doesn’t want that!

5 Easy Ways to Increase the Cost-Effectiveness of your Car Insurance

A car has become an indispensable part of the modern-day lifestyle. It facilitates easy commute, is cost-effective and convenient. In fact, in 2021, even despite the shortage of semi-conductors car sales grew by 27% (Source: TOI) and crossed the 30 lakh units milestone, a feat repeated only three times in history so far!

While the popularity of cars is undeniable, the importance of a car insurance policy should also be noted. Besides the legal mandate, a car insurance policy proves to be a financial saviour in an emergency involving your car. However, when it comes to premiums, car owners look for the lowest possible rates to cut down on their expenses. This, sometimes, leads to skimping on the coverage. What if, instead, you can save premiums without compromising on the coverage?

Yes, there are ways in which you can increase the cost-effectiveness of your car insurance policy. Here are 5 of them –

  1. Pick the right coverage

    There are two types of plans – third party liability policy and comprehensive package policy. The former is mandatory as per the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 while the latter is optional. Third-party plans have a limited scope of coverage and so, their premiums are very low. Comprehensive plans, on the other hand, provide wider coverage and, thus, have higher premiums. 

    If you have a car up to 5 years of age or if you drive your car frequently, a comprehensive policy would be suitable. On the other hand, if your car is very old or if you use it sparingly, you can opt for third party coverage only and reduce the premium amount.

  2. Use the no claim bonus wisely

    For each year that you don’t make a claim in your policy, the insurer rewards you with a no claim bonus. The bonus starts at 20% after the first claim-free year and then goes up to 50% for 5 successive claim-free years. So, if you have earned a no claim bonus, use it to claim a discount on renewal. Moreover, try and avoid making small claims in your policy. This is because a single instance of claim wipes out the entire accumulated no claim bonus making you lose out on the renewal discount. Pay small claims from your pocket to preserve the no claim bonus so that you can make the policy cost-effective.

  3. Look for discounts

    Every comprehensive car insurance plan has a host of discounts that help you reduce the premium. For example, you can claim a discount if you have installed ARAI approved safety devices in your car if you buy the policy online if you are an existing customer, etc. So, lookout for these discounts and claim them to reduce your premium. Moreover, if you are a careful driver and do not experience too many claims, you can opt for a voluntary deductible. Choosing this deductible would give you a considerable discount on your own-damage premium. However, remember that the deductible would mean an added out-of-pocket expense at the time of a claim. So, weigh in the expense and the premium saving when choosing this deductible.

  4. Compare and buy

    More than a dozen insurance companies are offering a car insurance policy for your car. While the policies offer similar coverage features, their premiums vary because of the different pricing policies of different insurers. That is why you should always compare the available car insurance plans before buying. Shop around and pick a policy that offers the best coverage benefits at the most competitive premium rates. Comparing would help you find the best deal for your car insurance plan and when you would buy online, you can claim the online discount and get a reduced premium. A double bonanza, isn’t it?

  5. Renew on time

    Lastly, renewing your car insurance policy on time also helps in premium savings. Since car insurance plans are legally mandatory, you need the coverage to drive the car legally. As such, renewing the policy on time is recommended to enjoy uninterrupted coverage. Moreover, timely renewals would also help in making your policy cost-effective in two ways. One, if the policy would be active, you would be able to get a lower renewal premium rate. Insurers tend to inflate the premium if a lapsed policy is renewed. Two, you would be able to preserve the no claim bonus which lapses if you don’t renew the policy within 90 days of expiry. So, renew the policy on time to save on the premium costs and also to enjoy non-stop coverage. 

The next time you are in the market to buy a new car insurance policy or renew one, keep these tips in mind. Use them to reduce the premium cost and make your policy cost-effective. While the coverage would provide financial security, the reduced premiums would make your pockets happy. A win-win combination!

5 Best Add-on Car Insurance Covers in 2022

Comprehensive car insurance plans allow all-around protection for your beloved car. These plans cover the mandatory third-party liability and also give financial assistance if your car is damaged or stolen. To add icing to the cake, comprehensive car insurance plans also offer optional add-ons so that you can further widen the coverage as per your needs. Do you know about these add-ons?

