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Even the healthiest of individuals can fall sick without warning and require expensive medical treatments. In such a scenario, being financially unprepared to tackle the costs of the necessary medical procedures is not an option. This is where comprehensive health insurance plans come into play, to ensure the financial comfort of your family and you. Here is an in-depth look at this handy financial tool that has helped many individuals heave a sigh of relief in their hour of need.

What are Health Insurance Plans?

Health insurance plans reimburse insured customers for their medical expenses, including treatments, surgeries, hospitalisation and the like which arise from injuries/illnesses, or directly pay out a certain pre-determined sum to the customer. A health insurance policy offers coverage for any future medical expenses of the customer.

This is an agreement between the insurance company and the customer where the former agrees to guarantee payment/compensation for medical costs if the latter is injured/ill in the future, leading to hospitalisation. In most cases, insurance companies have tie-ups with a network of hospitals, thereby ensuring cashless treatment for patients there.

What is the need for health insurance?

Here is why you need health insurance:

  • Health insurance pays for future illnesses/medical treatments without depleting your savings or negatively impacting your family’s financial future
  • Medical costs are increasing rapidly and for those with insufficient savings, affording medical care becomes a problem during emergencies
  • Cashless treatment is possible within network hospitals, while reimbursements are given by insurance companies in other cases
  • Health insurance plans offer coverage for several types of ailments and surgeries, along with other aspects of medical treatment
  • Health insurance keeps you and your family worry free; you only have to pay a small premium for the same
  • In many cases, you also get coverage for hospitalisation costs, ambulance costs, consultations, medicines, tests and post-hospitalisation expenditure

Source: India Healthcare Tourism (

What are the kinds of health insurance plans available?

There are several kinds of health insurance plans. Here are the main ones:

  • Individual plans - These are basic health insurance plans, covering the hospitalisation costs of the person insured
  • Family plans - These are health insurance plans where all family members can be included in a single coverage model. In this case, a fixed sum assured is provided for any family member who falls ill
  • Senior citizen plans - These are special insurance policies designed to meet the needs of senior citizens who are above 60 years of age
  • Critical illness insurance plans - These plans cover specific critical illnesses such as kidney ailments, heart attacks and so on. Cancer insurance and other plans included in this section as well.
  • Personal accident insurance - These plans offer coverage for hospitalisation in case of any motor accident
  • Maternity plans - These policies offer coverage for pre and postnatal medical care and delivery expenditure. They also offer coverage for the new-born for a certain duration along with ambulance costs
  • Unit-linked health insurance plans - These plans offer health insurance coverage while also helping build savings to meet those costs which do not have coverage under the policy. These are insurance-cum-investment plans that help you accumulate corpus

How to choose the right kind of Health Insurance for yourself?

  • Right coverage
    Make sure your health plan covers a wide range of medical problems and can help you avail of various pre and post-hospitalisation benefits. If the health insurance you have bought is for your family, it is necessary to make sure that it covers the needs of all the family members
  • Suits your budget
    As much as it is important that the health plan meets your needs, it is equally important that it also suits your budget. As your income increases, and the size of your family as well as requirements change over time, the plan can further be reviewed accordingly
  • Individual plans or family plans
    According to your status, select an individual or family health plan. If you have a family who needs your support, opt for a family health plan so as to reap maximum benefits at a comparatively low cost
  • Lifetime renewability
    It is important to know the term for which the policy would cover you. After all, one is more likely to require medical facilities at a later stage in life, as we approach old age. Therefore, a plan which offers lifetime renewability would be more beneficial
  • Preferred hospital coverage
    It is always better to choose an insurance provider that has a wide network of hospitals included in its list. One should also check if the hospitals one prefers are included in the list or not
  • High claim settlement ratio
    It is advisable to choose an insurance provider with a higher claim settlement ratio. The claim settlement ratio is the number of claims settled by the insurance provider over the total number of claims received

Key Benefits of Health Insurance Plans

There are several benefits offered by health insurance plans, including the following:

  • Coverage for pre and post hospitalisation expenses- Insurance policies usually offer coverage for expenses both before and after hospitalisation up to pre-specified durations/limits
  • Cashless facility- If you are getting treated at a network hospital, you can get hassle-free cashless treatment under your insurance plan
  • Ambulance and transportation costs- Ambulance charges and other transportation costs of the person insured are also covered under health insurance policies
  • No-Claim Bonuses- These bonuses are earned by the person insured if no claims are filed for treatments in a particular year
  • Room rent coverage-Room expenses are also covered by insurance policies and this is dependent on the premium paid by the customer
  • Medical check-ups- Insurance policies also offer coverage for periodic health check-ups. Some companies even offer free check-ups on the basis of earlier no-claim bonuses
  • Tax benefits- You can get a deduction of up to `25,000 from taxable income of health insurance premiums paid under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act. The maximum deduction limit for senior citizens is `50,000.

Fixed Benefit Health Insurance Plans

Fixed benefit health insurance plans like ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect plan pay out a certain amount/sum upon the occurrence of any particular pre-specified event that is covered by the policy. For instance, a critical illness plan will involve the payout of a guaranteed/assured lump sum upon diagnosis of any critical illness covered under the health insurance policy.

