“Health has no price. The doctor has” – Ljupka Svetanova, The New Land.
Changing lifestyles and skyrocketing medical expenses have made it mandatory for everybody to buy a medical insurance policy. Without insurance coverage, you run the risk of draining your hard-earned money or borrowing at exorbitant rates to get quality medical care for yourself and your family. The matter can get life-threatening if proper medical attention is not available on time.
While choosing a good health insurance policy is necessary, it is often not sufficient to cover all your requirements. It is not enough if the health insurance policy just covers the basic hospitalization costs. There are a host of other expenses related to the treatment before and after the patient is hospitalized. These can add up to a significant amount and burn a hole in your pocket. A basic medical insurance scheme does not cover all these expenses.
What Is the Solution? How Do You Avoid Paying from Your Pocket?
You need not worry because health insurance policies have ‘riders’ that come to your rescue. A rider is a feature that provides additional benefits to the policyholder (apart from the basic coverage) in return for payment of an extra premium.
For e.g., by choosing a critical illness cover along with your mediclaim policy, you can get coverage for serious ailments like cancer, heart attack, stroke, etc., that are not covered by the basic policy. This critical illness cover is known as a rider and requires you to pay some extra premium to the insurer. A rider is important because even the best mediclaim policy does not cover 100% of these expenses.
Significance of Riders in Health Insurance:
Apart from hospitalization, there is a host of expenses related to a disease, like medicines, consultation charges, ambulance costs, diagnostics, etc. These are often not covered under the basic sum insured. A rider provides that extra layer of protection to the policyholders by covering other related costs also.
Types of Riders in Health Insurance:
Some of the important riders available along with a mediclaim policy are mentioned below:
1) Critical Illness Cover:
As discussed in the illustration above, a critical illness cover protects against the financial risk of severe ailments such as cancer, heart attack, kidney & liver failures, brain stroke, etc. A regular medical insurance plan does not cover any of these diseases. By opting for this rider, you get the insured sum upon diagnosis of the disease. This lump sum amount can be used by the policyholder for any of his expenses.
2) Personal Accident Cover:
An accident can be completely debilitating, resulting in loss of life or livelihood. A personal accident covers the risk of death and partial/full disability due to the injuries suffered in an accident. The amount received can be used for treatment, recovery, and to compensate for the loss of income due to an accident.
3) Maternity Cover:
This rider covers all the expenses related to pregnancy & childbirth. It usually has a waiting period, and prospective parents should enquire about the same before buying this cover. Even the best medical insurance policy does not cover pregnancy-related expenses, and this rider is helpful for couples planning for a child in the future.
4) Daily Cash Rider:
This rider provides a fixed amount of daily allowance for a fixed number of days spent in the hospital. This money can be used to meet medical expenses not covered by your mediclaim policy, such as the cost of medicines.
5) Room Rent Waiver Rider:
Health insurance policies generally fix a cap on the hospital room rent that will be paid by them. In case you want a better room with higher charges, the additional cost must be borne by you. Medical insurance plans can have a room rent waiver rider that helps you take a room of your choice at no additional cost.
6) Medical Consultation Cover:
This rider covers the high cost of a consultation with specialist doctors & surgeons. Some policies also cover the expenses of seeking a second opinion from medical experts abroad that may be charged in dollars or euros.
7) Diagnostic Investigation Cover:
This rider covers the cost of laboratory & pathological tests and investigation required for certain advanced diseases.
8) Preventive Health Checkup Cover:
This rider can be used to cover the cost of your annual preventive health checkups related to blood sugar tests, urine tests, ECG, lipid profile tests, etc
Major Benefits of Health Insurance Riders:
Provides a Lump sum amount: Critical illness & personal accident covers give a lump sum amount that can be used by the policyholders and their families for any need that arises
Affordable Premiums: You can avail additional benefits from the policy by paying a nominal amount over the premium
Tax Benefits Available: The premium paid on riders is also eligible for tax benefits under section 80D of the Income Tax Act
Compensation for loss of Income: A serious illness or a major accident can result in the loss of a job & income. The lump sum amount received can also be used to meet the household expenses during the period of recovery.
Financial Support to Dependants: In the event of the unfortunate death of the policyholder, the lump sum amount helps the family to settle debts, pay the school fees, etc. and meet the expenses that cannot be avoided
Waiver of Premiums: Some of the best health insurance companies offer to waive off the future premiums on a policy in case of an accident or a serious illness troubling the policyholder
Wide Array of Options: Riders can be used to customize the specific requirements of the policyholders and their families. A basic mediclaim policy may just provide a generic cover that may not be sufficient.
Nobody can undermine the importance of health insurance today. Given the rapid rise in lifestyle diseases, it is just as basic as a bank account or a phone connection. It is not a luxury but a necessity in current times as well as in the future. A rider perfectly complements a good medical insurance policy by providing you an efficient &comprehensive coverage. A combination of a mediclaim and a rider greatly relieves you of financial worries when you least need that stress!