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How to select Health Insurance for Elderly Parents?

Is it either too expensive or lacks the benefits you’d want your parents to have? Let’s unpack all the packages involved with health policies for senior citizens. 

Generally, you might think that everyone is preached to purchase insurance when they are young since it is cheaper. And because the premium prices and the health risks are higher when you get old, why is it even an option to consider? 

Even if you are under a family floater plan or have bought individual policies for your parents, several complications follow people who have crossed a certain age.

For a grim fact, only about 18% of the senior citizens in India have health insurance. Out of all the several reasons that lead to such a low percentage, there are two that are most prevalent. Either they are adamant that their corporate insurance is adequate to cover them or they don’t deem it necessary to buy insurance at a later date.

Also, people in India retire at the age of 60 and/or do not work as much as they might have done earlier, and it becomes quite burdensome for them to expend huge amounts of money to cover their medical expenses. So let’s understand why is it a bad option to skip insuring yourself at a later stage of life –

Greater Medical Risks

As you grow older, you get more susceptible and vulnerable to climate change, pollution levels, and highly communicable diseases. Insurance policies for elderly parents and individuals have become more comprehensive over the years and offer compensation against a vast list of illnesses and health conditions.

Cashless Settlements

For someone elderly, if not insured, it can get as difficult as walking on a tight rope. The chances are that you might have to break a fixed deposit, sell assets, or get a loan to make ends meet paying the bills of the hospital.

On the contrary, if you are subscribed to an insurance policy, you can avail of cashless treatments at select network hospitals. This way, you don’t have to disturb your savings and investments to pay for hospitalization bills and get treated by incurring only petty expenses.

Pre-Existing Diseases

Health Insurance can also prove to be useful in instances of you suffering from a medical condition before buying the policy. Several insurers provide the option for you to pay an amount over your premium and start your policy coverage from day one. 

But wait, it would be foolish to not consider the following points before you buy Health Insurance Policies for your parents –

1. Co-Payment

Most of the insurers will push you to buy a plan which has a co-payment clause to avail yourself of a major discount. 

Trust us when we say that discounts often mislead when buying insurance!

You can think that it’s just a 10% or a 20% co-payment, and it won’t dent your savings much, right? But, here’s what will happen. The frequency of medical treatments increases as your parents grow older and so shall the associated medical costs due to inflation.

Now, it won’t be pleasant if you are forced to foot a percentage of the medical bill every time your parents are hospitalized. If you come across a policy that does not have co-payment, try and opt for that. The premiums might be slightly higher, but hey, it’s still better than footing a part of the bloated medical bill all the time, no?    

2. Waiting Periods

Usually, the waiting periods for individuals over the age of 60 years are set towards the higher side. And these pesky waiting periods will make sure that the insurers won’t have to foot a single medical bill if you happen to get hospitalized. 

However, there are certain health insurance policies that are tailor-made for senior citizens and for individuals having specific diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, etc. These plans have a lower waiting period and cover such diseases from day 1. 

Pro Tip – Make sure you read the policy wordings and look for certain terms like Specific Disease Waiting Period and Pre-Existing Disease Waiting Period under the subject of exclusions.  

3. Buy Early

The worst-case scenario while buying Health Insurance for elderly parents is that if you take too much time to decide, you may be denied a policy because of the risks your parents come along with.

Hence, the Sooner the Better!

Another reason why buying health insurance early is pivotal is that it help you to bypass certain waiting periods and skip the part where your parents can be denied a health policy. 

There are a few more significant questions you need to ask the insurer before buying a policy for your parents like –

4. Does the policy offer Domiciliary Treatment? 

There are times that treatments need to happen at the patient’s residence due to several reasons. It can be because of the patient’s disability or if the patient’s ailment restricts movements and so on.

5. Does the policy have age restrictions on entry and exit?

A lot of the insurers impose age restrictions on certain policies. Some may choose to cater to senior citizens starting from the age of 60 years and have no entry restrictions post that.

And some may have a ranged entry restriction, for example, 60 years to 85 years, etc. Anyway, the majority of the insurers do not have an age restriction on exit. 

6. What’s the Renewal Age Limit in the policy?

Your insurer might tell you that you can only renew your parent’s insurance policy until they turn a certain age and then revoke the policy. Always make sure that you go through the threshold number properly before buying the policy. 

If you want to have a detailed understanding of the options you get to choose from while buying a policy for your parents, OR if you want to know more about the nitty-gritty of a certain policy; Talk to Ditto today! 

Ditto offers free insurance-based consultations, answers your queries, and helps you choose your policy wisely.  

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