Best health plan for you

How do you buy a health insurance plan? If you just settle with the plan your agent sells or are happy knowing you have bought the cheapest plan, there is a bit of unlearning and a lot of learning in store for you. A health insurance policy packs in several features and caveats. To give you a ready comparison, we designed Mint Mediclaim Ratings (MMR), which was developed by SecureNow Insurance Broker Pvt. Ltd. The full ratings along with the methodology can be seen here:http://www.livemint.com/mintmediratings.

In the ratings, for family floater plans, we have considered two sum insured amounts (Rs.10 lakh and Rs..20 lakh) and three age categories in each—eldest insured member is 35, 45 or 65 years old. For individual plans, the age categories are the same but the sum assured is Rs.5 lakh. The newest edition of the ratings (July 2015) also includes individual plans ofRs.5 lakh, Rs.10 lakh and Rs.20 lakh for a person aged 70 years.

This week, we spotlight individual policies with sum assured Rs.5 lakh, where the person is 35 years old.

We also explain some of the important aspects that one should look at while choosing a policy.

Let’s look at pricing. Price is perhaps the most important factor that you consider when you buy a product and that doesn’t change even when you buy a financial product much less an insurance plan. When buying a health insurance policy too, you need to look at the premiums that you will need to pay, but your comparison shouldn’t stop at premiums alone. What you need to make sure is that you bring home a policy that’s competitively priced but offers a comprehensive cover. Many policies would appear cheaper, but may insist on co-payment or have sub-limits on expenses which in turn would mean that you end up paying from your pocket during a claim.

In MMR ratings pricing is perhaps the only single factor that has got the highest weightage at 30%. So policies that have the lowest premium get the highest score, but in order to make sure that you don’t trade off basic health insurance benefits for cheaper policies, other parameters such as co-payment, sub-limits, waiting period on ailments and pre-existing diseases, no claims bonus and claims settling ability of the insurer collectively have a weightage of 70%. This way while a policy with a lower premium gets the highest score, other parameters make sure that you don’t end up with the raw deal.