Health insurance is the second largest contributor of non-life insurance premium in India just after motor insurance. The premium collection for health insurance has increased steadily over the past 10 years and is expected to reach a milestone of 2 trillion Indian rupees by 2030. Especially in the current wake of the corona virus pandemic and the changes in behavior it is going to instill in the population at large, the future of health insurance industry is bright for sure.
In today’s situation more and more people are looking out to purchase health insurance or increase their current cover to get adequately protected financially against any hospitalization expenses that may encounter anytime. With the increasing medical inflation day by day it seems to be a wise decision to safeguard ourselves by adhering to the guidelines and taking precautions and at the same time be ready financially by covering ourselves and our loving family members by purchasing a standard health insurance policy.
With the increasing popularity of health insurance products almost all non-life insurers and standalone health insurance companies have along with the basic indemnity product covering hospitalization started giving various benefits to lure the customer and create a product differentiation in the market.
Maternity benefit, Wellness benefits, products and membership discounts are a few of them. The customer response is also positive, with these benefits as a few of them really enhance the spirit of a health insurance policy.
In this current article we will discuss about the maternity benefit as a part of health insurance policy. Although most of the employer provided health insurance covers maternity benefit as part of base insurance, there is generally a sublimit after which the costs are to be borned from the pocket of the employee. This maternity cover is quite important especially for newly married couples who are planning start their bigger family and want to get covered for the hospitalization and other maternity costs which are quite high these a days.
Maternity cover in insurance policy is a benefit which generally comes with a waiting period in most of the health products. Waiting period in an insurance policy is like a time excess which is a specified period that must pass before the insured can claim under an insurance policy or avail its benefits. If the claim arises in the waiting period that is under any case it will not be admissible and entertained by the insurance company.
There are few different types of waiting periods applicable under a health insurance policy like preexisting diseases waiting period, ailment specific waiting period, initial waiting period and maternity waiting period. Preexisting waiting period and ailment specific waiting period are basically an underwriting loss control measure which is to restrict the claim emerging from the diseases and conditions that the insured may already have at the time of enrollment under the policy.
There may also be an initial waiting period which can apply to any sort of claim applicable to medical insurance. Maternity waiting period applies to maternity claims. The waiting periods applicable under the policy may vary from a few days to a few months and in some cases a few years, depending upon the construct of the insurance product.
Some young generation millennials don’t pay much importance to the protection of insurance coverage at their early ages when they get their first salary and have other dreams like latest gadgets, cars and bikes on their priority list. And when they start their new family by getting married and about to deliver their younger generation they have no health insurance and thus no full maternity coverage.
They thus need some maternity coverage in their health insurance policy which has either no waiting period or a very less one. Although it is not very easy to find a health insurance products which is that much focused on maternity coverage that it has no waiting period for the same, insurers understanding this demand has filed and offer health insurance products in Indian market with maternity coverage and relatively lesser waiting period.
These policies are obviously expensive than a simple vanilla product which has larger waiting periods applicable. As maternity is not actually a risk and is almost inevitable for a newly married couple, the costs of these products at a higher range. We discuss some of such products below.
Care Insurance (formerly Religare health insurance) has come up with a maternity focused health insurance policy with a waiting period as low as 9 months. Manipal Cigna pro health plus plan has maternity waiting periods from 24 to 48 months.
Employer provided group health insurance plans will generally have no waiting periods and the employee can avail the maternity benefit even after a few days of him joining the company. This is beneficial for people who have no additional health insurance and due to no applicability of maternity waiting period can avail the benefit of the same without any worry.
It is required that a bit of research is done at the customer’s end in terms of various health insurance products available in the market to zero in to a health insurance product which provides adequate time so that he can plan his family and do a proper cost benefit analysis in terms of premium shell out and maternity costs incurred before concluding the purchase decision. This will help him to take an informed and calculated decision for the management of maternity hospitalization and other related expenses.