A health insurance plan is not a luxury anymore. Rather, it has become one of the biggest necessities given the rising medical costs and the increasing incidence of illnesses.
As the need of health insurance is growing, insurance companies are also revolutionizing their policies by introducing newer and innovative coverage benefits. These innovative benefits promise an all-around protection. One such benefit, that is increasingly becoming available in many plans, is global coverage. This coverage removes the geographical barriers in health insurance plans and makes them more relevant.
Let’s understand what global coverage is all about, its importance and why should you opt for the same.
Understanding a global health insurance cover
Global health insurance cover means coverage for treatments availed in international countries. Earlier, health insurance plans covered treatments taken only within India. However, modern day health insurance plans are offering treatments taken anywhere in the world. This is particularly helpful if you are travelling abroad and you suffer from a medical contingency. Global health coverage would cover such contingency and give you coverage for the medical costs incurred.
Global health coverage vis-à-vis international travel insurance
When it comes to the coverage for medical treatments abroad, another option that pops into mind is the international travel insurance plan which offers similar coverage. However, international medical coverage under travel insurance plans is quite different from the global coverage allowed under health insurance plans. Here are some aspects how –
- Travel plans are available only if you go on an international trip. Health plans, however, have no such conditions
- The coverage duration of travel insurance plans is limited to the trip duration. You can, however, avail of lifelong coverage under health plans with global cover
- Travel plans do not cover domestic treatments but health plans do
- Planned hospitalisation is not covered under travel insurance plans but some health plans do provide coverage for such hospitalisation
Benefits of global health insurance cover
Global health insurance coverage is quite beneficial. Here are some reasons why –
- Coverage for hospital costs
Global health coverage becomes applicable if you are hospitalised on an inpatient basis in an international city. The relevant costs incurred are covered under the policy. This includes the charge of the hospital room, the ICU charges (if needed), the fees of the doctors, nursing charges, etc. Thus, by taking care of the hospital costs, which comprise the major part of your medical expenses, global coverage helps you bear the costs of international hospitalisation.
- Emergency assistance
Global coverage ensures financial security in an emergency. If you are in an international country and you suffer from an emergency illness or injury that requires immediate medical attention, you can avail of that attention without worrying about the underlying costs.
- Access to advanced healthcare
International treatments use advanced technologies and they can be effective against critical illnesses or major surgeries. Under many health plans, global coverage is allowed for critical illnesses allowing you to get access to advanced healthcare facilities without worrying about their affordability.
- Tax benefits
Lastly, health plans with global coverage allow the same tax benefits that normal health insurance plans provide. The premium that you pay is allowed as a deduction under Section 80D up to INR 25,000. If you are aged 60 years or above, the deduction limit increases to INR 50,000. In the case of parents, if you pay the premium for their coverage, you can claim an additional deduction of INR 25,000 or INR 50,000 depending on your parents’ age.
So, health plans with global coverage makes sense. If you choose the coverage, you can enhance the scope of your policy that goes beyond the Indian borders and avail of coverage worldwide.
Things to know about global health cover
Though many health insurance plans allow global coverage in their plans, here are some aspects of the coverage that you should know about –
- The coverage can be available either as an inbuilt benefit or as an optional add-on. The inbuilt benefit is usually available under high sum insured levels. In the case of the latter, you would have to pay an additional premium to avail of the coverage.
- Under some plans, the coverage might not be available for treatments taken in USA or Canada
- OPD expenses and pre and post hospitalisation expenses are usually not covered under the plan
- Maternity coverage might be excluded and, if included, it is usually available only under family floater plans
- There might be a co-payment for international coverage
- There might be a limit on the coverage amount
- Some plans allow only emergency international hospitalisations. Planned hospitalisations are excluded
- Under some plans international coverage is available only for named critical illnesses
- There might be restriction on the tenure up to which international coverage can be availed of
- Pre-existing illnesses and their complications might not be covered
Buying health insurance with global coverage
Global health insurance coverage is a valuable addition to your health insurance policy if you travel internationally. It is different from a travel insurance plan and it widens the geographical scope of your policy. So, you can avail of the coverage for enhanced protection. You can either buy a new policy having global coverage or port to one at the time of renewals.
However, when buying, read the coverage terms and conditions so that you know exactly what you are covered for. Also, check the coverage limit. If the plan allows global coverage as an add-on, the additional premium would be low and affordable so that you can add the coverage to the policy.
So, assess your needs and then opt for global health insurance coverage in a health insurance policy.