Insurers realize that women contribute to household income,
sometimes as the sole earning member or even as a homemaker; they are pivotal
to a family and should have their own health insurance
But before buying insurance - there are some important points which need to be raised
How much cover will she require?
What should the policy cover be?
Women should look for policies which cover maternity and new born benefits, along with hospitalization for women specific illnesses. Also in case a woman quits her job it is better she has both health and critical illness cover. Bajaj Allianz offers a 2 lakh cover, for a 30 year old woman at Rs. 3,283 premium annually. A critical illness plan would cost Rs. 1,719 for the same sum assured.
Does the cover have woman specific benefits?
Along with women specific illnesses some covers include a job loss bonus along with children's education bonus - where, some insurers offer up to Rs. 25000 for education of one or more children. This helps in periods when there is a loss of income or for future education. In case of loss of income due to critical illness she is eligible for certain benefits. Voluntary retirement is generally not covered.
Does the cover have tax benefits?
For working women tax saving is a great help and according to the current tax laws premiums paid for health insurance is eligible for tax deductions under the 80D section of Income Tax Act.
Which insurer to choose?
The network of hospitals where the insurer can get treatment for the person is important, the hospitals should offer good treatment and a nearby location will be an added advantage. A cashless facility can be a real boon. The claim settlement and financial standing of the insurer should have the reputation of honoring claims.
Although, the insurance industry is yet to come up with differential premiums and product features for women, it may soon become the norm.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Suresh Sugathan, March 2013