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Here are the tips to buy the best health insurance (Shutterstock)
Here are the tips to buy the best health insurance (Shutterstock)

Which health insurance to buy for complete protection? All you want to know

Best health insurance to buy in 2021

By Ajay Shah

2020 has been an unusual year; while there were many challenges, there were equal opportunities and learnings as well. One key learning we all can definitely take away is ‘Crisis comes unannounced and being prepared for it is no-one else’s but our own prerogative’. Undoubtedly, the year was marked by severe disruptions to our health and life. Entering into 2021 with much anticipation for vaccination, we should be hopeful and yet careful how the year will unfold and take necessary steps and precautions to safeguard ourselves.

Changing Calendars, Continuing Reality

The changing of calendars does not necessarily mean that our world is changing as dramatically as it did when COVID-19 hit us, yet the impact of the pandemic and the emerging variants of the virus will continue to affect us.

Yes, with vaccines around the corner, there’s much hope. However, it will take considerable time for everyone to be vaccinated. Furthermore, it is still advised to take adequate precautions even after inoculation.

A Trend Unique to 2020

Last year, with COVID19 outbreak, the health insurance industry witnessed a lot of instant purchases. Many first time enrolees would have taken coverage as an immediate measure, at times specifically for covering treatment of medical expenses related to COVID-19.

For persons who took the aforementioned approach, it’s imperative that they make a more informed decision this time round and opt for a comprehensive health insurance solution that extends its coverage to hospitalization expenses for treatment of other ailments. For those who haven’t yet opted for a health insurance, there’s no better time than now to take into account the imperative need of a comprehensive cover.

Things to Consider

Although individual needs and affordability are different, it is pertinent to understand what health insurance suits you best. The following are some of the tips to keep in mind.

Understand your budget: This is pretty simple. You must prioritize and budget significantly for health insurance policy.In the Pre-Covid world, health insurance was seen as an extra expense, however, with changing times, the significance of insurance has been realised and it is vital to make this an important part of your financial planning.

Assess your health insurance needs: Your health insurance needs would by and large be unique. Depending on the family construct, your policy should include you, your spouse, and dependents, including your children, siblings, and the parents. Then there are other needs such as coverage for a specific disease. Depending on further specifics, you can get an individual plan, family floater, senior citizen or disease specific or critical illness plans.

Comparing the plans: Once you understand your needs and have a budget, you should explore multiple plans and compare their features and offerings. Comparing is essential to understand and know your plans in detail, to make an informed decision and avoid surprises while utilizing your policy.

Quick 2021 Trends: The Best Health Insurance Policies

The following are some of the types of health insurance policies that are expected to be popular in the New Year.

COVID-19 plans will continue to gain importance. Despite the news on vaccines, it is advisable for people to opt for those policies which include coverage COVID-19 or are specifically designed to cover the disease. Also, while choosing a COVID-19 specific plan, it is important to choose the plans which are covering the cost of miscellaneous consumables. Covid-19 based short-term plans are expected to be popular this year.

Comprehensive plans: As more people are now opting for health insurance, it is important to opt for plans which provide best value for money. These can be plans with extensive coverage, covering outpatient and inpatient treatments, including costs of OPD consultations, diagnostic tests and so on. The plans could also have features like covering day care procedures, ambulance cost, critical illness, and cashless treatment. Most importantly, they would offer to cover almost all major illnesses, and in case of a new major health pandemic, it will most likely be covered as well.

Other disease specific plans: The disease specific plans basically work for one specific disease and are affordable solutions for advance treatment at all stages. With rising non-communicable / lifestyle-based diseases, individuals who are at risk of inheriting or developing diseases usually opt for these plans.

Whatever type of policy you may choose, it is important that you research well and take one which suits your needs. Most importantly, it is now essential more than ever before, to have a comprehensive health cover, and fortunately, there are many good options available to choose.

(The author is the Director & Head – Retail Sales, Care Health Insurance (Formerly Religare Health Insurance). Views expressed are his own.)

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