When we are on the job, we get so many benefits from our company, and group health insurance is one of them. Though, in any case, you should never depend on a corporate health policy, buying an individual policy becomes more important if you are self-employed.
So, here are some of the tips to buy a health insurance policy if you are your boss:
1. Don’t delay your health insurance purchase
There are many people who delay or completely neglect the health insurance policy because they don’t find a product that comes with all the ‘dream’ features. They want high cover, best claim settlement ratio and a wide network of hospital without shelling out much money.
But sadly, this ‘dream’ shatters when it sees the ‘light’ of real insurance world. It is necessary to understand that pricing and features of health insurance policies depend on various factors, and you can’t get all features which you want in one policy.
It may happen that nine things out of 10 are present in one mediclaim policy, and one is missing, so what will you do? Try to find out a policy that has all the ten features? There are many people who delay their purchase of health insurance policies because they don’t find the product of their choice.
It is a big mistake which they are making, as they could be denied a cover later in life in case they develop some pre-existing ailments. As you are self-employed, you might be thinking some ways to save your money, and therefore, decide not to buy a policy unless you find the right one. However, you need to focus on those main features which matter and not run after minor coverage.
2. Check network hospitals
For the business expansion, you might have to travel a lot both domestically and internationally. So, you should go with a health insurer who has network hospitals in most of the major cities. For instance, if your work requires you to visit Chennai frequently, make sure that the health insurer from whom you are thinking to buy, has good network hospitals in the city. If, God forbid, you need medical assistance in that city, you can easily get the one.
3. Check sub-limits/co-pay
There are various clauses in different health insurance policies that put a sub-limit on a particular expense. Some insurers have put limits on specified surgeries as well. It means, if the sum insured of your policy is Rs 5 lakhs, the policy holder might impose a 50% restriction on a particular treatment expense. Also, check for the terms like deductible and co-payment. All these limits mean, the insurer would pay only a portion of the expenses and the remaining amount has to be paid by the policyholder itself. It is necessary to be clear about them before choosing a policy.
4. Choose sum insured from a long-term perspective
As you are independently handling your business, you must know the secret of its success— make business decisions based on where you want to be. So, while choosing the sum insured of your mediclaim policy, consider future medical costs. Today, hospitalisation costs could vary anywhere between Rs 40,000 and Rs 5 lakhs. However, in next 20 years, hospitalisation expenses could go beyond Rs 20 lakhs. You might not need this policy in the current time, but in the future, you will most likely need a higher cover.
5. Assess your lifestyle
For your business growth, you are meeting with clients and working day and night, which can take a toll on your health and cause a dent on your wallet as well. Now, you would have to pay higher health insurance premium. So, it is important to follow healthy food habits, quit smoking, cut booze, exercise regularly and take every step to ensure that you stay healthy and hale. Moreover, there are various health insurance companies who give wellness points to people who follow healthy living habits like jogging, yoga, etc.; for at least one year. These points can be redeemed to avail coverage like dental consultation, OPD, etc.. which are usually not covered under a mediclaim policy.
6. Go for super top-up policy
With rising medical costs, it is recommended to go for a super top-up policy which can give you additional coverage up to Rs 20-25 lakhs and protection for the next 15 or 20 years. This policy becomes active once the total expense in a year crosses the deductible limit. Further, it gives the same tax benefit which you can get from a normal health insurance policy. You can buy it even if you don’t have any existing health insurance policy.
7. Avoid adding extra frills
Now, when you know, what should be considered, it is equally imperative to know what should not be. You can choose a policy without features like domiciliary, daily hospital cash, ambulance charges, etc.; and save some premium. For instance, in case of ambulance charge, you usually get around Rs 2,000 which is not a very high amount and you can easily pay it from your pocket. So, why to add an extra feature in the form of ambulance charge in your policy?
Some other ways to insure your health if you are self-employed:
- Convert your group health cover into individual policy: If at some point of time, you were part of an office-going population and covered under a corporate health insurance, you can ask the group insurer to convert your group policy into an individual one. Yes, it is feasible to get your group policy converted into an individual policy after retirement or if you quit the job, provided the insurer agrees to do that. And, it is unlikely that the insurer will reject the golden chance of adding one more policyholder in their list!
- Build a health corpus: If you don’t want to buy a high-end policy, you can go with a basic cover of Rs 3 to 5 lakhs and build a health corpus which can help you in case of any medical emergency. Moreover, certain ailments are not covered under an individual policy or come with a waiting period, so instead of compromising with your health, you can fall back on your health corpus in case of any emergency. You can divert any extra earnings of yours into a health corpus.
Being your own boss is a feeling which only a frustrated and dissatisfied employee can understand who daily needs to face the boss or goes through the disturbing office politics. However, being independent means, you are the sole in charge of your business and it is your responsibility to take it to new heights, and for that it is necessary to be in good health. Moreover, health insurance policies are eligible for tax benefits as well and thus, take care of your tax planning part as well.
So, take cues from the above and buy a health insurance policy because, “He, who has health, has hopes, and he, who has hopes, has everything”.