What is Health Insurance

A Health Insurance Policy is a contract between the insurer and policyholder. The policy aims to provide the financial coverage against expenses incurred during a medical emergency.  Under this, one can avail of the benefits of reimbursement of medical expenses or cashless treatment as mentioned in the health policy.

Why do we need Health Insurance?

Owing to the rise in medical cost these days, health insurance has gained importance in today’s world. A health insurance plan can save you from burning a hole in your pocket and derail your finances. With such plans, you can manage your hefty medical expenses in a hassle-free manner. Moreover, you can also take advantage of several tax deductions on the premiums paid towards health insurance under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

Health insurance plan/policy can help you with the much-needed financial backup when you come across any medical emergency in your life, especially when you do not have enough funds to cover up your treatment. By purchasing a medical cover, you can be assured of both i.e. your health and money without much hassle.

What are the eligibility criteria for Health Insurance in India?

In India, people under 45 years of age are not required to undergo a mandatory health check-up while obtaining a health insurance policy. However, they are required only to disclose any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or hypertension beforehand to their insurer. It is therefore usually advised that one should get health insurance at a young age so that the premium charged would be less. Usually, individuals above 55 years of age need to undergo additional medical examination while buying a health insurance plan.

What are the different Healthcare Schemes offered by the Government of India?

The Indian government (Centre & State) have launched numerous healthcare insurance schemes to improve healthcare and make it accessible for the weaker sections of the society. Here is a list of health insurance schemes provided by the Government of India-

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY): The Ministry of Labour and Employment has launched this scheme to provide health insurance coverage for families who are below the poverty line. Under this scheme, the beneficiaries can avail a health benefits cover of up to Rs. 30,000. A registration fee of Rs. 30 is chargeable to avail of the health benefits.

Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY): It is an initiative taken by the government to bring access to insurance facilities, especially for the economically weaker sections of the society. This scheme features affordable premiums and provides compensation to the family of the deceased.

Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS): This scheme was launched in 1954. It provides comprehensive healthcare facilities to the central government employees, pensioners and dependents of these employees. To avail the health benefits under this insurance, individuals must reside in cities that are covered under CGHS.

Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (AABY): This is a social security scheme and was launched in 2017 to provide healthcare facilities for rural landless individuals. The head of the household will be covered under the scheme (AABY). The beneficiary should be between 18 to 59 years of age. The dependent of the beneficiary is entitled to receive Rs. 30,000 upon natural death, Rs. 75,000 upon accidental death or permanent disability, and Rs. 37,500 on partial disability.

 Janashree Bima Yojana (JBY): This scheme was launched in the year 2000 by the Government of India and Life Insurance Corporation of India. It targets people falling below the poverty line (BPL). The plan covers 45 occupation groups currently.

Employment State Insurance Scheme (ESIS): This is a social security initiative aimed at providing socio-economic protection to the working class and their dependents. The scheme ensures that all members and their family will receive full medical care from day one. Under this scheme, the beneficiary is eligible for cash benefits in the case of any temporary or permanent disablement of the insured on losing the earning capability.

Universal Health Insurance Scheme (UHIS): The Indian public sector insurance companies have implemented this scheme to provide access to better healthcare for poor and underprivileged families. Under this scheme, the beneficiaries will receive reimbursement for medical expenses up to Rs. 30,000 and accidental death cover up to Rs. 25,000. The insurance premium for this scheme is Rs. 200 per person, Rs. 300 for a family of five, and Rs. 400 for a family of seven.

Ayushman Bharat Yojana/Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana: It is a National Health Protection Scheme which covers more than 10 crore poor families across India, offering coverage of up to Rs. 5 lakh per family per annum. The scheme’s benefits extend to all parts of India and those covered under this scheme can avail cashless benefits at any of the empanelled hospitals across India. This scheme offers cover to almost 40% of the Indian populace and covers all secondary as well as several tertiary hospitalizations.

Are there any tax benefits on Health Insurance?

The amount you pay toward your health insurance premium can be claimed as a tax-saving deduction under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act. You can claim Rs. 25,000 annually for a health insurance policy for yourself. If you pay the premium for your parents also, then, in that case, you can claim an amount of up to Rs. 30,000 for the same as well.

Final Word

Good health is the most precious asset, and everyone needs to protect it at all costs. The value of health insurance cannot be overstated. Without having a health insurance plan, it can result in delayed treatment,  makes you bear hundreds of thousands of dollars, and even bankruptcy in the event of an accident. So, purchasing a health insurance plan is considered important in today's era to offer complete health protection to you and your family.