Caring for the aged: How to pick a medical insurance policy for your parents

Caring for the aged: How to pick a medical insurance policy for your parents
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Families taking care of their elders can't live without a medical insurance policy. It is not easy for senior citizens to buy a medical insurance policy. Insurance companies and their agents try hard not to sell insurance policies to aged people. What they won't tell you is that senior citizens have the same rights, if not more, to buy an insurance policy.

Medical insurance policies can be bought as individual policies for 65-plus persons or including them in family floater policies. Insurance companies cannot raise any objection in renewing policies. Public sector insurers such as New India Assurance and United India Assurance sell policies for people aged up to 80 years.

Even if senior citizens are suffering from diseases, they cannot be barred from buying policies. Once a policy is bought, however, the insured has to renew it periodically without fail to ensure continued coverage against diseases. It is important to add new diseases and to be eligible for coverage under some diseases which require a waiting period before claims can be raised.

Seniors can ask for policies in which the policy holder also shares a part of the medical expenses. Once the policy has been renewed for four consecutive years without any claim, the insurer cannot reject a claim saying that the disease was pre-existing.

If you add your life partner in your policy, you can earn some discounts in the premium. Senior citizens may benefit from policies that cover out-patient treatment or home-based treatment. Though the medical cover is limited for each consultation, you should be aware of the total cap on claims in a year. Some of the policies for senior citizens also cover ambulance services and medical check-up services.

If you are looking at ways to care for your parents, you could also earmark an emergency medical fund apart from the insurance. If you are a professional working with a corporation, you may add your parents' names to the insurance policy offered by your employer.

If you want to add your parents' names to the family floater policy, the cost may go up. A better way may be to buy individual policies for the parents.

If your parents are moving from their village abode to be with you in a city, take care to change the policy accordingly. The premium may be different in metro cities, reflecting the higher cost of medical care.

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