It is essential to invest in health insurance, especially in the modern scenario, where exposure to lifestyle diseases is increasing rapidly and medical expenses are too extremely high.
If you have already purchased a health insurance or looking to buy one, it is important to enhance the coverage of the standard health insurance by investing some additional amount of premium on the riders or add-ons. In simple terms, riders are amendments to the terms of coverage of the basic health plan according to your comprehensive and customized needs, at a minimal cost.
Let us look into some of the riders available with health insurance in India:
- Critical Illness Rider:
Critical illness mainly refers to any disease or illness which is fatal in nature such as- massive heart attack, kidney failure, organ transplant, cancer, stroke, paralysis etc. Critical Illness rider protects you from such fatal diseases which adversely impact your earnings by providing immediate lump sum amount irrespective of the total expenses incurred during the actual medical treatment. There are many insurers that provide critical illness rider for 10-15 ailments, however, depending on the company and requirement of the policyholder, an insurance company may cover up to 38 critical illnesses in case of comprehensive plans. However, pre-existing or hereditary diseases are not covered by this rider. It can be opted as a separate policy cover also.
The distinguishing feature of this rider is that you need to survive for 30 successive days (few insurance companies have zero or 28 days) after the diagnosis of the critical illness in order to make the claim. Further, there are 90 days waiting period at the start of the policy. Any critical illness diagnosed within the first 90 days and death within 30 days following the diagnosis of the critical illness will not be generally covered.
- Personal Accident Rider:
This rider covers you from the accidents occurring during the policy period. This could be permanent total disablement (loss of two limbs, sight, speech and hearing), permanent partial disablement (loss of an arm, leg, one eye or one ear) and temporary total disablement (fractures in both limbs and temporary blindness) including accidental death. It provides the insured with coverage for medical expenses, any disability/injury suffered in an accident and can be used for any unplanned expenses.
The personal accident rider is also known as double indemnity rider. If the insured dies in an accident then the insurance company pays out an additional amount of death benefit. The policyholder’s family gets twice the amount of the policy as a result of death due to accidental bodily injury.
- Maternity Cover:
This rider provides coverage against maternity expenses incurred during childbirth procedures, after a waiting period which could be 24 months or more, depending on the insurer and the plan. It covers the following expenses:
- Pre and post hospitalization expenses: It covers all the expenses incurred 30 days prior to and 60 days post hospitalization up to a maximum limit of ₹ 50,000.
- Other medical expenses: It covers room charges, boarding and nursing expenses along with consultation charges of the surgeon as well as doctor and emergency ambulance charges also.
- Delivery and pre and post natal expenses: It covers each and every expense related to the delivery of child whether it is normal or cesarean. Expenses related to post-delivery complications for the mother, if any, is also covered.
- Newborn baby cover: The coverage is extended to the infant if diagnosed with a critical illness or hereditary disorder up to the expiry of the current policy.
However, Cost of medicines and consultation costs during regular check-ups are not included in the coverage.
- Hospital Cash Rider:
This rider provides for the daily cash that you may require for taking care of the hospital and other medical expenses during hospitalization. It will be paid once by the insurance company during the tenure of your policy and can be used for a certain number of days as mentioned in your health insurance plan. You will be eligible for such payout only if you are hospitalized for a minimum of 24 hours. Higher cash benefits can be claimed (as much as twice) if you are admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). It also provides a lump sum benefit in case a surgery is required to be performed.
- Room Rent Waiver:
This rider allows you to opt for a room with a higher sub-limit or without sub-limits. Generally, policies will have a set amount of room rent depending on the nature of the room (general, semi-private rooms). This waiver allows the insured to avail the hospital room of one’s choice without having to pay any additional admission fee. It can prove to be handy if you are either living or undergoing treatment in a metro city where hospital room rents are high.
- Top-up/super top-up cover:
Top-up or super top-up plans are designed to provide additional health insurance cover, over and above your existing health plan. They can be used to upgrade the sum assured of your base plan. It is an alternative to an additional health policy that is often considered an expensive option. A top-up plan reimburses expenses exceeding base cover only for one hospitalization. A super top-up plan, on the other hand, reimburses expenses for the entire year.
Therefore, it is evident that health insurance riders were developed so that policyholders with certain medical conditions could benefit in future, especially during hospitalization. So, you must assess your specific needs, compare all options available in the market and make a decision based on your age and requirement. Always remember, a well-thought-out decision can go a long way in securing your future.