Long term health insurance benefits: medical expenses have become unaffordable for the common man and given the rising trend of medical inflation, the costs are expected to increase in the coming time. Given the unaffordability of medical expenses, a health insurance policy becomes the most important part of your financial portfolio. The policy covers the medical expenses which are incurred if you or your family member is hospitalized giving you financial relief. These health insurance policies are offered as annual contracts which you need to renew every year for continued coverage. Moreover, with lifelong renewability available under all health insurance plans, if you renew the policies on time, you can enjoy coverage for as long as you live.
While health insurance plans come as an annual contract, there are long term health insurance policies too which provide you continued coverage for a specified duration. Do you know what these long term insurance plans are all about?
What is a long term health insurance policy?
A long term health insurance policy is nothing but a health insurance policy which is offered for two or three consecutive years at once. You are required to pay the aggregate premium for the duration of the coverage at once when you buy the plan and then the long term policy provides continuous coverage for the said duration without the need of annual renewals.
long term health insurance plans Features
Long term health plans have the following salient features –
- The policy is issued for a period of two or three years as per your choice
- The premium is usually payable at once when buying the policy. However, many companies are also allowing the facility of instalment premiums wherein you can avail long term insurance plans by paying premiums in instalments.
- There is a premium discount when you choose a long term duration
- The no-claim bonus is added on an annual basis even when you have a long term insurance plan
long term health insurance
Unlike your regular one year health insurance plan, long term HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN have tenure of two to three years. Therefore, while your regular medi-claim policy may be valid for 12 months, a long term health plan keeps you covered for 2 to 3 years. This means, if you opt for a long term medical plan, you will free from renewing your coverage every 12 months.
Advantages of a long term health Insurance plan
- Breaks you free from the hassle of renewing your health coverage every 12 months.
- Most insurance companies will offer a discounted premium, if you opt for long term health insurance plan.
- Since long term health insurance plan covers a period of 2 to 3 years, you are immune from any kind of rate revision during that period.
- A long –term health insurance policy may also cover pre-existing diseases
- The cost of premium may vary depending upon how old you are. Some insurance companies charge lesser rates to younger health insurance seekers.
- Long term health Insurance Plan can also help you save tax on your income.
Disadvantages of long term health Insurance Plan
- Most Insurance companies do not cover senior citizens under long term health Insurance Plan.
- Having to pay a lump sum amount as premium for a long term health insurance plan may be stressful for some insurance seekers.
What is a short –term health insurance plan?
Short-term health insurance policies have a validity period of up to 12 months. After which it has to be renewed or else you can forfeit the right to “no claim bonus” or NCB. Generally, most people take up a short term health plan so that they don’t have to pay heavy premium associated with a long term health plan.
Advantages of short term health plan
- Till the time you are paying timely annual premium, the advantages of long term insurance plan is equivalent to a long term insurance plan.
- Short term health care plan can also help you save tax under the section 80D of the income tax.
Disadvantages of short term health plan
- Although the upfront premiums you pay for a short term medical plan may be less, in the long term it can be an expensive proposition. Insurance companies tend to offer good discount on premium to individuals who take up long term health plans.
- Most short term health plans often do not cover maternity claims.
- If you do not renew your short term health plan timely, you are likely to forfeit the non –claim bonus.
Since, we have already discussed the pros and cons of both types of health plans, here is an afterthought. Its good news that you and your family members never had to make any health claims. Having said that, health insurance is a protective cover and comes in handy during the rainy days of your life, which can be both unexpected and sudden. Therefore, selecting the right insurance plan is a matter of much insight.
If you are a young and healthy individual, opting for a short-term health plan makes sense. But as you advance in age, you develop an innate instinct to protect yourself and your family members. In such a case, long term health insurance plan seems more feasible. Moreover, the success of long term insurance plan for two wheelers a couple of years ago, has urged many insurance companies to encourage long term health plans which are convenient, hassle free and have proven to be financially viable in the long run.
