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Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock

Top-up plans may be costly for the elderly

Top-up policy may have conditions imposed on the pre-existing health issues of seniors

I am 34 years old and want to buy a health insurance for my wife (31). I can pay high premium. What is the amount of cover I should get so that I have adequate insurance for the next 15-20 years? Also, should I buy a family floater or an individual policy?

— Jatin

The coverage amount should be 10 lakh or at least equal to your annual income. The link between sum insured and annual income is important, as the choice of medical facility is driven by the person’s lifestyle. Cost of treatment varies in terms of hospital and the room type within the same hospital. You should look to enhance the sum insured further in case of any pre-existing condition or adverse family medical history. You can review the sum insured every three years based on the prevailing medical costs and your income. Insurers generally offer to enhance the sum insured at renewal without any medical check-up. Also, to account for medical inflation, opt for a plan with a high no-claim bonus. A high cumulative no-claim bonus would provide cost-effective coverage.

I have bought insurance for my father (70) and mother (65). They have a family floater cover of 5 lakh. Should I buy a top-up or accumulate a health fund, as premiums for top-up plans are high? Also, do companies conduct medical tests before giving top-up, and can I buy plans online? My father has had diabetes for 32 years and has hypertension. My mother has hypertension and high cholesterol and had suffered transient ischemic attack in 2012.

— Arun Iyer

Top-up health plans are better, as even though premiums can be a bit high given your parents’ age, the coverage would be optimal. A health fund has two primary issues. It might not be sufficient in early years in case of a medical contingency. Also, after the first hospitalization, the corpus would get depleted and would need to be reinstated. Medical insurance sum insured gets reset every year. So, even if you exhaust the sum insured in any given year, you can avail of the full sum insured again next year.

Medical tests depend on the age of the insured member. Since your parents are in the higher age group, and with health conditions, it is likely that tests will be required before they get coverage.

Top-up plans can be bought online, either through an insurance company or an adviser’s website. The top-up policy that you buy might have conditions imposed on the pre-existing health issues of your parents. However, such conditions would depend on the underwriting policies. So, compare the top-up plans before applying.

Abhishek Bondia is principal officer and managing director,

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