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Most individual health policies cover common pre-existing diseases from day 1

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NEW DELHI: These days many insurers have come up with individual health policies that cover common pre-existing diseases (PEDs) from day one.

For instance, Aditya Birla’s Active Health Platinum Enhanced policy covers chronic illnesses such as asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes from day one. On the other hand, Star Cardiac Care-gold and HDFC Ergo Health Energy Gold policy covers all hospitalisation arising out of diabetes and hypertension from the policy purchase date.

PED are not exclusions

However, there is a common misconception among people that if they have a pre-existing condition, like diabetes or hypertension, they may not be eligible for a health insurance policy for a specific period. Some of them think that even if they manage to get a policy from a good insurer, the extent of coverage may not be sufficient in case of hospitalisation. Especially if the reason is linked to their pre-existing condition.

For this very reason, many do not buy health insurance while others hide pre-existing diseases while buying a policy.

“A failure to disclose the true state of health while buying a policy may lead to complications while making a claim, or even outright rejection of the claim,” said Amit Chhabra, Head-Health Insurance, policybazaar.com.

First, all insurers offer health insurance to people with pre-existing conditions, albeit with a waiting period. What this means is that while you get complete coverage against every other illness from the day you purchase the policy, you get the same coverage for a pre-existing ailment after you complete the waiting period, specified in the policy terms. In most cases, this waiting period varies from two years to four years.

Chhabra said, “The exclusion of pre-existing ailments during the long waiting period remains a matter of concern for people who are looking for a comprehensive health insurance cover. And the good news is that due to the changes in underwriting rules for customer benefits, many of them have now come up with specially curated plans that offer coverage against pre-existing ailments with a waiting period as low as 30-90 days, or even from day one. So, whether one is suffering from diabetes, hypertension, asthma or high cholesterol level, all of them can go for a PED cover which starts protecting them immediately after they purchase the policy.”

However, this doesn’t imply that individual health policies can be considered on a par with group health insurance policies, which can also cover diseases from day one. This is because the retail individual health policies don’t cover all PEDs. Also, the waiting period and other terms and conditions can vary from policy to policy and insurer to insurer.

Mint take

You must evaluate and compare health insurance products as per your need. Take help from a certified financial advisor who can assist and help you choose the right policy. These plans don’t cover all PEDs and only covers the most common PEDs, that is, hypertension, diabetes, etc. For instance, the PED include health issues ranging from high blood pressure, thyroid, asthma, etc. What if a policyholder dies due to thyroid? Hence, it becomes important to understand all the terms and conditions associated with the policy before buying one yourself.

(Do you have personal finance queries? Send them to [email protected] and get them answered by industry experts)

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