Most salaried individuals believe that their employers’ group health insurance is adequate. If you are among them, you could be wrong. Companies across sectors are cutting down on the range of benefits that they are providing their employees. According to insurance broking firm Marsh India, over 70% of employers surveyed in 2013 had modified their health plans between 2011 and 2012 to manage the rising healthcare costs. The changes included partial or full withdrawal of parental coverage,imposition of rent restrictions and costsharing with employees on claims. Industry watchers believe that the trend is likely to continue this year.
“Parents’ policies are slowly moving from an employer-funded to an employee-funded model. This trend is likely to continue and expand to more organisations,” says Sanjay Kedia, CEO, Marsh India.
Now that the benefit of covering your senior-citizen parents may be done away with, how can you bridge the gap? An independent cover will help you during a job switch and make up for any shortfall in coverage. “Before putting in one’s papers, the employee should enforce the portability provision and get his parents ported to a retail policy with the same insurer,” says Segar Sampathkumar, GM, The New India Assurance.
To boost your protection, you could buy an indemnity-based regular health insurance, a fixed benefit policy or a top-up plan. The combination would depend on your age, city of residence, preferences, risk appetite and, of course, affordability. “For employees over 45 years old, it is advisable to go for an indemnity cover. They can carry on with this cover even after retirement,” says Arvind Laddha, CEO, Vantage Insurance Brokers. According to insurance advisers, a family of four (a couple and two children), living in a metropolis, requires a minimum cover of Rs 10 lakh. If you need a larger cover, you can opt for an indemnitybased cover of Rs 5 lakh and a top-up plan for the balance.
Under a regular health policy , several expenses are not covered. For instance, an attendant’s commuting expenses. Defined plans promise to hand out a pre-determined amount, irrespective of the actual expenses incurred when a claim is made.
However, Divya Gandhi, principal officer and head, Emkay Insurance Brokers, strikes a note of caution. Daily cash variants have to be purchased in addition to reimbursement covers. “If your cash plan pays, say , Rs 1,000-3,000 per day, it is barely going to cover the room rent,” says Gandhi.