What are add-on car insurance covers?

Add-on car insurance covers are optional coverage benefits that can be added to your base policy. There are different types of add-ons available in the market and each add-on offers a specific type of coverage. Add-ons cover different types of emergencies that you might face when using your car and enhance the claim amount. Each add-on comes at an additional premium and you can choose the add-ons depending on your coverage needs. 

Best add-ons for 2022

There are different types of add-ons available in the market for 360-degree protection in your car insurance plan. Among the available options, five of the best add-ons that you can opt for include the following –

  1. Zero depreciation add-on

    This is, by far, the most useful and relevant add-on that you can opt for in your car insurance policy. To understand this add-on, you need to understand the concept of depreciation. As you use your car, its parts suffer regular wear and tear which is not covered in your car insurance policy. As such, in the case of damage, the depreciated part of the car might get repaired or replaced. Since car insurance does not cover depreciation, the cost of depreciation is deducted from the repair or replacement cost of the part. This deduction depends on the type of part that is damaged. While the garage charges the full amount, the insurance company pays a fraction of the cost after deducting depreciation. The cost of depreciation, thus, becomes your out-of-pocket expense.

    This is where the zero depreciation add-on comes into the picture. If you choose this add-on, depreciation is considered to be nil. Thus, no depreciation is deducted by the insurer and you get the full amount charged by the garage for repairing the damaged part.

    Things to note 

    The zero depreciation add-on is usually available for cars up to 5 years old. If your car is older, you might not get the cover. Moreover, there might be a limit to the total number of zero depreciation claims that you might make in your policy. If the claims exceed the specified limit, the add-on would not apply for the exceeding claims.

  2. Roadside assistance add-on

    The roadside assistance add-on promises 24*7 assistance if your car breaks down in the middle of the road and you cannot tow it to the nearest garage. If you have the add-on you can simply call up the insurance company and the company would provide you with the necessary assistance so that you can complete your commute. 

    Under roadside assistance, add-on facilities such as tyre replacement, empty fuel tank, flat tyres, towing, etc. are offered.

    Things to note

    Under some car insurance plans, the roadside assistance cover might come as an inbuilt benefit. You should, thus, check whether the policy that you are considering allows an inbuilt coverage or an optional one.

  3. NCB protection add-on

    No claim bonus (NCB) is a benefit that you get if you don’t claim your car insurance policy. The bonus allows you to claim a discount at the time of renewals. Moreover, the bonus keeps on increasing after each successive claim-free year. However, a single claim wipes out the accumulated bonus and you lose the renewal discount. Not if you have the NCB protection add-on. The add-on keeps the NCB intact even if you claim your car insurance policy.

  4. Return to invoice add-on

    In the case of a total loss or theft of the car, the insurance company pays the Insured Declared Value (IDV) to settle the claim. The IDV is the depreciated value of the car depending on its age. It is lower than what you paid to buy the car. The return to invoice add-on, however, gives you the invoice value of the car if it is totalled or stolen. The add-on, thus, enhances the claim amount and helps you replace the car without any financial strain.

  5. Engine protection add-on

    Car insurance policies do not cover engine damages that might arise due to water seepage. To get coverage for such damages you need the engine protection add-on. The add-on covers engine damages caused due to water-logging and seepage.

    Things to note

    The engine protection add-on is highly recommended if you live in a flood-prone area or in an area where water logging is a major concern during monsoons.

These are some of the best add-ons that can give you more rounded protection in your car insurance policy. Keep these add-ons in mind when you buy or renew a car insurance plan in 2022 so that you can enjoy complete financial protection against car-related troubles.

How has the Life Insurance Industry evolved Post-Pandemic?

Ever since the pandemic has struck, recent timelines have been divided into two distinct phases – the pre-COVID and the post-COVID era. In fact, the pandemic has completely changed lifestyles, finances and even the economy as a whole. The life insurance segment is no different. 

