The senior years are often associated with multiple challenges. As you age, your health may also suffer and meeting the healthcare costs post-retirement may be very challenging. With limited income, escalating medical expenses, and longer life expectancy, retirement may be a huge concern.
Therefore, it is crucial that you plan for your retirement during the years when you have a stable source of income. You may invest in several instruments such as pension plans, life insurance, mutual funds, and fixed deposits to save for your senior years. However, an often overlooked but a crucial inclusion in your retirement plan is health insurance.
Availing of a health plan when you are young ensures you do not have to face financial difficulties if you are diagnosed with an illness and need to pay high medical costs. You do not have to dip into your retirement corpus to meet the healthcare expenses.
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Start planning early
A comprehensive retirement plan must not only focus on building a financial safety net. It must also include health insurance plans that will take care of any medical costs that you incur during your golden years. As you grow older, the probability of suffering from illness increases. Therefore, health insurance becomes a critical component of your retirement planning.
Most experts recommend that you start planning at an early age because of several advantages. When you are young, it is most likely that you are healthy. Therefore, you may be able to avail of a health insurance policy at an affordable premium because the insurance company perceives you as a low-risk insured. After you reach the age of 60, most insurers increase the premium cost by 20% every five years, which makes it difficult to procure coverage at an affordable expense.
One of the other health insurance benefits, when you avail of the plan early, is the accumulation of No Claim Bonus (NCB). When you purchase the health plan at an early age, it is likely that you may have several claim-free years. Insurance companies offer NCBs for every year without a claim. Therefore, you are able to either increase the coverage or reduce the renewal premium cost, which is why buying health insurance at an early age is beneficial.
Evaluate different plans before making your decision
A large number of insurance companies offer different health plans that cater to various needs of individuals. Therefore, it is important that you evaluate your personal requirements to choose a plan that best suits your needs. Here are three things you must consider before making your decision:
Analyze your family medical history to determine if there are any genetic risks of suffering from certain ailments. Moreover, if you are suffering from a pre-existing medical condition, you need to find a plan that covers it with the lowest waiting period. Most insurers do not cover pre-existing diseases during the waiting period, which may be up to four years.
Members to be covered
If you are considering a family floater cover, you need to determine which family members you want to cover. Moreover, you need to make your decision based on their age and current medical condition to maximize the benefits.
It is important to consider the number of diseases covered under your plan. If you have a family history of a serious medical condition, consider including critical illness cover to reduce your financial burden of treating these diseases.
Health plans cover hospitalization expenses, room rent, doctor fees, and other related costs. As you grow older, it is important to go for regular preventive checkups and choosing a plan that provides this benefit is recommended. If there is certain inherent risk related to your lifestyle or career, you must opt for a plan that covers these.
You must periodically review the health insurance coverage to ensure protection based on changes that occur during your life. Such regular review is important to determine if you have adequate coverage under a plan that covers the maximum number of illnesses. It is recommended you choose a comprehensive health plan that provides lifelong renewability.
Health insurance plan coverage
Some of the most common covers available under a health plan are listed below:
- Hospitalization expenses
- Ambulance charges
- Treatment costs such as medicine and drug costs, room rent, nursing and doctors fees, and others
- Pre and post-hospitalization expenses
- Daycare expenses from procedures like dialysis, chemotherapy, and others
It is important you carefully read the policy document to understand all the terms and conditions and inclusions and exclusions to avoid surprises in the future. Some insurance policies may cover pre-existing conditions based on certain norms and understanding these before making a decision is crucial.
Health insurance for seniors
Several insurers now offer health insurance specifically for senior citizens. The Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) levies the maximum entry age for health insurance as 65 years. However, some insurers offer policies that allow a later entry age. However, the benefits available under these plans may be limited and you need to clearly understand all the terms and conditions before you make a decision. These policies for seniors are beneficial if you have not availed coverage at an early age and may provide the financial support required to meet healthcare expenses during your post-retirement years.
Health insurance plays a vital role and procuring coverage early is most beneficial. You may compare different policies online to find one that most appropriately suits your personal needs.