Why should you buy Fixed Benefit Health Insurance plans?

  • Lumpsum Payout- Fixed benefit health insurance plans pay out a lumpsum amount upon diagnosis of any disease/ailment covered under the same. This helps you take care of treatment and other costs right from the outset without financial worries. Payouts are made irrespective of the cost of treatment
  • No Worries of Sub Limits- Many health insurance plans come with sublimits in terms of room rent, hospitalisation expenses and so on. With fixed benefit health insurance plans, you receive a lump sum payout upon diagnosis of a particular illness without bothering about sublimits and so on
  • No Hospital Bills Required- Unlike other health insurance plans, fixed benefit health insurance plans pay upon diagnosis of the illness without the hassle of submitting hospital bills
  • Get treated anywhere in the world- Since you get a lump sum payout upon diagnosis, you need not be admitted to a network hospital for cashless treatment. You can opt for treatment anywhere in the world as per your own preferences and convenience
  • Affordable and fixed premiums- You can get higher coverage for premiums that are affordable. Premium amounts also remain fixed for the entire duration of the policy
  • Tax Benefits- You can avail of tax benefits under Section 80D of the IT Act on the premiums you pay on these policies. Maximum amount of deduction from taxable income is `25,000 for you and your family (children and spouse) if you are less than 60 years old. If you are all more than 60 years old, the maximum deduction can increase to `50,000. The same is applicable for premiums that you pay for your parents, i.e. a maximum deduction of `25,000 if they are below 60 years of age and `50,000 if they are above 60 years of age

Does your Health Insurance cover COVID-19 claims?

With the COVID-19 pandemic being the biggest medical concern of the world right now, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has made it mandatory that all health insurance products must cover the treatment and hospitalisation cost of COVID-19 as well. If the insured person has been hospitalised for more than 24 hours after being diagnosed with COVID-19, the insurance policy will cover the hospitalisation costs. There are also several insurance schemes that will cover pre and post-hospitalisation care as well as quarantine related expenses in registered centres. Some policies may also include ICU charges. These are all subject to the terms and conditions of the policy and it is therefore advisable that one contacts the insurance company to gain further clarification on all the expenses covered.

Why should you buy Health Insurance online?

  • No Fraud
    All insurance companies have made all the information available online. One can easily compile the same under one platform. It is always better that the policyholder selects and compares all the plans so that they can select the one that best suits their needs
  • Cost-Efficient
    Online health insurance plans are more cost-efficient than offline ones. This is because of the no-involvement of agents and the policyholder can directly connect with the insurance company to buy the insurance
  • Flexibility
    Online channels offer more flexibility to policyholders than offline channels, when it comes to buying insurance plans. Sitting in the comfort of our homes, one can compare and select different policies that suit one’s needs

Why are many of the policyholders underinsured?

  • Many policyholders buy insurance to save taxes. The purpose of insurance is security during unforeseen circumstances- not to save tax, it is just an ancillary benefit
  • The market is filled with a variety of insurance products. However, different products suit different people and if research is not done properly, people usually end up buying policies with higher premiums and inadequate covers

Why Buy a Health Insurance Plan at an Early Age?

  • One can avail of lower premiums as the premium amount is usually determined on the basis of the current age and health status of the policyholder, by insurance providers
  • One can enjoy tax* benefits for a longer duration. One can claim the premium deducted from the income under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961
  • Insurance providers exclude pre-existing conditions. As you grow older, you are more likely to have such conditions and if you buy a policy then, it won’t cover them
  • As a young person, there are lesser health problems at the onset. This reduces the chances of the health insurance policy getting rejected
  • Along with better coverage, buying insurance at a young age helps in better financial planning. If the health aspect is taken care of, one can think of making other financial investments as well
  • We are trapped into sedentary lifestyles from a very young age, which lay the foundation of many critical illnesses. In such times, it becomes more important than ever to have a health insurance policy to keep one covered

Optional Add-ons in Health Insurance

  • Maternity cover add-on
    This optional add-on will cover expenses during childbirth. It is mostly for pre and post-delivery expenses
  • Critical illness add-on
    This optional add-on covers the cost of selected critical illnesses with the sum assured paid by the insurance company
  • Accidental disability add-on
    This optional add-on helps the policyholder in case of an accident and the amount paid depends on the sum assured (totally or partially) for the optional add-on. However, the amount that would be paid would depend on the severity of the injury
  • Room rent waiver
    The room rent waiver helps the policyholder select the room of their own choice without paying the payment of extra money
  • Hospital cash add-on
    If the policyholder has been hospitalized, this optional add-on provides them with the cash amount for all the days of hospitalisation

