With healthcare getting expensive every day and to help protect against unforeseen medical crises, invest in a health insurance plan for you and your loved ones. With a plethora of medical covers available, choose a comprehensive health cover which takes care of you in your time of need.

Here are a few things you should know before purchasing a health insurance plan :

Terms in use:

  1. Health Insurance Policy – An insurance policy covering your medical expenses in case of medical emergency and offers benefits like cashless treatments, tax deductions and coverage for terminal illness etc.

  1. Waiting period– The amount of time a policyholder must wait for before his health insurance comes into effect and ranges from 30-90 days from initiation date of policy. Some parts of your cover, like a pre-existing medical condition may have a longer waiting period (2-4 years) and will come into effect after this period is over.

  1. Sub Limit– This is a limit on the claim amount for a specific treatment/procedure, beyond which the insurer will not pay regardless of the assured sum. This is a cap on the amount spent for a particular treatment/procedure.

  1. No Claim Bonus (NCB)- This is a benefit available for every claim-free year in the form of a 5% increase in the sum assured. NCB can be availed at the time of renewal of policy.

  1. Co-Payment – This is a clause in certain health insurance policies where the majority of a medical expense is covered by the insurer and a remaining, small portion is paid by the policyholder. This is a cheaper plan with a lower premium.

  1. Third Party Administrator (TPA)- TPA is the medium connecting policyholders to insurance companies, responsible for claim process and settlement along with networking with hospitals for cashless treatments and other services.

  1. Tax Deduction- You can claim tax benefits of up to ₹25,000 (₹50,000 for senior citizens) for medical insurance premium instalments under section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961

  1. Incurred Claim Ratio (ICR)- Percentage of claims paid to premium received by an insurance company. This gives you an idea of the claim settlement ratio of a provider.

  1. Health Insurance Portability- The benefit of switching insurance companies without losing previous waiting period advantage or No Claim Benefits.

  1. Mediclaim- This is a type of health insurance which only covers hospitalization expenses and some specific treatment under a pre-specified sum for emergency accidents/illness. No other costs post hospitalization is covered under mediclaim policies.

How to choose the right policy?

  • Depending on varied needs like family cover or critical illness care etc., there are many types of health covers. Read about each of them and decide the type of health plan which covers all your medical needs.

  • Thoroughly enquire about services which are included and excluded from the cover of various providers paying attention to the sub-limits provided in each plan.

  • Compare various medical plans online for the sum assured, (ICR) and claim process. Ideally, you should choose a policy which offers maximum sum assured at the most reasonable premium, with a 70-90% ICR value and a hassle-free claim process.

  • Look for additional perks like a Pre-policy check-up Free Look Period offered by Bharti AXA Health Insurance to extract value for your insurance premium.

  • Read Customer Reviews on the websites of policy companies and choose a provider with multiple honest and good reviews.