Medical emergencies can strike anyone anytime, anywhere. No matter how hard you try, you can neither prevent nor predict them. The only thing you can do is stay prepared for them. This is where health insurance plans or medical insurance plans come to the rescue.

What is Health Insurance or Mediclaim?

Health insurance protects you from expenses that may arise out of sickness or surgery. Health insurance policies can be taken in an individual’s name or for the family as a whole.

Health insurance plans in India offer two options: cashless and reimbursement. In cashless, the insurance company has a list of network hospitals. If a patient goes to any hospital that is on this list, he can avail of hospitalisation without having to pay cash. Under a reimbursement plan, the patient informs the company of a planned or emergency hospitalization. On submission of all relevant documents, the patient is reimbursed the actual expenses.

For all kinds of Medical insurance plans, you get tax exemption for the premium amount as defined under section 80D of Income Tax Act.

Why are health insurance plans necessary for everyone?

The growing number of lifestyle diseases and the rising cost of healthcare has made it necessary to have health insurance plans. A majority of the salaried class in India does have a health cover provided by the company that they work for. However, more often than not, this turns out to be insufficient. Therefore, it is important to buy a personal health insurance policy based on your requirements.

Mediclaim vs. Health Insurance

Although often spoken about in the same breath, there are major differences between health insurance plans and Mediclaim insurance plans.

Mediclaim Health Insurance
An indemnity product that compensates the policy holder for the actual costs incurred for treatment limited by the sum assured A benefit product which provides a lump sum amount to the insured as laid down in the policy
It covers only the costs of hospitalisation Along with hospitalisation costs, it also covers pre and post hospitalisation expenses, ambulance charges, reimbursement for lost income, etc.
Hospitalisation is mandatory Hospitalisation is not required, especially in critical illness cases
The upper limit of the cover usually does not exceed Rs 5 lakh The upper limit can be close to Rs 60 lakh
More than one claim can be made till the sum assured amount is reached Limited to a single claim. A lump sum is paid only once.

What are the different kinds of health insurance plans?

There are different types of health insurance plans in India, and also add-ons that can be bought on top of a basic health plan.

Based on the number of people covered under the plan, medical insurance plans can be divided into two categories.

  • Individual Plans – These plans cater to only one individual.
  • Family Plans – Health insurance plans for family cover an entire family under a single policy.

Based on the type of coverage, health insurance plans can be divided into the following categories.

  • Mediclaim or Regular Health Plans – In this plan, the insurance company reimburses the cost of hospitalization and other hospital stay expenses, as per the sum insured.
  • Top-up plan – This is an add-on cover on top of an existing policy. It supports expenses incurred beyond the sum insured of the basic policy. There are many types of top-up plans in the market.
  • Critical illness plans – Critical illness plans can be bought separately or as a rider for certain ailments like cancer, kidney failure, heart diseases, etc.
  • Senior Citizen Health Plan – With an increase in the average life expectancy of human beings, most health insurance companies are now offering plans specific to the needs of senior citizens.

Why buy health insurance?

Reasons you should buy Health Insurance

  • Offers protection in times of need.
  • Provides tax benefits, daily cash allowance, etc.
  • Gives the policyholder the benefit of cashless hospitalisation.
  • Enables one to avail of the best possible treatment.

Points to consider before buying Mediclaim or Health Insurance.

  • Opt for health insurance at an early age – The premiums are lower if you start off early.
  • Check the premium amount that needs to be paid. However, remember that higher premium does not necessarily mean that the policy is better.
  • Read the fine print carefully. This will help you understand what is covered in the policy and what is not. It will also explain the process of claims and reimbursements, waiting period, tax deductions, etc.
  • Assess your lifestyle and requirements before buying a policy.
  • Last but not the least, clarify every single doubt, no matter how silly and insignificant it might seem.

Why should you read health insurance plans thoroughly?

The policy document will give you details on everything that is covered in the health insurance plan. Here’s an overview of what your medical insurance plans may cover:

Day-care treatment: Hospitalisation for less than 24 hours. Chemotherapy, cataract surgery, angiography, dialysis, radiotherapy, appendectomy, etc., are covered under this form of treatment.

Inpatient hospitalisation: When a patient is admitted to the hospital for more than 24 hours.

Pre-hospitalisation expenses: Medical expenses before being hospitalised. E.g., pathology tests, sonography, X-Ray, etc.

Post hospitalisation expenses: Medical expenses after release from the hospital.

Accident cover: This covers additional expenses in case of accidents and is active from the day of issuance.

Hospital cash/Surgical plans: Many insurance companies offer daily allowance to the insured to handle miscellaneous expenses.

Ambulance charges: Certain health insurance companies cover ambulance charges as well.

Domiciliary hospitalisation: This is when the patient opts for getting treated from their home.

The policy document will also give you details on everything that is NOT covered in the health insurance plan. Here’s a list of some common exclusions:

  • Any claim within 30 days of purchase of the plan except accidents.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases like Syphilis, AIDS, Genital Herpes, Warts, Gonorrhoea, Chlamydia.
  • Treatment for fertility issues, mental health conditions, sleep disorders, routine eye and ear examinations.
  • Medical advice from a non-medical practitioner.
  • Surgery undergone for sex change or corrective devices like wheelchairs, dentures, collars, walker, etc.
  • Any cosmetic treatment like plastic surgery unless medically recommended.
  • Treatment for any congenital disease.
  • Expenses incurred due to self-inflicted or war related injuries.

