Health insurance is one way to secure you and your family against the unexpected expenses occurred during hospitalization. The market is full of health insurance plans; however, one needs to understand and buy the best health insurance plans for themselves. We need to understand various aspects of the health insurance to choose the best one. Before choosing any policy we need to analyze the plan based on following factors:

  1. Coverage: With the exponentially increasing hospitalization expenses, we need to ensure the maximum health coverage and maximum amount coverage during hospitalization. For example, hospitalization for 3-4 days can cost you Rs. 50,000-70,000 approximately. So, it is necessary for the middle class people to take best health insurance plans. Also, at young age the risk is low of getting affected by any disease (except for chronic diseases). As your age proceeds, the risk of health issues increases. You should opt for higher coverage amount.
  2. Type of Insurance: There are three types of insurances,
    1. Individual mediclaim plan: Hospitalisation expenses covered for individual for specified amount or sum assured limit
    2. Family floater mediclaim policy: The sum assured floats among the family members and a person doesn’t have to buy individual plan for everyone. One can afford higher sum assured with lower insurance policy premium.
    3. Unit Linked Health Policy: Combination of investment plan and health insurance, where the individual gets the health insurance benefits as well as assured amount at the end of the tenure
  3. Minimum waiting period for pre-existing illness: While applying for insurance policy, an individual declares the pre-existing disease/ illness to the insurance company. Some insurance companies may choose not to cover the pre-existing illness, however there are companies like star, bajaj health insurance which cover these pre-existing illness but after some waiting period of 2-4 years. So, individual should consider those mediclaim policies which should have lower waiting period to cover these illnesses.
  4. Maximum age renewal limit: At young age the health insurance may not be required, however, at old age the same is required due to higher probability of getting affected by diseases during old age. Due to this the premium is lower at young age and higher at old age. So an individual should buy the policy which will renew till 75-80 years of age without any change in premium.
  5. Higher Claim settlement ratio of insurance company: Claim settlement ratio is the number of claims settled over number of claims received by the insurance company. An individual should always opt for the policy from an insurer which has higher claim settlement ratio. This will ensure that the insurance company will not reject the claim until they have a valid issue. However, an individual should be careful while filing the claim. It is necessary that they should provide all the necessary documents to support the claim.
  6. Plans with sub limits: Several of the insurance policies come with sub limits plan, i.e., sub limits with one day medical expenses. For example, there is an upper cap on the room rent per day, food expense coverage and ambulance coverage. To maximize the benefits, one should look for the maximum sub limit benefits.
  7. Hospital networks: The insurance companies has tie ups with many hospitals for cashless hospitalization. However, if your hospital is not associated with the insurer, they will not provide the cashless benefits of hospitalization. In this case, an individual needs to pay the bills upfront and claim it later with the insurance companies by providing all the proofs and supporting documents. But it will be more beneficial if an individual can avail cashless benefits and avoid the hassle of claim from the insurer on later date.
  8. Reviews of the policy: Once an individual/buyer chooses the health insurance plan, it is recommended that the individual should read the reviews of the policy. It is very hard to locate the person who already bought the insurance earlier, but now it will be easy through internet. There are sites where people write their reviews on the health insurance policies. So one should read the reviews before buying the policy.
  9. Exclusions: There are list of diseases which are excluded in the health insurance policy, for example, HIV/AIDS, Dental related problems, eye related problems, STD, etc. One should buy the best health insurance plan with the less number of exclusions.
  10. Add-on riders: Insurance companies offer the add-on riders with the main health insurance policies, for example, critical illness cover, accidental coverage or other life threatening diseases. However, the probability of occurrence of the same is low, but it is necessary to cover these illnesses as the hospitalization cost for the same is very high. These add-on riders come with some additional premiums which are optional for the buyer, but recommended to avoid unexpected expenses.
  11. Compare premiums: Prior to buying any health insurance policies, it is necessary to compare the benefits, premium, maximum returns etc. from the internet. There are many websites which compare the policies and act as a mediator between individual and insurance companies. This allows individual to compare the policies with benefits, premium, and premium over add-on riders.


At young age we are not able to understand the requirement of health insurance plans as we are healthy at that point of time. However the situations will not be same at the old age. As our age increases, our immunity system becomes weak gradually. It is recommended to buy a health insurance policy to avoid unexpected hospitalization cost. One should buy the best health insurance plans for themselves and their family. To choose the best, an individual needs to compare the policies based on benefits, premium, hospital networks of insurance companies, reviews, no claim bonus, etc. These are main factors to choose the best health insurance plan, however, there is no such comprehensive list. Always bargain for the premium for the insurance companies and always ask for no claim bonus if you are changing your insurer.

Author's Bio: 

Peter is the is an entrepreneur disguised as a certified financial planner, author and blogger. His mission is help future generations achieve financial freedom by developing strong money habits and unleashing their entrepreneurial spirit.