The coming of old age is often an indication of several health complications and vulnerabilities. A gradual decrease in physical and mental strength paves the way for loss of immunity. It makes the elderly more susceptible to chronic illnesses and even Covid-19. A recent report by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare shows that 50% of deaths due to COVID-19 have happened in the age group of 60 years and above; 37% of deaths belong to the 45-60 years age group; while 11% of deaths belong to the 26-44 years, age group. These numbers highlight that people above the age of 45 belong to the high-risk group. As per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, those aged above 65 are at a higher risk of severe illness.
Looking at the big picture, treatment costs at any super speciality hospital in a metro city for a complicated case can go up to Rs 15-20 lakh. Infection-fighting cells or white blood cells get depleted with increasing age. It consequently reduces the body’s immunity and makes it difficult to fight against antibodies. Diseases such as cancer, renal failure, and diabetes are not far from this stage. Healthcare expenses among senior citizens face a double whammy. Post-retirement, their income drops substantially, and the inflation in healthcare costs affects their retirement savings. The lack of health insurance for the elderly can be disastrous, especially during the current pandemic.
Fortunately, there is a range of health insurance products available for the elderly today. If you have dependent parents, buying a good cover for them amounts to a sound financial decision. It is advisable for people under the age of 60 to opt for a regular health insurance plan because it is rich in features. The minimum sum insured that senior citizens must opt for is Rs 10 lakh.
Regular health insurance plans may be a bit expensive than specific plans for senior citizens, but they don’t have co-payments or have lesser co-payments; and sub-limits as compared to Senior Citizen Specific health insurance plans. Loaded with a plethora of features, regular health plans provide a more holistic coverage. For example, the Religare Care health insurance plan provides a wide range of policies with the sum assured, going as high as Rs 75 lakh. It also covers alternative therapies such as Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Unani and Siddha, covering over 500 daycare treatments.
However, if the individual is above 60, they should opt for a Senior Citizen Specific plan. Usually, senior citizen-specific health insurance plans are suggested to those suffering from pre-existing diseases or chronic illnesses. Senior citizen Specific plans are comparatively cheaper than regular health insurance plans but have compulsory co-payments and sub-limits. They also have a lesser waiting period on existing illnesses as compared to Regular health insurance plans.
Over the years, various new features have enabled greater access for senior citizens. In the past, those above the age of 65 were not eligible to buy a health insurance plan. However, now, they can easily buy one. In the last 2-3 years, various options have been introduced for senior citizens to buy a health insurance plan as per their needs. Today, there are plans available covering several daycare treatments like cataract, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, dialysis and angiography. If you have an elder at home, there’s absolutely no reason to delay buying a befitting health cover for them right away.
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