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Best health plans for you

To get a ready comparison, see the Mint SecureNow Mediclaim Ratings (MSMR)

How do you buy a health insurance plan? If you just settle with the plan your agent sells or are happy knowing you have bought the cheapest plan, there is a bit of unlearning and a lot of learning in store for you. A health insurance policy packs in several features and caveats. To give you a ready comparison, we designed Mint SecureNow Mediclaim Ratings (MSMR). The full ratings along with the methodology can be seen here: http://www.livemint.com/mediratings.

In the ratings, for family floater plans, we have considered two sum insured amounts ( 10 lakh and 20 lakh) and three age categories in each—eldest insured member is 35, 45 or 65 years old. For individual plans, the sum assured amounts are 5 lakh, 10 lakh and 20 lakh. The ages covered are 35, 45, 65 and 70 years.

This week, we spotlight individual policies with sum assured 5 lakh, where the person is 35 years old. We also explain some of the important aspects that one should look at while choosing a policy.

Let’s look at pre-existing diseases.

The rule book defines pre-existing disease as any condition, ailment, injury or related conditions for which the insured person had signs or symptoms, and/or was diagnosed and/or received medical treatment within 48 months before buying the policy. Such pre-existing ailments are covered after a waiting period of four years. If you have or had any ailment in the past four years before you bought a health plan for the first time and were aware of it, it will be considered a pre-existing disease. Further, the disease or other related conditions will not be covered for the next four years. Any ailment that you contract after you buy the policy is not a pre-existing disease. In fact, the waiting period on pre-existing ailments is one of the primary reasons why claims get rejected. But experts feel the definition is not watertight as the policyholder may have symptoms of a pre-existing disease but may not be aware of it, or the symptoms may be silent. Some insurers have started reducing the waiting period. So, shorter waiting period on pre-existing ailments have been given higher scores.

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