Do not rely only on company health cover for dependants

Published in Mint on 27th May 2014, Written by Kapil Mehta

My mother and father have retired and have no mediclaim. However, my wife and I have added them as dependants in our company health insurance. In my company, they are eligible for Rs.1 lakh as group cover and in my wife’s, they are eligible for Rs.7 lakh. In case we switch jobs, we will add them as dependants again. I don’t pay any premium but my wife pays Rs.7,000. Do we still require an additional insurance protection for them? — Rohan

The group health cover you have for your parents is excellent because the waiting period for pre-existing diseases would have been waived. Keep this cover as long as possible.
Many companies are reducing or withdrawing parental cover because it is expensive and the (often) adverse claims ratio affects their base employee insurance. This is why you need to plan for an eventuality where your firm removes this cover or a new firm you join does not offer parental health insurance. I recommend you buy an individual health insurance for them. These plans come with a 2-4 year waiting period for pre-existing diseases. If your parents fall ill during this period, your company insurance can be utilized. Having own insurance gives the security that your parents will always be insured.
I am a doctor and have heard of professional negligence policies. What determines the premium? — Amit Sanyal
Doctors are generally expected to own professional indemnity insurance. This is becoming increasingly important as the number of malpractice suits have increased dramatically.
The premium depends upon various aspects. First is your specialty. Surgeons carry higher risks than others; specialties such as cardiology and neuro-surgery are perceived to be riskier; litigation in metros is higher than smaller towns. Second is the number and skills of support staff. More support staff may mean more risk, particularly if the staff are not licenced nurses. Finally, the quality of patient counselling and written disclosures. When you purchase a professional indemnity, make sure that the retro-active date is from when you bought the first indemnity insurance and the any-one-accident to any-one-year ratio is 1:1. This increases the effective level of insurance that you have.
Shouldn’t I purchase health insurance with out-patient department (OPD) benefits? — S. Vasan
Most health insurance plans are focused on hospitalization or daycare procedure costs. A few cover OPD treatment as well. However, I find that plans with OPD cover essentially charge extra premium that is equivalent to OPD benefits provided. Make your product choice by looking at the core hospitalisation benefits.

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