As the world moves forward, we must acknowledge and take care of the health problems that may arise for the sake of ourselves and those around us. The fragility of the healthcare system and its exorbitant expenses are very much part of the current norms. To ensure that we can safeguard ourselves against financial instability during medical emergencies, we must take all possible precautions. One of the steps that women, in particular, can take is purchasing an adequate health care insurance plan designed for them.
Importance of woman's health insurance in India
But why do women need a specific health care plan? Well, the answer to that is simple. There are several severe illnesses and ailments that disproportionately affect women. Often, only health care insurance plans for women will cover these sicknesses.
These sex-specific health problems and critical illnesses are generally not covered by general health insurance policies. This is where health insurance for women comes in. These health insurance plans cover maternity and provide coverage for women-specific health conditions, like critical illnesses, breast cancer, and other similar medical problems.
Medical insurance for women provides that extra coverage and protection from financial burdens, ensuring access to quality medical care in your time of need. In this article, we will discuss all the possible questions you may have regarding this subject. This will allow you to make the most informed choice for yourself.
Why Do Women Need a Specific Health Insurance Policy?
Medical inflation has ensured that seeking quality medical care can lead to some significant financial burdens. Insurance companies design a litany of healthcare plans, each one targeting a different demographic.
Below is a list of reasons why a women-specific health insurance policy is beneficial for you and your family:
- Women-specific Ailments - As stated earlier, several ailments disproportionately affect women. Specific diseases and conditions, like breast cancer, cancers found in the female reproductive system, and other problems affecting those parts of the human body - are all more likely to be diagnosed in women. Treating and recovering from these conditions is expensive in time, money and resources. Without an adequate health insurance plan, which caters to these ailments, the brunt of the cost of treatment and recovery needs to be faced solely by the patient. Health care insurance plans designed for women that provide coverage for these specific illnesses are crucial. Often, these problems are not included in many health insurance plans, so be careful when selecting such a plan.
- Maternity Care - The costs of having a baby are ever-increasing. Pregnancy takes a toll on the mother's body. Ensuring the health of mother and baby is an expensive process, even if there are no complications in that pregnancy. But if complications do occur? Whether during the pregnancy itself or childbirth, the medical expenses that can be accrued are positively astronomical.
Additionally, maternity care is not often included in most health care insurance plans. Women-specific health insurance plans only offer this financial coverage. This benefit is truly crucial for you to have if you are looking forward to having a child. Pregnancy is completely unpredictable, and ensuring that you can afford treatment for the mother and baby, should the worse happen, is very important.
- Critical illness cover: Health insurance companies offer a wide range of add-ons or riders with women-specific health insurance policies. One of the most important add-ons offered is the critical illness cover, wherein the insured person enjoys coverage against the listed critical illnesses. In the case of women, the chances of contracting a critical illness could significantly affect the family. The financial burden of undergoing treatment for critical illnesses like cancer could negatively affect the family. Insurance companies offer critical illness covers as part of women-specific health insurance policies. This offers adequate coverage to women against a host of life-threatening critical ailments. As a result, not only are women able to receive the best possible medical care for their ailments but there is no burden on the financial resources of the family as well.
- Tax Benefits - Women can claim tax benefits on the premiums paid towards their health care insurance plan. These benefits are available under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961. This allows the policyholder to avail themselves of a tax deduction of up to INR 25,000 on the total premiums paid for a women-specific health insurance plan. This enables women with a health care insurance policy to lessen their taxable income and, therefore, their tax liability.
- Free medical check-up: All women are super busy with their hectic daily routines, whether they are homemakers or working women. In such a situation, they are unable to dedicate proper attention to taking care of their health. Moreover, women tend to cope with some nagging symptoms till their body allows, without consulting a physician for an opinion. As a result, in most situations, ailments are only detected in advanced stages. This is where the benefit of a free medical check-up comes to the fore. Women-specific health insurance policies come with free/mandatory annual check-ups for women for all age groups. These check-ups are conducted by experienced doctors who can identify any potential health conditions that may affect a woman in the future. Therefore, by opting for a comprehensive women-specific health insurance policy, all females can benefit from a free medical check-up and thus exercise better control over their health.
- Managing the Waiting Period: - Like all health insurance policies, a woman health insurance also comes with the limitation of the waiting period for certain illnesses. Depending on the ailment, this waiting period can extend between one to four years from the original purchase date for the policy. By opting for a women-specific health insurance policy at an early stage, women can effectively manage the limitations posed by the waiting period. As per the available data, women are more susceptible to various health conditions after 40 years. Therefore, availing of a health insurance policy during the '20s or '30s will allow the women to complete the waiting period for most health conditions effortlessly. As a result, if the need arises in future, they will enjoy complete coverage for all the ailments listed under the policy.
