Tips on buying a health insurance plan

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THE ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has certainly raised awareness of the importance of health and this has led some people to review their existing health and medical insurance policies, while others are adopting new ones.

Health insurance basically covers your medical costs in the event of an accident or illness. It normally includes hospital costs, drugs and consultation fees.

Globally, demand for health insurance is growing rapidly and Allied Market Research expects it to reach US $ 4.15 trillion (RM17.18 trillion) by 2028, up from $ 1.05 trillion (RM17.18 trillion) by 2028. $ 98 trillion (RM8.20 trillion) last year.

“Insurance is slowly moving away from the afterthought stage with people willing to adjust their budgets in order to purchase insurance plans or expand their coverage,” said Raymond Lew, CEO and President / Country Director of Sun Life Malaysia.

If you are employed, chances are your employer will cover the medical bill, although some may require employees to pay part of the expenses.

However, if you are considering purchasing coverage for yourself and your family as medical costs rise, it is best to do some research before you jump in.

There really is no one plan that fits everyone since age, gender, health conditions and budgets differ from person to person.

When buying insurance coverage, Lew said, if possible, start at a younger age, and if you’re healthy you’ll get lower premiums.

“If you wait to get medical insurance after retirement, it won’t be easy to get accepted because of your age and health,” added Heng Zee Wang, marketing director of AIA Bhd.

There are many other insurers in Malaysia besides AIA and Sun Life.

Those listed on the Malaysian Life Insurance Association website include Allianz, AmMetLife, AXA, Affin, Etiqa, Gibraltar BSN, Great Eastern, Hannover Re, Hong Leong Assurance, Malaysia Life Reinsurance, Manulife, MCIS Life, Prudential , Tokio Marine and Zurich.

There are also hundreds of agents selling insurance policies, but always remember to check if they are licensed. If in doubt, call the company they represent for verification.

There are basically four main types of health insurance and medical / takaful insurance policies to opt for: hospitalization and surgical plan; critical illness; disability income plan; and the hospital’s income plan.

“Remember the golden rule: Buying a health insurance policy / takaful contract starts with identifying what you want for yourself and your loved ones.

“Although it is quite common for policyholders to purchase more than one health insurance, it is advisable to consider purchasing a single comprehensive health insurance, in order to avoid duplicate coverage,” Lew said. .

Heng added that it is best to understand the features of a plan and its terms and conditions.

When purchasing a policy, Heng said that it is also important to know the details of the limit on hospital room and board benefits, the period of coverage, the imposed waiting period (the if applicable), the limit that can be claimed (annual or lifetime limit), exclusions, premiums do not change with age, deductibles and coinsurance.

He said the main common exclusions from a medical plan include pre-existing illnesses, hospitalization for investigation, any treatment or investigation that is not medically necessary and others.

Be honest and disclose details of your or your family’s medical history, if any, at the time of purchase to avoid possible litigation in the future. “Your medical premium rates are normally not guaranteed as they are subject to revision from time to time based on medical inflation,” Heng added.

If you already have a policy on hand, be sure to review it once a year, as rising healthcare costs can mean that the plan you bought years ago may no longer be enough to meet the needs. current and future needs. Improve it if possible.

When faced with contingencies, the most common grouse is that insurers take a long time to process the payment.

Lew said each insurer does their best to make the process as smooth as possible, but each claim is different and the processes vary slightly depending on the situation.

What policyholders can do to help is make sure documents are in order, premiums are up to date, and they understand the benefits of their eligibility.

Lew said most insurance plans offer the option of a guaranteed lifetime renewal or an annual renewal. For the former, the insured will be covered as long as the premium is paid. “Normally, an annual renewal policy will have slightly lower premiums than a policy with guaranteed renewal for life,” Lew added.

Make sure that your policy covers pre and post hospitalization, outpatient and post-retirement aspects.

Be aware of the personal expenses you may incur if you are hospitalized, as they may not be covered by your policy. It is advisable to read the fine print before signing a font so that you don’t feel like you’ve been cheated later.

Reimbursable charges could include deductibles, coinsurance and co-payments for covered services as well as any costs for services that are not covered, Lew said.

Whatever your financial situation, the decision to take out medical or hospital insurance is entirely up to you, but research helps you identify those which “provide added value, especially when needed”.


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