The fast bowler runs up and throws the final ball. This has been a nail-biter of a cricket match. The batsman needs two runs to win.
The ball whirrs down the pitch as the batsman takes aim. But he swings the bat a touch too late. He misses, and the ball goes on to hit the stumps. The crowd goes wild.
Timing is everything, wouldn’t you say? The bowler got it right, the batsman got it wrong, and it made all the difference in the match results.
As in cricket, so too in life, timing it right makes a big difference. It’s important even when deciding to buy health insurance.
Right time to buy health insurance
Have you been thinking about getting health insurance? One’s 20s and 30s may seem rather early for buying health insurance. Health is great at this time. But keep in mind that middle age and health problems are lurking around the corner.
Besides, medical inflation in India is very high. In 2016, it touched 12.5%, says the 2017 Global Medical Trends Survey Report. Procedures like angioplasty and bypass surgery have become commonplace in recent times. But patients and their families can end up paying through their nose. The costs for these two procedures start from close to Rs 2 lakh. And something like an organ transplant can set you back by several lakhs of rupees.
So, not having health insurance is no longer an option. And the sooner you start, the better you can protect your financial security. It is a bit like putting runs on the board from the very first delivery.
Why should you buy insurance while you are young?
That is when you get the best deals.
Your general health is good at this time. Get on board before the big, bad lifestyle diseases of the day strike. Cardiac problems, diabetes, lung disease, and more are no longer limited to the oldies. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to develop various health problems. Start young and insurers will consider you less of a risk. Because of that, they may extend more coverage to you at a lower premium. You could get a better bargain.
What if you delay? You might end up paying higher premium for the same coverage amount. Also, some insurance products could be closed to you because of your health problems. Yes, it helps to be ready at the crease early.
There is enough time for waiting periods to end.
If you have any pre-existing conditions, the insurer may add in a waiting period. Coverage for those diseases would kick in only after the waiting period is up. Ailments such as hernia and osteoporosis also face waiting periods of one or two years. Planning to have a baby? Maternity insurance can take up to three years to kick in. An early start gives you room to complete the waiting periods without incident.
What if you delay? You might not get the coverage you want when you need it. You could end up footing hospital bills yourself because of the waiting periods.
The group plan from office won’t cover everything forever.
The group plan at the office is great. There are no waiting periods to worry about. But what if you leave the job? The group plan will not follow you out. What you need is a more permanent solution—a policy of your own to fall back on. It’s the same as on the cricket field. At any given time, two batsmen are needed on the cricket pitch. And both need to add runs to the scoreboard.
What if you delay?: There is an upper age limit when buying health insurance plans. Your employer’s insurance might not be available forever. So, get your insurance today. Pad up before life throws a googly at you.
You have financial security from an early age.
As a young professional, you have to manage on a small salary. You might be in the pink of health. But illness and accidents can happen at any time. Even treating a simple fracture can empty out your bank account in those early years. But with an insurance plan in your financial portfolio, none of that should faze you out. Taking the right decisions is always easier when you have the support you need. That holds true regardless of where you stand—on the cricket field or on the playing field of life.
What if you delay? A major illness could even leave you in debt. Recovering financially may take several years. Why take the chance?
The bottom line
Don’t let health problems catch you on the back foot. Take the first step and get health insurance early, while you are still young. Time it right. Everything else will fall into place.