The healthcare industry has seen a rapid increase in demand across the country, especially since the Covid outbreak. New and complicated diseases, lifestyle diseases, and better health awareness are some of the reasons for medical inflation. Based on our lifestyles, there is no way these numbers will drop in the near future. So how do we protect ourselves and our economies? Having a good healthcare plan in place can save you from bankruptcy. It will also help you access the best facilities.
When it comes to choosing the right health insurance plan, confusion and questions are normal. There are so many healthcare providers to choose from. To fuel the chaos, each vendor offers a plethora of products (same game, different name). That’s why it’s impossible to select the most appropriate health plan for you or your family. In case you’re stuck with the same delusion, here are five rules of thumb you can follow to make an informed decision.
When it comes to health care plans, age isn’t just a number. This number determines the subscription price that you will have to pay to the health care provider. The rule of thumb here is that health care subscription costs increase with age. This is mainly because older people have higher medical costs than teenagers or young adults.
Therefore, when it comes to buying a healthcare plan, the earlier you start the better. In fact, 18 is considered the appropriate age to get your own health care plan, but anywhere in your early 20s is also acceptable, as long as you are in good health. Also, you should carefully check the age limit criteria of a health care plan before making your choice.
Also Read: 6 Money Lessons for Living a Healthy Financial Life
Check the T&Cs
This is one of the biggest conundrums when it comes to health care plans. Is the plan you are thinking of really a VFM (Value for Money)? People usually fall for the marketing and upselling tactics of healthcare brokers/providers and end up with healthcare plans that don’t deliver what they promised.
Any plan purchased with little research is bound to make you feel cheated. One way to avoid this is to avoid long-term contracts, go through a trial period, and avoid high upfront payments. This way, even if you end up buying the wrong plan, you won’t lose too much money. Monthly health subscriptions by platforms like Kenko Health are therefore a better option. They offer flexibility as you don’t have to commit. You can cancel it at any time without losing your money.
Include OPD Benefits
This is an aspect that is often overlooked by most customers. Simply assuming that health care plans encompass everything related to health is not the best way to go. Since most health products on the market do not cover your OPD expenses, it is important that you clarify or research this before investing your hard-earned cash.
Also read: Bank charges – What fees can banks charge you?
It is estimated that 65% of our health expenditure is devoted to OPDs. This includes your regular doctor visits, medications, lab tests, etc. Many companies have now started offering OPD benefits, but there is a limit attached to it. Make sure to go through these terms and have your doubts answered.
Look for flaws
Every loophole in the healthcare plan, like after-purchase deductions, benefit limitations, exclusions, etc., can confuse you. Going for healthcare plans that are completely transparent in their settlement process is the way to go.
Typically, when agents sell you health plans, they don’t bother to explain these finer details. The website will also cleverly omit these details. It is important to know what you are committing to and what your contribution is in the event of treatment or an emergency.
Go for what’s easy
This is by far the most important point to remember when buying a healthcare plan. Regardless of the quality of a plan at the outset or its cost of purchase, the process of settling your benefits must always be transparent, simple and well defined beforehand.
How many days does it take to settle your claims? Who should be your point of contact? What to do in an emergency ? What documents are needed after undergoing treatment? Who pays first – you or your health insurance provider? Here are some questions you should ask yourself before making any payment.
In conclusion, shopping for the perfect healthcare plan can seem daunting. You can also not buy one because you want to avoid these conflicts internally. However, if you follow these rules of thumb, you will be able to climb the hill faster, which will make the task relatively less boring. Look for a health care provider who is more interested in your health and financial goals and you should navigate.
(By Aniruddha Sen, co-founder of Kenko Health)