Opting for a comprehensive health plan with maternity coverage becomes important
India considers women as “Ghar ki Lakshmi”, i.e. the goddess of the household. They are primary caregivers and caretakers of the family especially the children and the elderly. During these modern ties, we have women across the spectrum. On one end they are career-oriented and on the other end they give up their career to take care of the house. Some get married early and some choose not to. But a woman is a giver and she is the backbone of the family and plays a very important role in building a home out of houses.
Even with the gender pay gaps, small career span, etc., women are speedily catching up with financial awareness and literacy. According to a Musset Wealth Management survey, 74 per cent of women are proactive in creating savings for their future. However, in all this pandemonium, taking care of her own health has somehow taken a backseat. Health insurance has never really been a priority with Indian women, which should have been. Some women-specific diseases like cervical and breast cancer, other gynecology-related issues, osteoporosis, etc., need urgent medical attention as they can be expensive and challenging!
Since the entire household depends solely on the woman of the family as their backbone, she must stay healthy and take care of herself for the sake of others! With high medical inflation, having optimal coverage with health insurance becomes relevant for today’s women.
Trends in health insurance for women
Most families have family floater plans for all members. However, very few families proactively opt for women-specific health insurance plans. However, these plans are actually important as they provide an edge over other indemnity plans for various reasons.
Women health insurance – the need of the hour
Ideally, women need 3 specific types of coverages:
1. A comprehensive health insurance plan
2. A maternity cover, if not already covered in the comprehensive plan
3. A critical illness policy specific to women
The need for a comprehensive plan
A comprehensive health insurance plan is needed to cover the unforeseen medical emergencies that women might face. These emergencies might arise due to illnesses, diseases, or even accidental injuries. The policy should have an optimal sum insured, at least Rs 5 lakh or above, and all-inclusive coverage benefits like sum insured restoration, domiciliary treatments, organ donor expenses, free health check-ups, etc.
How to avail comprehensive coverage for a woman?
Women have two options of availing of comprehensive coverage. One can either get covered under a family floater policy bought by anyone in the family or can opt for a specific health insurance plan. However, if there is an existing family floater plan, the following things should be checked –
Does the plan have a sufficient sum insured?
If ‘Yes’ – Good as you are optimally covered. However, if ‘No’ – Supplement the coverage by increasing it. The sum insured can be increased on renewal or opt for a super top-up policy. Alternately a separate health insurance policy can also be taken for enhanced comprehensive coverage. Besides allowing a wide scope of coverage, the policy would help save additional tax as well.
Does the plan have comprehensive coverage benefits?
If ‘Yes’ – Good as you are optimally covered. However, if ‘No’ – Can switch to another policy that provides a comprehensive scope of coverage. Here again, another health insurance policy can be availed altogether for all-round coverage along and tax benefits.
If there is scope to buy another health insurance plan, individual or family floater, here are some plans that women can consider such as Tata AIG Wellsurance Woman Health Insurance Plan which provides comprehensive coverage along with critical illness benefit; HDFC ERGO Women CI Essential Plan and HDFC ERGO WI CI Comprehensive plan are an overall critical illness oriented plan with additional wellness and maternity benefits; New India Asha Kiran Health Plan is a unique health plan for parents with one girl child, etc. There could be several other plans not specific to women only, but if that covers all requirements, it can surely be availed!
The need for maternity cover
Women are blessed with the gift of motherhood. However, pregnancy involves various physiological, emotional, and mental changes for the woman. There is also a risk of pregnancy-related disorders or issues that incur considerable medical costs. Moreover, the cost of delivery is also considerable. Hence, having maternity coverage becomes extremely important which provides coverage not only for pregnancy and childbirth but also for any possible post-natal expenses and other complications related to childbirth!
How to avail maternity coverage for a woman?
Maternity coverage is available under indemnity health plans either as an inbuilt benefit or as an optional cover. A young family or a newly married couple can opt for a health plan with maternity coverage if family planning is on the cards. However, the existing family floater policy needs to be checked. If maternity coverage is not available, it can be ported to another comprehensive health plan which offers maternity coverage.
Alternately, an independent health insurance policy can also be bought that allows maternity coverage. Some common plans that can be considered for maternity benefit are Care Joy Maternity Health Insurance Plan and Star Health Wedding Gift Plan, which are comprehensive health insurance plans with high maternity benefits.
The need for critical illness insurance
According to ICMR and the National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research, more than 8 lakh women would be afflicted with one or the other form of cancer by 2025. Breast cancer is the leading cause followed by lung cancer and mouth cancer. Cervical cancer has a vaccine, but other forms do not. Also, coverage against these dreaded illnesses is a must especially since their treatments are expensive. Thus, a critical illness plan becomes necessary.
How to avail critical illness coverage for a woman?
Women have specific needs and insurers like Bajaj Allianz issue such women-specific critical illness plans that cover 8 women-centric critical ailments at very affordable rates. Even HDFC ERGO Women Cancer Plus Plan is a specific plan for cancer protection for women, which can be availed.
As a woman is the backbone of a happy family, it is imperative to take care of their wellbeing. Their health and wellbeing cannot be ignored for the sake of the entire family’s happiness. Hence, opting for a comprehensive health plan with maternity coverage (if family planning is on the horizon) becomes important. With the rise of critical illnesses all over the world, especially the Big C, having critical illness coverage has become non-negotiable and is hence required too!
The author is Co-Founder at Turtlemint
DISCLAIMER: Views expressed are the author's own. Outlook Money does not necessarily subscribe to them. Outlook Money shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.