Health insurance is a type of insurance which covers the insurers medical and surgical expenses incurred in case of hospitalisation in India. Policies are offered for individual or family or group of people. Health insurance is different from Life Insurance and health insurance takes care of the medical expenses incurred in case of hospitalisation. It is a contract between an insurer and an individual /group in which the insurer agrees to provide specified health insurance cover at a particular "premium".
History of Health Insurance in India and its growth.
The first health insurance policy in India was launched in 1986 and were called Mediclaim insurance. With great efforts of government and due to general awareness among individuals and liberalization of economy, the health insurance has taken a major leap in gaining a foothold in the insurance sector.
After the government opened the insurance sector in year 2000 for private participants, the health sector saw a major boost in terms of numbers.
Who can issue the policies?
The Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDA) is responsible for insurance policies in India.
The policy is issued by private or government sponsored health insurance providers and the individual is given options and plans which he or she would like to opt for depending upon the age and previous ailments if any.
The insurance providers offer a range of products to the public like family floater plans, top-up plans, critical illness plans, hospital cash and top up policies.
The goal of the government was to create general awareness among the people and to lessen the burden in case of hospitalisation. The health insurance policies are standalone insurance policies.
Options available with public in terms of Health Insurance
There are various options available to the individuals who opt for health insurance. One option is called Reimbursement at the end of the hospital stay. A person can directly pay to the hospital where the person is being hospitalised and then later claim the expenses after submitting the bills, the discharge report, the laboratory test reports and bills and other expenses documents which the individual has incurred during the stay at the hospital.
The other facility provided is Direct Payment or Cashless Facility where the entire expenses are taken care off by the provider of the insurance and it saves the individual or the relatives the efforts of trying to arrange for the money in case of emergency treatment.
Efforts by the Government.
To create awareness about health insurance among general public, the Indian government Under the Income Tax Act, section 80D, has provided the insured person tax deduction benefits. The person can claim the premium paid to the insurance provider as deductions under section 80D of the Income tax act.
Is Health Insurance important?
Yes, it is very important given to understand the hectic life a person lives in Metro and urban areas. It is the duty of all individuals to buy family health insurance according to the needs. Buying health insurance protects from the sudden, unexpected costs of hospitalization which would otherwise make a major dent into household savings or even lead to indebtedness.