Only when one is about to get to the golden age, realization strikes, like it struck us. Realization may be in the form of how little time is left for retirement, has one saved enough, how can one make ones savings grow, is there a way one can continue to earn after retirement, does one have enough insurance so that the family members do not face difficulties regarding hospitalization expenses or perhaps later, once we are not there! It is also a fact that it is more expensive to buy Senior Citizens insurance in India. While the interpretation of the term Senior Citizens may change from country to country or even from organizations to organizations within a country, 60-65 years old or more is often the most popular definition.
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Irrespective of whatever may be the definition, the fact is that the general populace is more active at this age than ever before. Our own experience is that most of our senior friends and relatives are actively travelling and like to take a vacation or two every year. I know of a senior doctor who still travels across the world for leisure or to attend medical conferences, across the world and he is in his eighties!
While active life is a fact , it is also true that this is the age which is most vulnerable in terms of health and needs some form of insurance or the other to hedge against unfortunate events.
We once wrote about the Importance of Insurance for Travellers, in these pages. That was a generic article applicable for all travellers and to an extent non-travellers. However when it comes to Insurance for senior citizens, things change and start to become a bit more complex.
Insurance may be broadly categorised into general insurance (also called non-life insurance) and life insurance. Let us see how it impacts the seniors for general insurance. Life insurance is another cup of tea and as such deserves another post. 🙂
All types of risk management via insurance, that is not covered under life insurance is covered under General Insurance. The premium (or the price) needs to be paid every year. We will look at some of them which may have different insurance terms depending on the age of the insured.
Travel Insurance for Senior Citizens in India
I can never tire of expounding the benefits of a travel insurance for senior citizens, when travelling out of your home country. We have always bought travel insurance, whether iit was just a 3-day or a 4-months trip abroad. We have been lucky that we have never had to use the insurance so far. However the benefits far outweigh the premium amounts which are a mere few thousand rupees.
Very recently I stayed at a hostel Jaipur. While I was checking in I saw this young man suffering from high fever, curled up in one of the sofas and his girlfriend was in distress. She said to the hostel manager that the previous night they had visited an upscale hospital and they said it could be dengue and needed hospitalization. Unfortunately they did not have a travel insurance at all , the cost estimate was too high and decided to return to the hostel. The fever would not subside. The Manager called up a few people and arranged for him to be taken to a good government hospital which was not so expensive. I don’t know what happened after that.
Seeing this episode unfold in front of my eyes, my resolve, to buy travel insurance, further strengthened. In the same breath I also pray that we should never have to use one. 😊. You know a medical emergency is always a pain…Of course, some countries insist on travel insurance as a prerequisite for issuance of visa. (which I say is a good thing).
Travel Insurance for Senior citizens may have some points that needs to be understood. . The premium amount, for one, increases a bit disproportionately, than that for a youth. However I maintain , it is still worthwhile, when you compare it with other travel expenses. Another point of consideration is , if there is an existing medical condition, then it is best to discuss it with the insurance provider upfront.
Many companies offer special packages for senior citizens , including dental treatment, emergency medical expenses, home insurance against burglary etc.
Health Insurance for Senior Citizens in India
The second most important health related insurance for senior citizens is the health insurance. A general health insurance or a mediclaim policy, covers the insured, against medical exigencies in his home country (it is in contrast to the earlier travel insurance). India, unfortunately does not have a healthcare for all its citizens.
It is also important to understand that the entry age may be restricted. All the more reason for us to look at specialized health insurance for senior citizens.
Again pre-existing medical conditions must be discussed with the insurance provider. In most cases involving senior citizens, the insurance company would conduct a thorough health check-up before agreeing to give a policy. It is better that way so that at the time of claims, if any, there are fewer hurdles.
I, for one, did not have a medical insurance till one of my relatives, a senior citizen in his 80s , who also did not have an insurance , fell down and broke a hip. The hospital bills rose like a mercury on a hot day. Believe it or not , within 30 days I had my own medical insurance, double quick. Hahaha.
Things to consider before buying an insurance and discuss in detail with the provider.
- Estimate the sum insured as the premium is proportional, or sometimes disproportionately higher.
- Choose a policy that lasts a lifetime , as long as you renew it every year.
- Cover for pre-existing conditions and critical illnesses. Also get an idea of what is covered and what is not.
- There may be many day long procedures that may not require hospitalization.
- Get an idea of waiting for various illnesses. The lesser the better.
- Get the list of hospitals covered under the insurance. Make sure there are a few close to your home.
- Sometimes buying an insurance as a couple might be worthwhile. Discuss it.
It is better now than never. For health insurance, where there are waiting periods to contend with, this phrase is even more important.
These and other insurances takes the stress out of living and leaves the seniors a lot of time to enjoy their golden age.
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