Well, Superman doesn’t need health insurance. He might be a reporter by day, but the Man of Steel has no need for healthcare. Just keep the kryptonite away from him.
But it’s a whole other story for everyone else. A good health insurance plan offers a number of important benefits. So, here’s a quick look at who needs health insurance at different stages of life:
Health insurance in your 20s:
You feel like a superhero at this age. Can you even remember the last time you went to a doctor? Yet, your 20s is the best time to buy health insurance. Since you are less of a health risk, insurers will offer you more coverage for an affordable premium.
There is also the question of waiting periods. Health insurers usually have waiting periods for conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. Coverage for such health problems begins only after the waiting period ends. So, it helps to start early, before you develop these conditions. With age on your side, you can easily wait out the waiting periods.
But having insurance is important, as Jasmeet, 25, found out. The young reporter met with an accident on the road. She sustained a severe fracture that required surgery. It was expensive, but her health plan helped cover most of the costs.
Health insurance in your 30s:
Your financial responsibilities start to grow now. You get married, have children, and start planning for the future. It is time to be a superhero of a different kind—one that can multi-task and juggle commitments.
You need health insurance that covers the whole family. Get individual policies or a family floater plan. That would work as a financial safeguard during a medical crisis. No need to dip into your savings or put your financial planning on pause.
Rini, 36, is an ad executive with a busy and stressful schedule. But now that Rini has her first baby on the way, she plans to take it easy. On one front, she is prepared: The health insurance plan she bought a few years ago has maternity and infant coverage. And the waiting periods for the two covers are over.
Health insurance in your 40s:
Unlike Superman, you aren’t immune to the vagaries of age. What causes all these aches and pains? You need to go to a doctor, maybe consult a specialist. You might even need hospitalisation.
Assess your health insurance plan at this time. Do you need any extra riders? Some riders give you a room rent waiver, for example. Then you can get a better room during your hospital stay. You could also consider hospital cash benefits. You get a daily payout during your hospitalisation to cover miscellaneous expenses. Plus, you could opt for a critical illness or personal accident cover to bolster your existing coverage.
Including add-ons in his policy is something Rajat, 43, is doing. The management professional watched his under-insured parents struggle with rising healthcare costs. Rajat does not want to repeat his parents’ mistakes. He plans to amp up his insurance to avoid such contingencies in future.
Health insurance in your 50s:
The group health plan offered by your employer-provided great coverage in your 20s and 30s. Today, with your increasing health problems, it seems inadequate. If you do not have a separate insurance policy yet, buy a plan right away. When you are this close to retirement, you cannot risk having a medical emergency wipe out your savings.
Let health insurance be your financial shield now. Aside from including add-on riders, you could opt for a top-up or super top-up cover. This would increase the sum assured on your base plan.
Amina, 57, was diagnosed with a heart problem that required an immediate bypass surgery. Added complications pushed up the costs. Luckily, she had comprehensive health insurance. Plus, the added critical illness cover helped her minimise the out-of-pocket expenses.
Health insurance in your 60s and beyond:
If you have delayed this long, you may not have too many health insurance options left. But don’t pretend to be a superhero and stay uninsured. Get a plan that caters to your age group.
There are big drawbacks to joining the health insurance party late. You get lower coverage for a higher premium. The insurer might also introduce more sub-limits and higher co-payment clauses.
But the benefits still outweigh the disadvantages. For example, newly retired Debashish, 68, needed hospitalisation for respiratory problems. He spent a day in the ICU and had to undergo a battery of tests. He still had to pay some of the costs himself. But the insurance plan he bought right after retirement helped cover a large chunk of the expenses.
Who needs health insurance? The simple answer is this: Everyone! It can help you get the treatment you need without having your savings depleted. A good health plan can be your superpower when a medical emergency strikes.