Health insurance takeaways from Budget 2012-13

The budget of 2012-13 has introduced small but useful takeaways for the health insurance sector. Some of the handy features are –
1. Tax-exemption up to Rs.5000/- for health check ups
2. Age eligibility for Senior citizens is lowered down to 60 years (from 65 years)
3. Tax deduction limit increased up to Rs.20,000 for senior citizens

Health Check ups are Tax-free
Any amount spent on health check ups can also be claimed for tax exemption up to Rs.5,000 every year. Earlier only the expenses incurred for treatment and medicines were allowed tax benefits up to Rs.15,000/year.

Allowing the cost of preventive health check ups to be tax-free will encourage people to proactively undergo medical tests such as blood tests, heart-related tests, cholesterol tests, etc. Many hospitals offer packages such as executive health check up and family health check up but customers used to find it a wasteful expenditure. Now that these health check-up packages will offer tax benefits, the hospitals will aggressively promote it. Customers too will avail such preventive health tests and check ups in consideration of the tax-exemption that will come along.

Senior citizens
The Budget has reduced the age criteria for senior citizens from 65 years+ to 60 years and above. This means that if your age is 60 or above then you are eligible for insurance related benefits under senior citizen category and you can claim higher deductions on health insurance premiums under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act. Now, the senior citizen individual can claim a benefit up to Rs.20,000 on health insurance.