Health Insurance Plans in India – Know About Key Features and More

Health insurance acts as a financial safety net against soaring medical expenses by providing policyholders with comprehensive coverage against several illnesses and expenses incurred due to medical emergencies. One can define such insurance as an agreement between a policy buyer and a policy insurance company where the insurer agrees to reimburse the policy buyer for all the medical expenses they incurred post-diagnosis or treatment during the policy term in exchange for regular premium payment for a period of time. Notably, this premium depends on several factors including policy buyer’s needs, personal information, and financial standing. Being a comprehensive plan with several features and benefits associated with it, it is important to check health insurance plans in India in detail to make the most of them.

Why is it important to buy health insurance?

Buying a health insurance policy has become crucial for more than one reason. We live in an uncertain time where changing lifestyles have made us risk-prone to several health complications. However, the rising cost of medical treatment and expenses is making it difficult to access timely medical assistance. In this regard, having a financial safety net that will help tide over medical emergencies with ease is deemed beneficial. This is where health insurance plans in India prove effective and offer individuals a safety blanket to rely on.

The following reasons make it more important to have a health insurance plan in India.

  • Rising Medical Expenses

The medical inflation in India stands at 14%, which means that medical treatment is going to become more expensive.  In fact, the cost of medical diagnosis and treatment has become so expensive that many individuals, especially those from the lower income group struggle to avail of timely treatment or medical attention.  This rising cost makes it more crucial to purchase a health insurance policy in India. However, it is recommended to look for a plan that accounts for expenses resulting from hospitalization expenses, medical diagnosis, consultation charges, surgery, health management expenses backed by BMI calculator male and female data, etc. to address health issues in time and account for them easily.

  • Rapidly Changing Lifestyle

The modern lifestyle has its hassles. The sedentary 9-5 job, unhealthy dietary patterns, disrupted sleep cycles, poor lifestyle habits, and stress have contributed to many lifestyle complications. Owing to these indisciplined lifestyle habits, individuals are exposed to the risk of suffering from lifestyle disorders such as obesity, diabetes, asthma, and hypertension. This increased risk makes it important to buy a health insurance policy.

  • Tax Breaks

Besides offering financial security against medical emergencies, a health insurance plan also allows individuals to save on taxes. The premiums an insured pays towards health insurance plans in a year are eligible for tax deductions under the Indian Income Tax Act. In this case, the deductions availed by senior citizens are more than those available to regular individuals. To elaborate, section 80D allows regular individuals a maximum deduction of Rs. 25000 every year on premiums, while senior citizens can claim up to Rs 50000 as a deduction. The deduction limit also includes a Rs. 5000 deduction on preventive health expenses.

  • Cashless Treatment at Network Hospitals

Health insurance providers usually have tie-ups with a chain of hospitals where the insured can avail of cashless treatment during an emergency or get their out-of-pocket expenses reimbursed readily during hospitalization. Notably, several network hospitals may vary among providers. This makes it crucial for policy buyers to check and assess the network hospitals under each provider and their perks. 

  • Pre-existing Diseases

Today, insurance providers also offer coverage for pre-existing diseases. This is beneficial for those with pre-existing diseases such as diabetes, heart issues, kidney issues, or hypertension.  Based on their requirements, individuals may opt for pre-existing disease coverage and make effective efforts to manage the same. However, it is advised to read the terms and conditions of exclusions and claims related to such policies to understand their scope better.

What should be on your health insurance checklist?

Before purchasing a health insurance plan it’s advisable to check several things in detail. Some of the most crucial factors that should be in everyone’s checklist include –

Waiting Period

This is the period between which policyholders are barred from raising a claim. Typically, the waiting period varies among insurers. So it is suggested to opt for providers who offer policies with a short waiting period. 


This is the amount that individuals have to pay from their own pocket when getting relevant health coverage. A higher copayment amount leads to lower premiums. Since this increases individuals’ financial burden during an emergency, it is suggested to pick a plan that comes with lesser or zero com payment requirements.

Grace Period

This period refers to that phase during which policyholders can get their policy renewed after its expiry. Having an idea about the grace period beforehand can help renew policies on time and avoid penalties or applicable charges, if any.

No Claim Bonus

This is basically an incentive offered to policyholders for not raising a claim in a year. This benefit is given during plan renewal which often helps lower premiums or increase coverage based on the insurer’s plan. It is advised to opt for companies that offer no claim bonus to make the most of the coverage.

Network Hospitals

As mentioned earlier, health plans have tie-ups with a chain of hospitals where the insured can avail of cashless facilities. However, the onus of assessing the list of hospitals and their performance record and services depends on the policy buyer. So make sure to check the network list in advance and evaluate their merit.

Preventive Health Check-up

Nowadays more health insurance policies offer preventive health benefits under the plan. This may allow individuals to avail of free checkups or consultations during the year. Such features are being offered to help individuals tackle challenges associated with the rampant chronic health issues among younger adults and older individuals.


There are several health insurance plans that extend sub-limits on benefits. It is recommended to avoid such plans and identify them when comparing policies.

Having a fair idea about these aspects can help individuals choose from the best health insurance plans in India and safeguard their future confidently.