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Getting the Right Health Insurance

Health insurance should be mainly viewed as an instrument to protect against sudden and unexpected emergency health situations instead of covering regular illnesses which ultimately leads to increased costs of medical coverage. It provides the policyholder with an affordable way to get medical care when it is needed the most.

There are many types of health insurance that is available to the consumers in the market. What is the right amount of insurance one should have? It all boils down to the needs and wants of the customer.

Health insurance such as critical illness insurance provides payment in the form of a lump sum amount or a stream of income when an individual is diagnosed with a critical illness such as cancer or heart attack.

There are also health insurance plans that provide critical illness coverage that is common to or more specific for males, females and even children.

Other variations of health insurance are plans that allow people to claim for multiple incidences of critical illness. For example, a plan that pays a portion of the insured amount during early stages of critical illness. This policy money can be used by the individual to pay for treatment or to pay for his/her living expenses during recovery without eroding the savings. There is a range of health insurance plans in the market that caters to various needs.

Depending on the type of health insurance plan one chooses, the premium may vary due to gender, age, smoking habits, occupation class and duration of the coverage among other factors. A person’s health condition and lifestyle may also affect the premium.

Most insurance companies offer health and medical coverage in their policies and the insured is usually entitled to hospitalisation, surgery and medical care by way of a medical insurance.

Nevertheless, insurance is a long term commitment and should be planned well before purchasing one. People are advised to commit based on their needs and affordability when it comes to insurance.

There are several factors to consider before purchasing a health insurance plan. One must first understand what his or her needs for the insurance plan are before making a purchase.

Among factors to consider are also the affordability of the plan, exclusions in the plan, what kind of coverage and benefits are provided as well as the policyholder’s access to doctors and hospitals. For further protection against other health related risks such as hospitalisation and critical illness, there is also a broad range of riders available and to choose from.

Besides these factors, customers should also examine if insurance companies provide value added services that go beyond the mere provision of insurance. For example, if there is a 24-hour call service or if there are second opinion options provided. The nature and quality of value-added services provided by an insurer can help a customer make a more informed decision.

Check websites and read product disclosure sheets provided by the insurer which contain information on the benefit, the premiums, the limitations or exclusions of the plan. Sometimes, a person does not read what is in their policy documents and only realise the limits of their coverage when they fall ill or are admitted into a hospital.

An insurance plan can play many roles such as reimbursing your medical bills or paying a benefit when diagnosed with critical illness. If you are unsure, talk to an insurance agent to have a quick assessment of your current needs.

One must always study and understand what the health policy coverage is about. A knowledgeable intermediary would be helpful when making a decision. We encourage people to choose the right plans, consult trained financial advisers and to buy health plans early.

The best time to get a health insurance plan is when one is young and likely to be in good health as you can enjoy lower premium rates as well as ensure insurability due to excellent health condition. We encourage people to choose the right plans and consult trained financial advisers.

Another factor in getting a health insurance plan early is the escalating cost of medical care. With the rising medical cost, there will be a greater need for health insurance. Health insurance is becoming more expensive due to the better medical equipment, tools and services, we may see inflation in health costs.

In terms of trends, among the top medical claims are for heart diseases, cancer and stroke. In terms of frequency, acute conditions like bronchitis, gastritis, fever and viral infections are more common relatively, making up easily over 50% of medical claims. (Readers Digest, 16 January 2014) We have also seen young working adults afflicted with heart conditions earlier now than say 10 years ago.

While there is increasing awareness on insurance, particularly in health insurance, people are still unaware how costly treatments can be. We will slowly come to a stage where an average wage earner may find it difficult to afford decent healthcare. Investing in a health insurance is one way of helping to ease this financial burden.

There are health plans available in the market to suit just about every person’s needs. Once a person knows the options available, they can opt for the one that best suits their needs. Even people who are healthy need health insurance as it protects them and helps them to better prepare for the unexpected. Unforeseen medical bills can pose a huge burden on a person or family and having health insurance can help with sudden, expensive costs.

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