Top long term health insurance plans in India
Here is a list of some of the best long term insurance plans available in the market –
|Name of the plan||Sum insured||Coverage tenure||Salient features|
|Religare Care||INR 4 lakhs to INR 6 crores||1 year to 3 years||Automatic restoration of sum insured in case it gets exhausted on previous claimsCoverage for more than 540 day care treatmentsRange of policy add-ons to enhance the coverage and customize your plan|
|Manipal Cigna ProHealth Plus||INR 4.5 lakhs to INR 50 lakhs||1 year to 3 years||Provides worldwide coverage in case of emergenciesThe sum insured is restored if it is used up in earlier claimsCoverage for OPD expenses is available through the Health Maintenance Benefit feature|
|Star Health Family Health Optima||INR 3 lakh to INR 25 lakhs||1 year||Air ambulance cover is available under the policyNew born baby is covered from the 16th day till the end of the policy termCoverage is available for medical evacuation, compassionate visit and repatriation of remains|
|National Mediclaim Policy||INR 50,000 to INR 5 lakhs||1 year||Non-allopathic treatments are covered till 20% of the sum insuredPre-determined package rates are fixed for specific treatments thereby lowering the cost of such treatments|
|Aditya Birla Activ Health Platinum – Enhanced||INR 2 lakhs to INR 2 crores||1 year to 3 years||Up to 30% of the premiums can be earned as HealthReturns and you can use this earned premium to off-set the renewal premiumOPD coverage is available for chronic illnessesThe sum insured is restored if it is exhausted on any previous claim|
|HDFC Ergo Health Optima Restore||INR 3 lakhs to INR 50 lakhs||1 year or 2 years||A daily cash benefit is paid for choosing shared accommodation100% of the sum insured is restored if it is exhausted50% of the sum insured is increased after the first claim-free year|
How to buy long term insurance plans?
You can buy long term health insurance plans online after comparing the available plans and then choosing the one which is the most suitable. Online policies can be bought at your convenience either from the company’s website or from the website of an insurance aggregator. Turtlemint is also a platform which allows you to buy a long term insurance policy online after comparison. Turtlemint is tied-up with leading health insurance companies giving you the option of some of the best long term health insurance plans available in the market. You can, then, compare the available plans on their coverage benefits and premium rates and then choose a suitable policy. After selecting the policy, you can also buy it online directly from Turtlemint by paying the premium digitally. Once bought, the policy would be issued and you would get the copy of the policy in your email. Turtlemint also helps you with your health insurance claims. In case of a claim you can simply contact Turtlemint and its claim team would help you get your claim settled at the earliest.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I switch insurers in a long term insurance plan?
Switching insurers is called portability and this portability is allowed at the time of renewal when the duration of the policy comes to an end. Thus, in a long term insurance policy, you cannot switch insurance companies during the coverage duration. You would have to wait for the duration to complete after which such switching would be allowed.
Will my no claim bonus be affected in a long term health insurance policy?
No, there would be no affect in your no claim bonus in a long term insurance policy. The no claim bonus would be allowed after every claim-free year irrespective of whether you have bought a long term health insurance policy or a short term one
Can I add riders under a long term insurance policy?
Yes, you can add riders to a long term insurance policy. These riders can be added either at the time of buying a policy or at the time of renewing the policy.
Can senior citizens buy a long term policy?
Yes, many senior citizen health insurance plans allow long term coverage for senior citizens. You can, therefore, choose such plans to avail long term coverage.
Can a new member be added to the coverage in a long term insurance policy?
Yes, a new family member can be added to the coverage mid-term in a long term insurance plan. This addition can be done by paying a proportionate additional premium to the insurance company along with a written request to add the member to the coverage.
What happens to the pre-existing waiting period in long term health insurance policies?
The pre-existing waiting period does not get affected in a long term health insurance plan. The waiting period gets reduced after the completion of each policy year whether you opt for a long term health plan or an annual policy.