During the pandemic, the importance of a life insurance policy dawned on many and people rushed to insure themselves against the possibility of untimely death. The life insurance industry, thus, witnessed a surge in demand as the premium income increased by 9.74% during the financial year 2020-21 as per the Economic Survey 2021-22. Even the life insurance penetration jumped to 3.2% in 2020 compared to 2.82% in 2019 (where Insurance penetration is measured as the percentage of the total life insurance premium paid in a year to GDP.). (Source: Economic Times

Thus, to meet the demands of the pandemic era and also to adapt to the changing economic scenario, the life insurance industry evolved.

Do you know how?

Well, here are a few changes that have happened in the industry and also those that are still work-in-progress –

  1. Digitised policy issuance

    With the pandemic, most companies were operating online due to lockdowns or with limited employee strength. This worked as a boon for the digital space. Insurance companies were mostly digitally equipped, but this digital awareness gave an impetus to eKYC and online policy issuance.

    The regulator recognised the increasing demand for life insurance policies and the challenge of physical policy issuance. As such, it allowed insurers the facility of issuing their policies online through video KYC or eKYC and digital signatures. This made it easy for both prospective and existing policyholders to buy and renew their plans without having to step out of their homes.

  2. Online customer support

    Another by-product of lockdowns, social distancing and the work from the home model was the dependence on the online medium to solve customer queries and complaints. Insurance companies took additional efforts to make their customer support department online so that customers can choose from AI bots, WhatsApp messages, SMS, emails and live chats to connect with the insurance company. The insurers also reduced their TATs as online assistance enabled them to track their complaints and grievances in real-time.

  3. The impetus to online sales

    Insurers also placed considerable impetus on online sales either through their own websites or through online agents and brokers. This also facilitated the easy sale of the policy with minimal paperwork. Moreover, with the eKYC introduced by the IRDAI, issuance of the policy also became a breeze.

  4. New and innovative policies

    While most of the new demand for policies was due to COVID induced deaths, insurers came up with innovative policies that allowed coverage for COVID as well. While life insurance plans automatically covered COVID-related deaths, insurers communicated the same to their policyholders and prospective customers to raise awareness. Moreover, new policies were also introduced that were available online at affordable premiums to allow instant coverage to those seeking protection against the pandemic’s financial repercussions such as Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak.

  5. The introduction of API

    This is a relatively newer concept in the life insurance industry which is still in its nascent stages. As mentioned earlier, this is a work-in-progress. API stands for Application Programming Interface. It can act as a plug-in for life insurance policies across other financial assets and transactions. Life insurers can, thus, tie up with financial service providers and sell their plans through API plug-ins to increase demand. This would also enable an increase in life insurance penetration as the purchase process would be simplified.

    A very common example can be found in tour booking apps that offer you additional travel insurance cover at a nominal rate. This is how API works. While you make your travel bookings, you might as well invest in a travel insurance policy to secure the trip at a nominal cost. API plug-ins, thus, help in cross-selling.

    In the life insurance industry, API plug-ins can be used when individuals buy mutual funds, stocks, other investments or even when they buy another type of insurance policy from the company. The API interface has the power to disrupt insurance sales and can go a long way in evolving the life insurance industry to the next level altogether.

The life insurance industry is dynamic. It changes to cater to the changing needs and preferences of consumers so that life insurance, as a product, can stay relevant in changing times. The aforementioned points are some of the changes that the life insurance industry went through during the pandemic. The future is digital and with new innovations and changes, the life insurance industry would also evolve continuously. As the awareness of life insurance has increased, the industry has a long road ahead to make life insurance an indispensable part of an individual’s portfolio.

Health Insurance options for Differently-abled Persons in 2022

Chris Burke said, ‘It’s not our disabilities, it’s our abilities that count’. A wonderful line that shows that being differently-abled is not a disability. 

According to WHO’s estimates, there are about 600 million individuals across the world who suffer from one or the other form of disability. In India, as per the last Census conducted in 2011(Updated in 2016), about 26.8 million people or 2.21% of the Indian population suffered one or the other form of disability. (Source:NHFDC).