Ultimately, the goal of a health insurance policy is to ensure that you can avail yourself of adequate medical services and medical care without compromising your financial security. As such, the best health insurance for women ensures that medical needs like women-specific critical illness care, newborn baby care, etcetera are all things that are adequately covered.
How to Pick the Best Health Insurance Policy for Women?
With multiple options available regarding women-specific health insurance plans, making a choice can sometimes be a difficult task. This is why we have prepared a comprehensive checklist to compare women-specific health insurance plans, allowing you to pick the most suitable health insurance policy for your well-being.
- Sum Insured: - You must factor in the rising healthcare costs before opting for a sum insured for your health insurance policy. If possible, try increasing the sum insured every two years to maintain parity with the increased medical costs.
- Waiting period: You must also consider the waiting period applicable to various pre-existing ailments listed under the policy. A policy with the shortest waiting period is regarded as a better option.
- Maternity cover: If you are looking to start a family in the near future, opt for a women-specific health insurance plan that offers maternity coverage.
- Additional benefits: If you are interested in opting for a critical illness cover or any specific riders, then look for a health insurance plan that offers these benefits.
- Premium payable: You must pay premiums on time every year to continue enjoying the coverage under the policy. Therefore, opt for a policy that offers maximum benefits with the premiums being within your budget.
- Network hospitals: You would want to opt for a health insurance policy that is acceptable with leading hospitals in your vicinity. So, make sure that you check the list of network hospitals empanelled with the insurance company. This will allow you to opt for a health insurance policy acceptable at the maximum number of hospitals in your vicinity.
- Maximum renewal age: The need for a women-specific health insurance plan is more in the later years of life. So, opt for a healthcare plan which offers renewals for the longest period.
- Claim settlement ratio: Claim settlement ratio is an important parameter that helps you identify the insurance company which is likely to settle your claims easily. Higher is the claim settlement ratio, the higher are the chances of your claims being approved.
The Benefits of Women-specific Health Insurance Policies
At this point, there is no doubt that a health care policy designed for a woman's unique health problems are beneficial for them and their family. Now we must discuss the most beneficial coverage options that you must keep an eye out for.
The most common features that can be found in an adequate health care insurance policy for women are given below. Consider this a checklist for the things that you may need or want for your health care plan:
- Like all well-designed health insurance policies, health insurance plans for women also include secondary benefits like cashless transactions and cashless claims at network hospitals and tax benefits. More benefits like no-claim bonuses, additional add-ons, etcetera are more specific to each plan.
- The sum insured varies widely from plan to plan. Some health insurance plans will offer the sum insured to be equal to forty times the cost of the premiums paid. At the same time, others will offer discounts for single women or female children. All these monetary benefits are contingent on the fact that the woman is the primary policyholder. And will often not apply to a family floater plan where the woman is not the only policyholder or breadwinner in the household.
- Coverage is provided for this extensive list of treatment types:
- Expenses accrued due to pre-specified daycare treatments
- Pre-hospitalization care and post-hospitalization expenses
- Critical illness care - for pre-specified diseases
- Organ transplantation (though often excluding the cost of procuring the organ)
- Non-allopathic treatment (however, this is accepted by very few insurance companies and only if the care is administered at approved institutes)
- Emergency transport expenses - like medical helicopters and ambulances
- Inpatient care
- Care for pre-existing illnesses (this is often a limited list) after the specified waiting period is over
- Accidental cover along with allowances for cosmetic procedures - should the need for those procedures be caused by accidents
- Critical illness insurance
- Then come the benefits associated with pregnancy and the care of a newborn baby. Maternity health insurance will cover the costs of prenatal care through the time of childbirth. Some health care insurance plans will stretch to include the care of the newborn baby. This care is often only valid for a specified period. Other health care plans will only cover the cost of care for a newborn child if the child is born with pre-existing ailments. Generally, the number of pregnancies that a health insurance policy will cover is limited - most likely, two pregnancies are cared for.
- Some health insurance companies also provide cover for other problems. For example, loss of employment, the death of a spouse, etcetera.
A health care insurance plan is one of the best ways to ensure that the women in your life do not have to needlessly suffer due to a lack of funds. Health care insurance plans for women help you and your family safeguard the health and financial safety of the women in your family. In these trying times, taking measures to protect the medical needs of you and your family is the only sensible thing to do.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How much is health insurance for a single woman?
A1. The cost of a health insurance policy is completely dependent on how many add-ons you do or do not choose. However, many insurance companies provide discounts for single women and girls should they avail their services.
Q2. Does health insurance cover the pregnancy of women?
A2. General health care insurance policies do not provide maternity cover. Health insurance policies only provide maternity cover for women.
Q3. Do we opt for separate insurance for critical illness?
A3. Not necessarily. Health insurance policies cover many common critical illnesses. But others will only be covered through an add-on.