I am considering purchasing health insurance for my elderly mother, who is 68-years-old and has pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. However, she has not had any complications from these conditions. I’m unsure what type of policy would best suit her needs and whether the premiums would be affordable. Will she be charged higher premiums due to her age and pre-existing conditions, and would the premiums continue to increase every year? What are some key factors to consider when selecting a health insurance policy for an older adult with pre-existing medical conditions?
Reply by: Rakesh Jain, CEO of Reliance General Insurance
Since all insurance companies file their premium rates based on age, the premium increases automatically with age. Other factors, such as pre-existing health issues and policy features, also determine insurance premiums. Therefore, it is likely that your mother’s insurance premium will be on the higher side due to her advanced age and pre-existing medical issues. Choosing a multi-year health plan will be wise as it provides an additional discount on the premium rates. Also, multi-year health plans are immune to premium hikes until the completion of their tenure. So, the premium will not increase during the policy tenure.
A multi-year health insurance policy is a long-term one. It offers coverage for an extended duration of two or more years. It typically allows you to pay all premiums in one go, depending on the policy you buy for the next two or three years. You need to pay the premium when buying the policy, and thereby, it helps relieve you from the hassle of renewing your policy every year. These policies come up with discounted premiums.
It is paramount to have sufficient sum insured amount and wide-ranging plans with modern features to ensure complete financial protection for your mother. Due to her advanced age, she might be prone to health issues; therefore, it will be wise to opt for an add-on that will give her twice the sum insured amount to be used for the same claim in case the hospital bill goes above that amount. Additionally, if she gets hospitalised multiple times, having an unlimited reinstatement add-on will be helpful as it will restore the base sum insured amount as many times as it gets exhausted in a policy year for unrelated illnesses. Such policies are expensive, though.
Apart from these features, ensure that the policy offers health check-ups, vaccination, vision correction, second opinion, tele-consultation, modern treatment AYUSH etc. Homecare treatment and domiciliary hospitalisation are the other features she should consider to ensure best-in-class treatment from home comfort. Consumable cover, emergency ambulance and pre-post hospitalisation would be necessary for her. Having organ donor expenses feature in the policy will be very useful in the event of organ transplantation.
While buying the policy at this stage, you must also carefully check the exclusion clauses because if you miss them, you won’t be able to make claims even if you buy a health insurance policy.
(Views expressed by the investment expert are his/her own.)