 Specially abled individuals might face different challenges in life. Health insurance is not one of them. With the latest developments in the health insurance segment and insurers offering more inclusive plans, there are different coverage options for the differently-abled. Before we explore the available options, let’s, first, understand the different types of disabilities that individuals might suffer from.

Types of disabilities 

  1. Congenital disabilities

    Congenital disabilities are those that persist in an individual from birth. Down’s syndrome, spina bifida, and Fragile X syndrome are some examples.

  2. Mental disabilities

    Disabilities that pertain to the brain and psychological development of an individual are called mental disabilities. Some such disabilities might be present from birth while some might develop at a later stage in life. Mental impairments, bipolar disorder, etc. are some examples of mental disabilities.

  3. Accidental disabilities 

    Accidental disabilities are those which occur due to an accidental injury. Loss of limbs, loss of eyesight, loss of hearing, etc. are some common examples. Accidental disabilities can be partial (loss of sight in one eye, loss of one hand or one foot, etc.) or total (loss of both eyes, both legs, both hands, etc.)

Health insurance options for the differently-abled

When it comes to health insurance schemes, there are two options that you can explore. These are as follows –

  1. Health insurance schemes offered by the Government

    The Government offers two distinct types of health insurance schemes for individuals suffering from disabilities. These schemes are as follows –

    • Nirmaya Health Insurance Scheme

      This scheme covers individuals suffering from autism, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities covered under the National Trust Act, 1999. It is administered by the National Trust. The coverage is allowed up to Rs.1 lakh and does not require any pre-entrance health check-ups. The coverage benefits include the following –

      • Hospitalisation expenses
      • OPD treatments
      • Complications of an ongoing therapy
      • Alternative medicine cover
      • Transportation costs

      The premiums are extremely affordable at Rs.250 for BPL (Below Poverty Line) families, Rs.500 for non-BPL families and free coverage for individuals enrolling with a legal guardian. 

    • Swavlamban Health Insurance Scheme

      The Swavlamban scheme was launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in association with the New India Assurance Company Limited. The scheme covers individuals suffering from loco-motor disabilities, blindness, low vision, mental retardation, etc. Some salient features of the scheme are as follows –

      • A flat premium of Rs.375 for coverage of Rs.2 lakhs on a family floater basis
      • The family floater plan covers one adult and up to 3 children any of whom can be differently-abled
      • The age limit is 0 to 65 years
      • Pre and post-hospitalisation expenses, OPD treatments, inpatient treatments, etc. are covered 
      • No pre-entrance health check-ups are needed to buy the policy
  2. Health insurance schemes offered by health insurance companies 

    Besides the Government-backed health insurance plans, differently-abled individuals can also buy a policy from independent health insurers operating in the market. Many insurance companies allow coverage for the differently-abled. However, when availing of coverage from health insurers, the following points should be kept in mind – 

    • Not all insurance companies allow coverage for the differently-abled. You would have to find an insurer that specifically allows such coverage
    • Mental and congenital disabilities are usually excluded by most insurers allowing coverage for the disabled. However, many new-age insurers are extending coverage for such individuals, albeit with coverage restrictions on the disability
    • Even though you can get the policy, there might be permanent or temporary exclusions for the disability. Permanent exclusions mean that coverage would not be granted throughout the policy tenure. Temporary exclusions, however, might restrict coverage for a short term after which the coverage might be allowed
    • You would have to disclose the disability and its severity when buying the policy. Complete transparency is needed to avoid claim rejection
    • The premiums might be higher and the sum insured might be restricted
    • The issuance of the policy would depend on the severity of the disablement, the capacity to pay the premium and the insured’s age
    • A disability certificate is an important document that is needed to avail of coverage 

The bottom line

Given the increasing medical expenses, a health insurance policy becomes a must in today’s age. So, even if you are differently-abled, ensure that you are covered under a suitable health insurance scheme, whether offered by the Government or by health insurers. Check out the companies that allow health insurance coverage for the differently-abled and then buy comprehensive coverage so that medical emergencies do not blow a hole in your pockets.