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It has been around 18 months since a small virus made its entry into our lives and changed it forever. By July 2021, the COVID-19 virus had already infected close to 200 million people across the world and had killed over four million of them. India also faced the brunt of it and just when things seemed to be getting back to normal, the second wave of COVID-19 hit India much harder than the first wave, taking the total number of infections to over 31 million, second only to the US. The unprecedented health crisis not only changed the world that we live in, but also challenged our perceptions about the importance and need for health insurance. It made us realise that nothing is more vital than our health and our ability to work.
As a result, insuring our most valuable asset - our health - makes sense. Health insurance plans for families provide a financial security net that can help us, and those we love. With the spread of COVID-19, many people have become more aware of the need for health insurance plans for themselves and their families.
This makes sense given the rising costs of healthcare, especially during a health crisis that can put multiple members of a family in hospital due to its infectious nature. As per reports, the medical bill for a 15-day-hospitalisation at a super-specialty hospital can run up to over Rs 7.5 lakh. However, remembering the yearly renewal of your health insurance policy, or managing liquid funds to get that done in time can be an inconvenience due to busy schedules or irregular cash flows. And missing the renewal of your policy could lead to lapse of all coverage benefits. So it may be a good idea to consider a long-term health insurance policy.
What is long-term insurance?
Long-term health insurance policies are designed to protect the policyholders' health as well as their financial future. Unlike a regular plan that needs to be renewed every year, a long-term health insurance policy is offered for a period of two to three years, thus saving the policyholder from the hassle of yearly renewal.
When purchasing a long-term plan, the premium is normally paid entirely at once. However, some leading insurers now also provide the option of paying the premium in instalments, which allows you to enjoy benefits of long-term insurance while making premium payment in small instalments.
Benefits of long-term health insurance
Discount on premium: The biggest benefit of opting for a long-term health insurance policy is the heavy discount you get on the premium, compared to buying an annual plan. This too works at two levels. One, the insurer gives you a significant discount for going for a multiple-year plan. Second, you avoid any upward revisions in the premium amount for the duration of the policy. Moreover, even if you have a long-term insurance plan, the no-claim benefit is added up annually.
No need of frequent renewals: Since a long-term health insurance policy keeps you protected for a minimum of two to three years, you don't need to worry about frequently renewing your insurance coverage. So, there is no risk of missing the deadline or going through the complicated paperwork for this period. During this period, you are also protected from the pain of hospital fees and the cost of healthcare expenditures.
Tax benefits: Long-term health insurance plans can also help you increase your tax savings. As per section 80D of the Income Tax Act, you can claim a deduction in taxable income for the health insurance the premium you pay. If you are under 60 years of age, you can claim a deduction of up to Rs 25,000 for yourself, your spouse and children, and an additional deduction of up to Rs 50,000 if you also cover your senior citizen parents -- a total deduction of Rs 75,000. When you go for a long-term plan, you can accumulate more tax savings in a single year as you pay the premium of two-three years in one go.
Option to cover pre-existing diseases: Pre-existing diseases, or ailments you were suffering from at the time you bought your policy, are often not covered in most health insurance plans for the first few years of the policy. However, some insurers give policyholders the option of covering pre-existing diseases from the very first year if you opt for a long-term insurance plan.
Where to get your health insurance?
With all these benefits, it makes a lot of sense to go for a long-term cover whether you are purchasing a health insurance policy for just yourself, or for your entire family. You can choose to go with a reputed insurer like Bajaj Allianz General Insurance that lets you cover your entire family in a single plan for a period of up to three years. Their family floater plan covers hospitalisation expenses, doctor's consultations, ambulance services, treatment charges, and pre and post hospitalisation expenses for you and your entire family. Moreover, their health insurance plans for family members cover Ayurvedic and Homoeopathic treatments as well up to a certain limit, based on terms and conditions.
Bajaj Allianz Health Insurance plans come with multiple sum insured options from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 1 crore. If you opt for Health Guard policy by Bajaj Allianz General Insurance and you exhaust the entire sum insured due to a certain illness in a policy year, the Health Guard plan reinstates the entire amount for future claims subject to certain conditions. The plan also increases the cover amount by 10 per cent for every claim-less year. This bonus can go up to 100 per cent of the basic sum assured, terms and conditions apply. The best part is that Bajaj Allianz has tied up with more than 6500 partner hospitals across the country so you can be assured of the best possible and cashless treatment no matter where you live.
When it comes to purchasing health insurance for your family, it is ideal to begin the process as soon as possible. You can purchase long-term health insurance policies online after analyzing the options and selecting the most appropriate plan. By purchasing a family health insurance plan, one can live a stress-free life. Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms and conditions, please read sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.