How can you reduce your health plan costs?

Health Insurance is a vital need of day-to-day life which helps protect the health concerns of your family. With the rising cost of healthcare, changing lifestyle, rising pollution levels and access for better medical facilities in India, the cost of medical insurance is also rising. Most of the time people hesitate to buy medical insurance policies because of the premium rates. However, this is a serious mistake because the treatment cost of a critical illness can be far more than the mediclaim premiums. Today, you might try to avoid petty amounts for cost cutting but imagine if you’re struck with a major health issue or accident it will actually cut down your pockets. On the other hand, if you educate yourself about insurance you can save on costs while protecting the critical healthcare needs of your family with adequate health cover. Expenses saved through a reliable health insurance can be used to invest in other assets that can help you meet your long term financial objectives.
The article discusses some ideas which can help you reduce the cost of medical insurance:

Start at a young age
Your age plays a vital role in deciding the premium of your policy. With increasing age health risks also increase and this causes the insurance premiums to be significantly higher. Starting early definitely has its advantages as far as health insurance premiums are concerned. So lesser age less will be your premium.

No claim bonus
In certain health plans, if you don’t make a claim during a policy year, you are entitled to a no-claim bonus. Buyers should check if your plan offers no claims bonus. No claims bonus is useful if the insured is healthy with low hospitalization risks. It helps increase your Mediclaim cover at no additional costs, a particularly useful benefit, when you grow older and are exposed to higher health risks.

2-3 year policies
Try buying policy for tenure of 2-3 years. Resultant is the premium rates of policy will be lower and less hassle for every year renewal.

Co-payment plans
In a co-pay option the insured agrees to pay a percentage of the health policy claim. The percentage of co-pay is in the range of 10 – 25%. If you opt for co-pay, then your premium will be lower. If you are young and healthy with no medical conditions, you should opt for co-pay because you will save on the cost of premiums.

Family floater
If you have dependents, it is sensible to opt for family floater plan. These plans help to cover entire family for the amount they share and the benefit is that, per person premium is lower compared to individual plans.

Rider Benefits
If you think your current insurance coverage doesn’t cover all the aspects and need an extra coverage for e.g. fitness or dental care don’t go for a new policy as it will incur higher cost. Instead opt for rider benefits as it will significantly reduce the cost of your overall policy premiums.

Compare plans
Like with any form of insurance, you should always compare plans before buying. There are several general insurance companies marketing and selling a large number of health plans. These plans have a wide range of premiums, limits and features. Buying medical policy without adequate research and comparing may end up for an expensive purchase policy which might not best suit for your needs. Some features to be reviewed in policy are: Treatment wise limits and co-pay policy, Day wise Cash limit, Maximum renewal age, network of hospitals.

Health insurance is a complex business. So, it is advisable to approach a good financial adviser to help you select a health insurance policy which is caters to your needs and most importantly fits into your budgets. Try understanding the policy features, term & conditions, policy descriptions, charges incurred, discount & bonus to be availed before buying a policy.