A good percentage of millennials are aware about the benefits of good health and adequate medical cover, but a large percentage still looks at health insurance as a tax saving instrument. A recent ICICI Lombard survey of 1,400 young people in the age group of 25-35 years had 75% of the respondents saying that they had health insurance.
But 46% of the buyers said that the tax deduction on health insurance premium was what made them buy the health cover. The quest for tax benefits was more pronounced among female respondents, with 64% citing it as the reason for buying the cover. The survey findings show that most people buy insurance only to save tax and not for the benefits it offers.
Even so, they are still better off than those who do not buy any insurance at all. Many people are oblivious of the risk they are exposed to if they don’t take adequate health insurance. Though there has been a rise in demand for health insurance products, India continues to have the highest levels of under-penetration in the world, with only 0.16% of the total population insured for health, as per Irda. Little wonder then that 70% of healthcare expenses are met from one’s pocket.
Take the case of Noida-based Mohit Kumar. He has been advised to buy a family floater plan worth Rs 10 lakh, which will cost Rs 15,000 annually. However, his busy work schedule has kept him from buying the policy. Kumar should know that he can purchase a health policy online. All it will take is 30-40 minutes and some amount of effort to key in his details.
Health insurance is a necessity
The good news is that awareness about the need for health insurance is on the rise. Most of the respondents to the ICICI Lombard survey said they knew about the need for health insurance. But insurers say some myths need to be shattered first.
For instance, half of the respondents of another survey by Max Bupa thought that health insurance is for the old and 48% thought they don’t need it since they are healthy. Many were also bullish about their ability to foot post-retirement health bills as they believed they have enough savings to sail through.
Many are still unsure about the benefits of health insurance. Hence, only 50% of respondents to Max Bupa survey claimed to have renewed their policies. Many still see it as a waste of money because it does not offer any return
How much cover do you need
A health insurance floater policy of Rs 5 lakh is quite sufficient in most parts of the country. However, it may not be adequate if you live in a metro, where the cost of medical treatment is significantly higher. A 2-3 day hospitalisation for common diseases can land you a bill of Rs 60,000-70,000 in private hospitals of metro cities. The bill for bigger ailments can run into several lakhs of rupees.
The type of policy to buy should be determined by your family’s needs. The number of family members and their age is crucial to identifying a policy. For instance, a young family can do with a basic cover of Rs 5 lakh, while a family with older members should opt for a larger floater cover. Family floater premiums are linked to the age of the oldest member. If the parents are over 50, it would be sensible to get a separate cover for them, and not include them in the floater plan.