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Benefit from new health plans

health plans

Renewing a health insurance policy can induce a rare trauma. Ask 68-year-old Sarayu Arvind Parekh. In 1999, Mumbai-based Parekh bought a mediclaim, for which she paid an annual premium of 14,596 till 2007, an uneventful , claimless period. Then, in 2008, she had to undergo a knee surgery and made a claim. The shocker snuck up the same year at the time of renewal, when her premium shot up to 31,833. After last year’s eye surgery, it inched up to 41,000. Parekh hasn’t quite recovered . Not from the surgery, but the gravitydefying rise of her health premium.

The health insurance sector has been ailing from many such anachronisms, sustained by insurer monopoly and lack of awareness. Besides the rise in premium or even termination of policies during renewal, individual plans do not cover pregnancy or diabetics, doctor consultations are not entitled to an insurance, etc.

Though the sector is rocked from time to time by issues and controversies, the health insurance scape in India is gradually changing. The latest round of changes have been triggered in the past couple of years by the new entrants whose prescience has resulted in improvisations and new products suited to the consumers. ET Wealth takes a look at these new developments and how they can benefit you.

Assured renewals:

Health plans, unlike life insurance , require a renewal of contract every year. Traditionally, this has been a problem area because a heavy claim meant that either your cover was not renewed or the premium was zoomed to tactfully avoid renewal. Now, however , two standalone health insurance companies , Max Bupa Health Insurance and Apollo Munich, are promising lifetime renewals without an unseemly rise in premium or threat of termination. These insurers are estimating the probability of a person falling ill in a lifetime and then calculating the premium for various age groups. So the product may be expensive compared with a mediclaim, but at least your premium will not shoot up 20-30 % during a renewal just because you made a claim. In fact, not content with a simple guarantee of renewal , insurers like Max Bupa are incentivising it. While mediclaim policies typically offer a noclaim bonus for those who do not make a claim in a year, Max Bupa offers a bonus of 10% of the renewal premium in the form of health services and products every time you renew, irrespective of claims.

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