With the ever widening spectrum of health insurance options available, is it a development that will prove to be encouraging or alarming at the consumers’ end? Choosing the most feasible health insurance plan can be a complex process.

In order to ensure that you get the best option out of endless choices available, always be sure about prioritizing your needs and necessities well ahead of time. Along with this, you should also figure out how each plan adds up to your benefits. Therefore, here we present the following steps that will help you sail through the decision-making process when making a plan purchase.

1. Ascertain your requirements:

blog word cloud wordle graphic insurance conceptWhat do the consumers generally look for, at the time of considering a health insurance plan? A majority of decisions are based upon a single criterion that is to identify the lowest premium plans. However, insurance plans are all about getting only what you pay for. A deduction plan also looks attractive only at first, but that too turns out to be costly when unable to cover a certain test or hospital.

Thus, before starting your search, you should list out the most important things. This can include considering a particular doctor you like or a procedure that you are considering but is optional and thought-out by a few.

2. Learn about what all is covered:

Insurance plans are largely variant from each other in terms of the services covered under them. Therefore, buying an insurance plan is never same as buying any other necessary commodity where you merely have to compare the prices.

Basically, insurance policies vary depending upon the hospitals and doctors included. Certain policies allow you to virtually choose any provider. On the contrary, other policies can be more restricted. In case you have a set of preferences for certain doctors or specialists, a research done well ahead of time to check its coverage will be greatly beneficial.

3. Be well aware of the alternatives:

If you are working for an employer that offers a health insurance, keep in mind that not always is your employer’s plan the best deal.

The moment you move out of the company or retire, these insurance policies are not going to help you. Some companies don’t cover their employees who are in their notice period.

It is better to have your own /separate health insurance for a smaller sum assured as a back-up. You will renew this every year for an increased sum assured. When you are about to retire, you can increase the corpus.

If this back-up is not there, after retirement you need to go for a separate policy. When you go for a fresh policy after retirement, insurance companies may reject or charge higher premium because of your health condition. Also there will be some waiting period for the fresh policies to get coverage for major diseases.

You can avoid all these hassles by taking a separate health insurance when you are hale and healthy.

4. Analyze the complete expense:

While you evaluate various options, chances are that you get carried away by the policies with least monthly premiums. However, there is a lot more to bear in mind at the time of comparing various policy prices. Let us learn about these five basic aspects. These include the monthly premium, medical service deductible, coinsurance, copayments, and the upper limit for out-of-pocket expenses.

Out-of-pocket includes everything where one has to personally pay for health related services. These factors are essential in order to grab the best possible deals. Therefore, the coverage level and the overall cost will be a determinant of what plan should one invest into.

As we reach the conclusion of this learning exercise on how to choose the right health insurance plan, always remember that plans offering the best value should be worth considering in order making a wise decision. To take the right health insurance, critical illness insurance, life insurance and other investments, preparing a fundamentally strong, fool proof financial plan is required.

(The author is Ramalingam.K an MBA (Finance) and certified financial planner. He is the Director & Chief Financial Planner of holistic investment planners (www.holisticinvestment.in) a firm that offers Financial Planning and Wealth Management. He Can be reached at ramalingam@holisticinvestment.in)

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