A family is an anchor during rough waters. So, what are you doing to be the anchor? It’s quiet obvious that you are doing your best to offer a life of ease to your family; however, have you considered safeguarding your family’s health in case a situation of crisis comes up? If not, now is the time!

The 16% increase in health insurance premium reaching INR 15341 crores in 2013 as reported by India with a growth rate of 25% indicates the growing awareness of Indian population towards the significance of health insurance. While there has been a positive growth in people’s awareness, considerations before buying a health insurance are still ignored.

Health InsuranceIf you have a family or are planning on starting a family, it’s a very important for you to familiarize yourself with the different kinds of family health insurance plans available. According to the World Healthcare Organization, a major fraction of India’s population pays out of pocket for its healthcare. Nothing is more important than making sure those close to you get the help they need in terms of healthcare, and at an affordable price. Unfortunately, the many differing networks of plans of health cover can get confusing quickly once you start looking for the best one. To help you avoid that confusion, the following list expresses five of the most important factors to consider when choosing a family health plan.

1. Specialized Activities –

First, think about your family members and what they like to do. In specific, do they have any hobbies or jobs that are especially conducive to certain types of injury? Maybe your spouse is a chemist, for example; better look at plans that offer great coverage when it comes to eye, nose, and throat injuries. Your daughter loves riding horses? You may want to insure yourself against broken bones. Of course, it is never nice to take this worst-case-scenario approach, especially when you are thinking about your own family, but it is something that simply needs to be done if you want to choose the best family insurance plan.

2. Specific Doctors/Services –

Different plans have coverage for different sets of doctors. Many people are very particular about getting treatment from certain medical professionals and do not want a plan that does not cover those practitioners. Are you one such particular person who wants to make sure that you are not forced away by the doctor who has been taking your family check-ups for years because he is not included in the plan you choose? If yes, consider it before buying the plan. Another consideration to make is the doctors you might want to try and whether they’re covered. If you or any of your family members are planning on paying a visit to a certain specialist during your coverage, for example, you should make sure he is in your plan’s network before you pay.

3. Geographical Coverage –

This is especially important to consider if anyone in your family is a frequent traveler. Many insurance providers only cover services within a certain geographical area, and if you are traveling outside that area frequently, you will likely not be taken care of by local physicians if a need arises. Traveling aside, certain family members may be located far from home. If you have a son who attends university hundreds of kilometers from home, for example, you should look for a plan that covers plenty of services both in your city and in the city where the university is located.

4. Premium and Maximum Cost –

Each plan has two costs you have to pay attention to: “premium” and “out-of-pocket maximum.” Premium is another word for the monthly cost you must pay out of pocket to use the plan. The out-of-pocket maximum is the amount you will have to pay after you reach your deductible before the provider starts paying for 100 percent of the plan’s covered services. It may, at first, seem like a fairly straightforward solution to this: just choose the plan with the lowest costs. It gets tricky, however, when a plan has a lower premium but a higher out-of-pocket maximum, or vice versa, than another plan you are looking at. In a case like this, you will have to carefully go over what services are covered, how much you will use those services, and how much the services cost. Basically, you want to estimate how much you will “spend” in excess of the out-of-pocket maximum and determine whether it outweighs the savings you will accrue by paying a lower premium. Time to break out the calculator. While calculating, keep in mind the adequate cover you need for your family. Economic times suggests buying a family floater cover of INR 10 lacs for people living in a tier 1 or 2 city, and INR 5 lacs for those in a tier 3 or 4 city. This is suffice for two adults and one child. Most family health plans, for instance, ICICI Lombard’s complete health insurance plan offer a cover of up to 10 lacs with customization options.

5. Tax Benefits–

Few people choosing an insurance plan are aware that, if they choose a plan with a high deductible, they are allowed to open and deposit money into a Health Savings Account. A Health Savings Account is basically an untaxed savings account where the money can only be used for health-related purposes. Once you exceed the age of 59.5, you can take the money and do whatever you want with it, but you can only spend it on health care until then. It is up to you to determine if the money you could save by avoiding taxation on your health care expenditure outweighs the money you would spend on a higher deductible.

Choosing a health insurance plan while at the same time conserving the almighty rupee, something that, let’s be honest, is also quite important to save in order to keep your family happy and healthy, can be a challenge. Hopefully, this brief list of important factors to consider helped you choose one perfectly suited to your family.

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