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The cost of delaying your health insurance plan

Last Updated: Nov 26, 2012 | 157 Views

How many times have you visited the dentist before it’s absolutely urgent? How many times have you initiated your own medical check-up irrespective of the events at home or the meetings in office? Well, most of us have enough excuses to delay the health care procedures to as long as possible. All of us have postponed a doctor's visit either to avoid the expense or till the end of an important assignment or out of sheer laziness.

This is a common human psychology of postponing health care until your body stops accommodating the pain. This act of postponement actually ends up pinching our pockets more than what it would have at the initial stage. (Yes – A stitch in time does save nine). For example, an early detection of cancer is curable and the treatment is also not expensive. There are millions of people who suffer from diabetes, hyper tension and high blood pressure, but are not aware of the same. The chances of these people incurring any health hazard are much higher than others.

Similarly, how many people actually think of opting for a Health Insurance Plan in India till they are hit by some illness or a sudden hospitalisation which cost them a hefty amount? And then, the premium (after being diagnosed by an illness/disease) is higher than what it would have been before the diagnosis of the illness. But this is the irony! We end up taking the prevention only after the hazard and not before!

My neighbour Rahul has been subjected to a similar event. He learnt about the benefits of a health insurance policy when he was 27 years of age. But he kept delaying the purchase until last month, when he was diagnosed with Diabetes and high Uric Acid. Now he is 32 years old, has been diagnosed with a couple of diseases, which means a) higher premium, b) policy will not cover the cost of treatment of those two diseases c) any cost or treatment related to these diseases will not be covered for 3 to 4 years

If he had opted for a Health Insurance Plan four years back, all his illnesses would have been covered in the plan and his premium would also have been much lower. The premium will be higher since there would be an additional loading amount depending upon the assessment of the risk by the Underwriting team of the Insurance Company from where Rahul would opt to purchase his Health Insurance Plan.

So, if you also are someone like Rahul, who has been postponing his Health Insurance Plan for the “appropriate time” or for some signal from God or something, think on the following lines:

Once you are diagnosed with a Health Hazard,

a.               Your coverage is limited

b.               Your Premium is much higher

c.                There are exclusions for coverage and protection

The amount of money your save per annum by not taking a Health Plan (say Rs. 6,000) for 10 years (i.e. Rs 60,000) is lesser than once-in-10-years kind of hospitalisation which costs about Rs 1.5 to 2 lacs.

Even though you may have moved towards a healthier lifestyle now with yoga and exercise and a conscious diet in regular regime, there is every chance of an illness being diagnosed at some age. Just because you are 30 odd years old, it doesn’t mean that there are zero chances of any illness! Hence, it makes sense not to postpone the purchase of your Health Plan just to save a few bucks and then regret for the rest of your life!

Deepak Yohannan
Deepak Yohannan is the CEO of MyInsuranceClub. He enjoys writing on Personal Finance and contributes regularly on sites like Reuters & Moneycontrol. He is a strong proponent of online insurance and is often found pointlessly babbling about it!

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