If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been contemplating buying a health care plan, which is no less than a necessity of life today and an excellent investment. Since India’s insurance awareness levels, which were only 5.2 percent back in 2009, have been surging, the health insurance industry has come out with a plethora of policies. However, it is normal to get confused when buying health plans as there is so much to consider.
One such factor that most people find unclear is health insurance pre-existing conditions, as all insurers have different terms & conditions for it, apart from a few basic guidelines. So, if you also find health insurance pre-existing conditions confusing, keep reading as this guide will explain everything a policy buyer should know.
What Do Health Insurance Pre-Existing Conditions Mean?
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In simple terms, health insurance pre-existing conditions are diseases or ailments that a policyholder is diagnosed with prior to the policy’s term commencement. For instance, say you have diabetes or asthma right now, and you wish to purchase health insurance one year later. In this case, the disease (diabetes or asthma) will be treated as a pre-existing ailment. However, the list of these conditions varies from one insurance company to another, but some other common examples are high blood pressure, thyroid, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, sleep apnea, etcetera.
How Does Having a Pre-Existing Condition Affect Health Insurance Policies?
While no insurer can refuse to sell you a health care plan because you have a pre-existing condition, you will be required to serve a waiting period, which is typically somewhere between 2 years to 4 years, depending on the policy. In short, you cannot get instant coverage for medical expenses arising from a pre-existing disease until the waiting period is over.
However, you can make claims for emergency hospitalization or medical care if you suffer an accident, injury, or illness unrelated to the pre-existing ailment. Also, if you’re wondering whether the premiums are higher for people with existing conditions, yes, they are. So, it is better to invest in health insurance as early as possible.
Important Points to Keep in Mind if You Have a Pre-Existing Condition
Most insurance companies and providers are quite stringent when it comes to health insurance pre-existing conditions. Therefore, it is vital to keep the following points in mind:
- Disclose All Information
Many people often make the mistake of not disclosing their pre-existing health issues when buying insurance. However, you should avoid this at all costs, as hiding such crucial information can lead to claim rejection in the future. Additionally, your policy can also be declared invalid, and you will have a poor claim history.
- Wait Period Reduction Add-On
Since the waiting period for pre-existing diseases is a minimum of 2 years, many insurers offer the option of buying an add-on cover to reduce the duration. However, you will have to pay an extra premium for this rider, and you can reduce the waiting period by a year. So, make sure you check the availability of this feature.
- Comparing is Key
As mentioned earlier, all insurers have different terms & conditions for health insurance pre-existing conditions. Therefore, it is essential to explore all your options and thoroughly compare the policies before deciding. You can consider factors like premium cost, sum insured, coverage benefits, waiting period, co-payment, age restrictions, etcetera.
- Check the List of Pre-Existing Conditions
Not every health issue, especially a minor one, is considered a pre-existing disease. Since all insurance providers have their own list of pre-existing conditions, it is important to check the same. Furthermore, you might be able to get instant coverage if your health issue is not included in the list of pre-existing conditions of a particular insurer.
- Pre-Policy Medical Screening
Some insurers require policy buyers to undergo a complete pre-policy medical screening to assess their health condition, which you can consider while buying insurance plans.
Lastly, go with credible insurance providers like Care Health Insurance that have been in the industry for a long time and are known for their high-quality products and services.
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