A vast majority of health insurance policyholders are of the impression that a policy mainly covers the cost of hospitalisation, which often is the most important expense. However, what they do not understand is that the health insurance industry as a whole has evolved significantly and many of the policies today are highly customer centric. A basic coverage policy no longer sells and all insurance companies are aware of that. This is why they have come up with unconventional and unique features to endear themselves to prospective customers.
Here are a few such hidden features that many may not be aware of but is still highly beneficial:
1.Daily cash allowance
Apart from the direct hospitalisation expenses, patients incur other miscellaneous expenses too. They could be anything from food expenses to the commute expenses incurred by a family member taking care of the patient. Therefore, insurance companies offer daily cash allowance to patients who are admitted to the hospital for a specific duration. Certain insurance companies have separate policies that offer this benefit such as SBI’s Hospital Daily Cash Policy which is offers an allowance equal to Rs.2,000/- for regular hospitalization and Rs.4,000 for accidental hospitalization or ICU treatment.
2. Domiciliary treatment
In case an individual has to avail medical treatment at home, insurers offer coverage for expenses incurred for such treatments too. Typically, this offer is valid only if the individual is required to avail treatment at home on the advice of the attending doctor or due to non-availability of a bed in the hospital. The Heartbeat Family First Health Insurance Plan by Max Bupa offers domiciliary hospitalization benefits only if the treatment is availed for 3 continuous days.
3. Recovery benefit
This benefit provided by insurance companies helps policyholders manage recovery expenses. Usually, the recovery benefit is provided as a lump-sum amount and it can be utilised to manage any supplementary costs incurred by the individual post hospitalisation. Loss of income or compassionate visits by family members may be covered under this benefit.
4. Attendant allowance
This is a special allowance that is provided to the adult who takes care of a patient, who is a child, at the hospital. The insurance company will fix the amount payable and also the duration for which it is provided to the individual.
5. Organ donor expenses
Most health insurance policies cover hospitalisation expenses incurred on transplanting an organ to the insured individual. However, one must note that the expenses incurred by the organ donor are also covered under certain policies.
6. Alternative treatment cover
Earlier, alternative treatments were excluded under health insurance policies. However, insurers now offer alternative treatments covers as such treatments are slowly growing popular. Some alternative treatments include Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy, and Sidha. Insurers, in most cases, require the patients to avail alternative treatments in a government hospital or a facility that is recognised by the National Accreditation Board of Health and Quality Council of India to enjoy insurance coverage.
7. Free health checkup
Most people are not aware that their health insurance companies offer coverage for health checkups too. However, most insurers ask insured members to maintain at least 4 claim-free years to avail this facility. The added benefit is that cashless checkups can be availed at network hospitals or centers.
8. Additional insurer benefits
In order to encourage individuals to maintain good health, insurance companies offer rewards for keeping fit. Apollo Munich, for example, offers the Stay Active Benefit that provides a premium discount of 8% for those who walk over 10,000 steps on a daily basis. The task can be monitored through a mobile application.
9. Maternity and newborn cover
Certain health insurance plans, especially family floaters, offer coverage for maternity-related expenses. This includes pre and post-natal expenses incurred by the insured member. In addition to this, policies offer insurance coverage for newborns too. Religare, under its Joy maternity and newborn cover, offers a lump-sum payment in case the newborn is born with certain defects.
While reading the health insurance policy wording may seem to be a tough task, one may be able to find many hidden benefits, such as those mentioned above, that may come in handy in the future. Every individual should ensure he/she goes through the policy document before purchasing a health insurance plan not only to know the benefits but also the restrictions and exclusions as well. To avoid hassles at the time of claim settlement, it is best to be aware of the clauses in the fine print well in advance.