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One of the main advantages of a senior citizen specific health insurance policy is the shorter waiting period of one to two years for pre-existing illnesses, compared to four years under regular plans. (Shutterstock)
One of the main advantages of a senior citizen specific health insurance policy is the shorter waiting period of one to two years for pre-existing illnesses, compared to four years under regular plans. (Shutterstock)
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A health insurance policy can make your retirement life stress-free

Pandemic or no pandemic, a health cover is the best way to be prepared for emergencies during your retirement years.

A rise in medical costs, coupled with an increase in life expectancy, has led to a unique conundrum. Longer lives mean more expenses and a bigger post-retirement corpus, and it is no secret that keeping incomes ahead in the race against inflation is easier said than done. The amount that would have sufficed 10 years ago for comfortably spending one’s post-retirement years will fall woefully short today.

With age, an increase in the number of trips to the hospital is also inevitable; and, availing quality and affordable healthcare services, is always tricky. Opting for a health insurance policy can, however, save you from these worries.

But how do the elderly choose the right policy? Experts recommend a senior citizen specific health insurance policy, compared to a regular one, as the former has more benefits. Read on to know why.

Benefits of senior citizen-specific policies

One of the main advantages of a senior citizen specific health insurance policy is the shorter waiting period of one to two years for pre-existing illnesses, compared to four years under regular plans.

Since the chances of contracting serious ailments increase as you age, treatment for the same could prove to be expensive. A regular health insurance policy may not include coverage for pre-existing diseases and can cause significant financial drain. But most senior citizen health insurance policies do, and no medical tests are required for availing insurance.

Post-hospitalization costs and day care procedures such as cataract, dialysis, and chemotherapy, which can be completed in less than 24 hours at a hospital, are also the offshoot advantages of senior citizen-specific health insurance policies.

Covid-19 adds to the struggles of senior citizens

The ongoing coronavirus crisis has magnified the healthcare struggles for the elderly. For octogenarian S.S. Chakraborty, a retired civil engineer, the coronavirus pandemic has snowballed the struggles of old age. He says, “My wife and I have been living in a constant state of fear since the pandemic broke out. Unsurprisingly, both of us have co-morbidities and although we don’t require assistance from caregivers and our daughter lives close by, there is an overwhelming sense of anxiety because of the virus. We have not even been able to consult our doctors and get our routine tests done for fear of contracting the infection."

Chakraborty’s comments mirror the brutally disproportionate impact of the deadly virus on the geriatric population. While lockdown restrictions have been lifted in the country, the elderly section of the society continue to remain in home confinement and accessibility of medical services remains dodgy.

Although several state governments including Delhi, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra have introduced a ceiling on the cost of COVID-19 treatment in private hospitals, the Supreme Court has refused to fix a countrywide limit. Hospitalization costs, for both COVID and non-COVID patients in other states, have skyrocketed in the last few months.

A dedicated health insurance policy for the aged

In such a situation, a dedicated health policy for the aged can be a huge boon. The Reliance HealthGain health insurance policy is a unique plan that has been designed keeping in mind the requirements of elderly people. Under the scheme, the elderly can avail cashless hospitalization in 4,000 network hospitals and also claim tax deductions up to 35,000 under Section 80D.

A sound insurance policy can go a long way in ensuring the health and wellbeing of the elderly in your family. Pandemic or no pandemic, the frailties of their age cannot be ignored and a health cover is the best way to be prepared for emergencies.

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