Health insurance eligibility criteria

Ideal time to buy health cover: The entry age for purchasing health insurance plans in India is 18 – 65 years. Children aged between three months and 18 years are eligible to avail of health insurance.

Existing medical conditions, if any: You need to provide a self-declaration of good health before buying a health insurance plan. Sometimes, the insurer might insist on medical tests to evaluate the health risk.

Health Insurance Plans in India

Companies offering Mediclaim and Health Insurance Plans in India.

More and more companies are offering either stand-alone Mediclaim insurance plans or a range of health insurance plans in India. Here is a comparative list of the top health insurance plans offered by these companies today.

Health Insurance Plans Coverage Waiting Period (in years) Sum Insured Range (in lakhs) Maximum Entry Age (in years)
Apollo Munich Optima Restore Plan Up to 6 family members 3 3 – 50 65
Cigna TTK ProHealth Protect Plan Up to 4 family members 4 2.5 – 10 None
HDFC ERGO Health Suraksha Insurance Up to 4 family members 4 2 – 10 55
IFFCO Tokio Individual Medishield Policy Up to 5 family members 3 1 – 5 80
Max Bupa Health Companion Family First Up to 4 family members 3 2 – 100 None
Reliance Health Gain Insurance Up to 6 family members 3 3 – 9 65
Religare Care Health Insurance Plan Up to 6 family members 4 3 – 60 None
SBI Health Insurance Up to 4 family members 4 0.5 – 5 65
Star Health and Allied Insurance Family Health Optima Plan Up to 4 family members 4 2 -25 65

Why Choose Turtlemint?

Turtlemint is a one-stop destination for all your health insurance needs, making the entire process smooth, quick and convenient.

  • Compare all health insurance policies with one click and find the best health insurance plans in India.
  • Calculate the premium using our free premium calculator to understand the cost.
  • Contact our experts to resolve any queries through online chat or telephonic discussions.
  • Download all brochures and policy documents from one place.
  • Once you know the most appropriate policy for you and have gone through all its details, you can buy the best policy online at Turtlemint.
  • Do health insurance online renewal easily.

Health insurance renewal

How to renew health insurance plans at Turtlemint?

Health insurance policies can be taken for a maximum of two to three years at a stretch. To ensure continuous coverage, you need to renew your policy before it expires. Most companies offer a grace period of 15 days for renewal. After this grace period expires, the policy lapses.

Renewing your health insurance at Turtlemint is easy. With convenient payment options and ease of porting from one insurer to another, it takes just a few minutes.

  1. Fill in the basic policy details.
  2. Select the payment option and make the payment.
  3. Once the payment is authorised, a digitally signed copy of the renewed policy is issued.

During the health insurance renewal process, you are given a username and password. You can use these credentials to check your policy details online on the health insurance provider’s website.

Tax exemptions on health insurance

Section 80D of Income Tax Act pertains to deductions for premium paid for medical insurance plans. The following rules apply to the deductions.

  • If you are under 60 years of age, you can claim deduction up to a maximum of Rs. 25,000/-.
  • If you are over 60 years of age, the deduction upper limit is Rs 30,000.
  • If you have health insurance for parents (any or both), an additional deduction can be claimed. The limit is up to Rs. 25,000/– if parents are less than 60 years old and Rs 30,000 if they are older than 60 years.
  • Hence, the maximum deduction available under section 80D for medical insurance plans is Rs. 55,000/-.
  • This limit includes an amount of Rs 5,000 for preventive health check-ups


Health insurance plans in India can be bought either online or offline. For offline purchases, you can go to a bank or an insurance company’s branch office near you. For online, you can either directly go to an insurance company’s website or go to an insurance aggregator’s website (like Turtlemint), compare the different available products and make the best choice.

The entry age for buying a health insurance policy is 90 days – 18 years for children and 18–65 years for adults.

A Mediclaim plan covers only hospitalization costs. Purely diagnostic treatment and day-care treatment like dental treatments are not covered. Pregnancy and associated complications, congenital disorders, alternative treatments and critical illnesses are also excluded from Mediclaim policies.

You can buy a family floater health insurance policy to cover self, spouse, up to two children, parents and parents-in-law. The sum assured will be shared by all the family members in this case.

If the primary person expires, the policy can be renewed for the other family members, but only if the premium has been paid. The family needs to fill up a change of request form to change the primary insured. The premium would then be recalculated based on the age of the new primary person.

You can increase the sum insured only at the time of renewal of the policy. However, the waiting period will be applicable once again on the extra sum. The insurer may also insist on fresh medical tests.

The policy can be cancelled within the freelook period (usually 15 days). If it is cancelled within this period, a refund will be provided. This refund amount will be calculated after deduction of applicable taxes, proportionate risk premium amount and the expenses incurred for the medical check-up. The policy termination clauses can give a clearer idea about the actual refund.