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Did you cover your parent’s health yet ?

Parents hold a special place in almost all of our hearts. They gave birth to us, cared for us, raised us and provided with all the suitable, sometimes best, necessities and often sacrificed their dreams for our future. We respect our parents and try to take care of them in their old age. Whether it is their medical needs, lifestyle needs or entertainment needs, we see to it that all their needs are met and they live a comfortable life. Providing for the other needs is not financially distressing, but when it comes to our parent’s medical needs, our pockets face the brunt.

Old age is associated with high incidences of medical contingencies and given today’s medical costs, it becomes difficult for a middle-class man to provide for the huge expenses incurred in case of any medical contingency faced by his parents. In this case, a health insurance plan comes in handy to deal with the associated medical expenses.

Most of you would come up with the obvious answer of a family floater policy which also has the provision of covering your parents, but is it the best alternative? No it is not and the reasons mentioned below explain why not:

    • Higher premiums

      Though family floater plans allow the coverage of dependent parents, the premium calculated depends on the age of the senior-most member. If you are including your parents who are aged above 50 years of age, the premium would definitely come out to be high. Thus, buying a separate plan for the parents makes better sense

    • Frequent Claims

      Since parents would be requiring frequent medical assistance, you would be facing frequent claims in your family floater plan. The effect is dually egregious. One, meeting the higher claims of your parents would eat away the floater Sum Assured leaving a little coverage for other members. Secondly, frequent claims would make you lose on your No Claim Bonus which you could have otherwise enjoyed.

    • Limited coverage

      Family floater plans are designed for every individual and has a waiting period clause for pre-existing diseases, which ranges from 2 to 4 years. Moreover the coverage might also be limited and the ailments faced by your parents might be excluded from the scope of coverage. Individual plans designed especially for senior citizens are better alternatives.

Considering these shortcomings, insurers have designed senior citizen health insurance plans which deal specifically with the health insurance requirements of senior citizens aged 60 years and above. These plans have age-specific features suitable for the elderly and offer benefits otherwise excluded from normal health insurance plans. Here are some of the common features of senior citizen health insurance plans available in the market today:

    • The coverage

      The plans developed especially for senior citizens, called senior citizen health plans, have a limited coverage option. High levels of Sum Assured are not available under these plans as they cover individuals with the riskiest health profiles. The average amount of Sum Assured offered is up to 5 lakhs in most of the available plans. Some plans do extend coverage even till 1 Crore and rightly so because of the high Medical Inflation in India close to about 20%!

    • The premium

      Needless to say, premiums are a bit on the higher side. This should not be a bone of contention considering the risk undertaken by the insurer and the age of the individuals covered under the plan.

    • Co-pay clause

      This is a concept applicable in senior citizen plans or plans which cover individuals in higher age brackets. The co-pay clause states that in the event of any claim incurred and raise, a pre-specified proportion of the claim would have to be borne by the policyholder and the insurer would settle the remaining amount. The co-pay limit, i.e. the proportion of claim payable by policyholders, generally range from 10% to 20% on a per case basis.

    • Waiting period

      As is with all health insurance plans, senior citizen plans, too, have a waiting period clause during which pre-existing illnesses are not covered. However, senior citizen plans score in this context as very low waiting period, generally of 1 or 2 years, is only applicable where normal health plans keep a longer tenure.

    • Renewability

      Just like other health plans, senior citizen plans are also renewable for lifetime. However, if they lapse, then it cannot be renewed if they are over the maximum entry limit. So, continuing the plan is of utmost importance

    • Pre-screening Medical check-ups

      As the individuals covered are of higher age, they are required to undergo a pre-screening medical examination before a policy is issued to them.

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