Buying a suitable health insurance for your parents becomes a bit tricky as the decision making is laden with addressing several key issues. Most employers extend the medical cover to the dependents inclusive of parents. The catch here is their age. If it is presumed that they are over 60 years in age, their requirements drastically vary from yours and may not meet the requirements of a family floater policy. 

Since in the Indian traditions, looking after your parents is intrinsic to our culture, you would look to do the best for your parents. The flip side of employer-driven policy is that it does not last perpetually and it is in force till the time you are in their employ. But your parent’s requirements are bound to transcend such timelines. On the other hand, health insurance is witness to inflation ranging from 12 to 18% per year. When it comes to health insurance for your parents, it is best done early prior to their attaining the status of senior citizens. 

What is the meaning of health insurance?

Health insurance is an indemnity that protects you from the jaws of a financial crisis in times of unforeseen medical emergencies. Typically, health insurance plans take care of your hospitalization expenses for illnesses that may temporarily incapacitate you or the members of your family. An adequate sum insured for such an eventuality through a range of policies such as family floater policy or augmenting the cover through a top-up can be a wise move in the long run. 

Dedicated health insurance for parents:

With age the health care parameter changes substantially as the requirements are different. Most insurers understand this factor in parental care and have designed dedicated health insurance products that are in harmony with the health issues at a ripe age over 60 years. Thus there are a host of Senior Citizen Health Insurance plans in the market catering to this important segment of our population. 

Benefits of health insurance for parents:

While you wish to ensure that your parents lead a healthy life for as long as possible, protecting them against suffering from medical emergencies is the minimum you can do for their well being. In the process, you are also in for a host of benefits, the key among them being:

  • Cashless Hospitalization: It is an important feature of family health insurance. With the purchase of a suitable health insurance for your parents, you do not have to run from pillar to post for funding the hospitalization expenses during medical emergencies. It is key to a stress-free family life all around. 
  • Pre and Post Hospitalization Expenses: Parental health insurance must have a clause for the inclusion of such expenses. The longer the period for admissibility, the better it is. 
  • No Claim Bonus and Discount: You are financially benefitted with these features as the premium gets lowered and on the other hand it is a solace to you that your parents are healthy and haven’t faced any medical emergencies that required hospitalization. 
  • Tax Deductions: The Government of India has extended generous tax breaks for health insurance purchasers under Section 80D of the IT Act, 1961. You stand to enjoy a deduction of Rs.75000 in total, of which Rs.25000 for your and family’s health insurance and Rs.50000 towards your parent’s senior citizen health insurance. 

The best approach for health insurance for your parents:

Some questions are sure to crop up in mind as to why your parents cannot be covered under your family floater policy. Technically that may be feasible with a particular insurer, but normally such plans cover for the immediate family which includes your spouse and children. Moreover, the addition of your parents would change the contours of the plan due to their age resulting in a massive hike in the premium rates. It is obvious that the needs would widely differ from that of your family. 

A separate policy for both of them could be an alternative, but that too is fraught with deficiencies as the individual medical condition of your parents may be dissimilar. Under the circumstances, the best approach is to buy a health insurance policy for each one of them in harmony with their individual specific needs and parameters. 

Checklist of health insurance for parents:

It is sensible to project in your mind the parameters you are looking for when it comes to the best health insurance coverage for your parents. The following is an illustrative checklist for making an informed decision.

  • Age limit: You have to look for the maximum age up to which the policy is renewable to protect your parents for the longest period when the medical expenses are expected to mount.
  • Pre-existing Illness: This is a pre-requisite subject to conditions of the plan, signifying that you have to ensure the smallest possible exclusion list so that your parents get the best coverage for their health issues.
  • Hospital Coverage: Here you have to look for the widest cover to ensure that in times of emergency your parents are not left in the lurch. Check for the inclusions thoroughly and eliminate the exclusions as far as possible so that your parents are sure to have a seamless experience. 
  • Cover for Critical Illness: It is beyond doubt that old age carries the maximum risk of contacting critical illness. Wider the coverage the better it is for your parents. If there are any pre-existing conditions in your parents, ensure that they are adequately covered in the policy. 

Exclusions in parental health insurance: 

It is important to keep a tag on the exclusions in the policy for your parents. The smaller it is the better for your family. Normally the exclusions are:

  • Self-inflicted injuries.
  • Injuries due to acts of war etc.
  • Treatment of HIV.
  • Dental treatment involving dentures.
  • Cost of spectacles and contact lenses.
  • Expenditure for drug abuse. 
  • Cosmetic surgery. 

Bottom Line:

A little understood feature of the customized health insurance plan for your parents is that it has far more inclusive features than general health insurance plans on offer. As per the premium charged, it gives value for money when you consider all the features that are incorporated into the plans designed for your parents. It is immensely reassuring when you know that you have been able to do the best for your parents.