In a financially struggling environment like India, it is not uncommon for people to reach the age of 45 and still be without a health policy. They might be earning well but get too busy providing for their children and thus never have enough funds to buy a health policy for themselves.
Today, the IRDA has introduced rules where a person can buy a policy until the age of 65 years. The health policies for the age group 45 years to 65 years is called as senior’s health policy. Many children also buy such policies for their parents. Here, we explore reasons to get the health policy before or at the age of 45 and not delaying it beyond.
Reasons to Buy Insurance as Early as Possible
If you do not have any health policy by the time your age gets 45; it is the right time to get it. The delay would have adverse effects like:
- Pre-existing condition
The age of 40 onwards makes us highly vulnerable to various health diseases like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cardiac troubles, etc. With medical treatment costs rising at an average of about 20 percent annually; your frequent medical consultation and treatment are bound to burn a big hole in your pocket. Getting a health insurance plan at this stage, even with a slightly higher premium would prove more cost-effective than bearing the whole medical costs of treatment. If you already have a pre-existing medical condition; you might even be denied cover on those diseases or provided coverage with stiff stipulations.
- Premium loading
We know the risk of diseases and health deterioration rises with age. This means that getting a health policy at risk-prone age would likely attract a hefty premium both at the time of purchase and renewal of the health policy. This hike in the premium amount based on age is popularly coined as ‘premium loading.’ For instance, for the same cover, a man at the age of 50 might just be paying double the premium amount than another man of 40 years. Hence, it is always wise to get a health plan as fast as possible to avoid exceptionally high premium amounts.
- Medical tests
Getting a health policy before the age of 45 is easy is most insurance companies do not ask you to undergo any medical examination. However, when you cross the age of 45; most would ask you to undergo a medical examination. If any critical or serious disease crops up; you might even be denied coverage. Hence, it’s best to get the health policy as early as possible so that you can easily avoid the pitfall.
- Challenges at renewal
If you are purchasing a health policy at an advanced age like 50 years; you are likely to make your medical claims every year. The direct implication of this is that you are going to lose out on benefits like no-claim bonus and discounted premium amount. Moreover, the payable premium amount at the time of renewal can rise to almost double the amount. This might mean that you would be forced to choose a sum assured cover that is way short of your requirements or pay the exponentially rising premium amount. Both conditions are unpalatable. Getting a policy early saves this hassle.
- Inappropriate coverage
It is critical that you look into the extent of the cover that you are seeking. People often go for the short term and try to opt for a smaller cover. As age increases, your medical need increases. You would be forced to buy a new policy with a higher premium at that stage. But if take adequate cover early, you would be paying the minimal possible premium that would prove cost-effective in the long run.
- Limitations and restrictions
A policy purchased at a higher age often has mandatory clauses like a higher deductible and a mandatory co-pay. All this means you have a high out-of-pocket cost at the time of medical treatment before your policy fund kicks in. Moreover, there are various diseases added that have a significantly higher waiting period before the policy starts covering them. This creates quite a dent in your pocket.
The above facts highlight the importance of taking a health policy as early as possible. Till the age of 45, you are likely to enjoy all the benefits of a health policy that a younger age chap can enjoy. Post it, things would keep on getting expensive and complicated.