They are picking teams for a tournament at the school grounds. Your child is in the running, but at the last moment he does not get selected. You sense his disappointment and want to make it all better. You know how terrible it feels to be left out of things.
In fact, nobody ever likes feeling left out. So, why should it be any different for health insurance?
It is appraisal time at the office. It’s been a good year for your department and you are all expecting salary hikes. Then the letters come in and your heart sinks. Everyone has received a raise except you. Yes, you are happy for your colleagues. But you can’t quite share in their happiness.
Nobody ever likes feeling left out. And this extends to everything—even your health insurance policy.
The costs of healthcare are rising every day. Do you have the financial capability to handle your loved ones’ healthcare needs? A sudden hospitalisation could eat through your savings very quickly. So, take a moment to examine your family’s health insurance coverage. Assess each person’s health condition and factor in your family’s medical history. If even one member of your family does not have enough insurance, you’re taking a big risk.
Managing individual health insurance policies for your spouse and yourself is no problem. But there are kids and elderly parents to think about too. Getting individual plans for each family member can seem like a task . It can also be fairly expensive. But there is one easy solution: the family floater plan.
What are family floater plans?
A family floater plan is a special type of health insurance plan. Such a policy provides coverage for your whole family. You pay one premium and get health insurance for everyone. Some policies allow you to include up to six members in one policy .
Here, the sum insured is shared by the family members. In a year, more than one family member can make claims against the policy. The family floater plan will cover the costs to the extent of the coverage amount. It could also happen that a single-family member exhausts the entire sum insured in a year.
Consider the case of Ramesh and Lata. They bought a family floater plan some years ago. The sum insured was ₹ 6 lakh. The plan provided health insurance for the couple, their child, and Ramesh’s parents. In January last year, Ramesh’s father had to undergo an emergency bypass surgery. The bill came up to ₹ 3 lakh. Luckily, the family floater plan covered most of the costs. Later that year, Lata delivered her second baby, running up a bill of around ₹ 50,000. Their floater plan took care of the maternity costs as well. Ramesh and Lata now plan to extend coverage to their new-born as well.
When to opt for a family floater plan (and when not to)
If you have a young and healthy family
When you have age on your side, the likelihood of health problems is low. No pre-existing health conditions to worry about yet? That means you could get a larger sum insured for a smaller premium. An older family member could push up your family floater premium. So, could somebody with chronic health problems. Compare the costs of individual plans and family floater options first. This would help you to make the right decision.
If affordability is an issue
Compared to individual policies, family floaters offer more coverage at a low cost. A family of four could feel the price difference. Suppose they get a single-family floater plan with a sum assured of ₹ 8 lakh. The premium for this could be cheaper than getting four individual plans with a cover of ₹ 2 lakh each. Besides, with the family floater, each family member would have coverage up to ₹ 8 lakh.
Besides, many family floater plans come with a restoration benefit. Suppose the sum insured falls short in a year. The insurer will restore the full amount should you need to make a further claim. This feature is available at an extra cost though.
However, a family floater plan is not always a good idea. For example, it is not the best option for elderly dependents. Here’s why:
Premium calculation: The premium of a family floater plan depends on the age of the oldest member. A young family where the oldest member is 35 years could get a good deal. But a bringing a senior citizen into the plan would push up the cost.
Waiting periods: Your parents or in-laws may be fit for their age. But can you really compare their health with that of a 20- or 30-year-old? Your parents might have pre-existing conditions at the time of entry. This would mean waiting periods for those conditions. What if you need treatment for those health problems? You would have to pay for them out of your own pocket until the waiting period ends.
Sharing of sum insured: The elderly may need medical attention more often. Their frequent hospital trips could exhaust the sum insured. You may be left with little to nothing to cover the medical costs of other family members.
So, including your elderly parents or in-laws in your family floater plan is not advisable. But you should not leave them uninsured. A better solution is to get a family floater plan for yourself, your spouse, and your kids. Then buy individual policies for your parents or in-laws. You could even look at senior citizen health insurance plans for them. These are tailor-made for those aged 60 and above.
Assess your family’s healthcare needs first before you zero in on a health insurance plan. Figure out the coverage you need and how much you can afford. Then decide on how to ensure the right amount of coverage for everyone in your family. You could go with a family floater plan. You could buy individual plans for everyone. Or you could opt for a mix of both. Just make sure to bring everyone under the health insurance umbrella. Don’t leave anyone behind.