Factors affecting your Health Insurance Premium

  • Pre-existing medical conditions
    Some policies do and some policies do not cover pre-existing conditions. Therefore, policyholders need to disclose their accurate medical records at the time of purchase to avoid further disparity
  • A family medical history of critical illnesses can cause the rate of premium to be higher
  • The younger the person, the lesser chance of pre-existing medical treatments. Policy premiums therefore keep increasing with age
  • If a person has a high BMI, they have a higher possibility to contract heart diseases, diabetes and so on. This can again lead to a higher premium
  • If a person is a substance user of drugs, tobacco or alcohol, it can severely affect their wellness and cause a lot of health issues. The premium again tends to be higher during such circumstances
  • If a person works in a dangerous environment or a risky profession, they are more likely to land in unfortunate circumstances. Therefore, the premiums for such persons tend to be higher
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Fixed Benefit Health Insurance Plans Online in India by ICICI Prulife that are Worth Checking Out

ICICI Prulife Heart/Cancer Protect
Coverage against heart ailment and Cancer.
Claim amount paid out upon first diagnosis of any of the listed minor/ major conditions irrespective of actual costs of medical treatment.
High coverage amount for a comparatively lower premium, i.e. ₹. 20 lakhs coverage at ₹. 387 per month1.
5% discount on the first-year premium when you buy health cover for yourself and spouse2.
Waiver of premium in case of minor claim or on diagnosis of permanent disability due to accident.
A 10% increase in sum assured if it is a no claim policy year (Available with Increasing cover benefit (Optional).)
1% of sum assured paid out as additional income for five years after a major condition. This is over and above the lump sum payable. (Available with Income benefit (Optional))
25% of lump sum payout in case of minor condition diagnosis and 100% payout in case of major condition diagnosis post deduction of any previous payouts on minor claims if applicable.

As can be seen, health insurance is a basic need that cannot be ignored. Assess your current financial situation and future needs to choose the best policy for yourself and your family now!

Important documents to get your Health Insurance claim amount easily


⭐ How much does health insurance cost for an individual?

Health insurance costs are a function of your age, coverage amount and health status. For instance, if your age is 20 years, the health insurance cost in the form of a premium will be lower than that of somebody who is 50 years of age. For instance, a 20-year-old Male buying ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect plan will pay a premium of ₹ 119 per month (including taxes) for a ₹ 20 lakh cover3 for 20 years. But a 50-year-old Male for the same cover and duration will shell out ₹ 1652 per month (including taxes). Do note that the premium cost goes up if you are a smoker since they are prone to more health risks. A 20-year-old male who smokes will pay ₹ 132 per month for ₹ 20 lakh cover for 20 years as premium, about 11% more than a non-smoker.

⭐ What are the things to look for while choosing a health insurance plan?

The best health insurance policy depends on your specific needs. There are a few important factors that one must look at while choosing a health insurance plan-
i) Payout mechanism - Whether payout happens on diagnosis, or on actual hospitalization
ii) Claim Process - Claim process should be simple, fast and efficient involving minimum discomfort to policyholder/family
iii) Waiting Period - The best plans will have minimal waiting period before you can claim for a pre-existing cover
iv) Adequate cover - With health costs on the rise, the best health plans will give maximum cover at an affordable cost
v) Pre/post hospitalization benefit - Some health plans have limits related for pre and post hospitalization expenses and so you must be aware of them before buying.

⭐ Does health insurance provide tax benefits?

Yes, paying a health insurance premium every year can lower your annual tax liability. Health insurance premium paid can be used to claim deduction under Section 80D^. An individual can claim a deduction of up to `25,000 for the insurance of self, spouse, and dependent children. An additional deduction for the insurance of parents is available. This is to the extent of `25,000, if the parents are less than 60 years of age. The additional deduction can be up to `50,000 if the parents are aged above 60.

⭐ Do health insurance plans cover diagnostic charges like X-ray, MRI or ultrasound?

Yes, the health insurance cover usually pays for them as long as the patient is hospitalized for at least 24 hours and such tests have been prescribed. Such tests done out-patients are not always covered, unless specified in the policy#. Please read your health insurance policy document to find out. In ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect plan, you get upfront payment for covered ailments, which means you can use them to pay for X-ray, MRI, Ultrasound, nurse and therapy related charges/tests pre and post hospitalization at your own choice.

⭐ What are the documents required for buying a health insurance plan?

Generally, the following documents are required to buy health insurance
i) Age proof
ii) Identity proof
iii) Address proof
iv) Some plans may require medical check-up reports, usually for people above the age of 45
v) Passport size photo

⭐ What is the right age to get health insurance?

The earlier you get health insurance, the lower is your premium amount. If you wait to buy a health insurance policy at later stages of life, you might be deprived of immediate coverage due to the waiting period$. So, it is better to buy health insurance as soon as you meet the minimum entry age requirements for the policy.

⭐ Is medical test mandatory to purchase a health insurance policy?

Many health insurance plans issue policies without medical tests, depending on the age and medical history of the applicant. However, if your age is above the minimum age limit set by the insurer, then you will have to go through a medical test.

⭐ Is there any difference between health insurance and a mediclaim policy?

Mediclaim is a type of health insurance plan that takes care of the policy-holder’s healthcare expenses in case he/she gets hospitalized due to an illness or an accident. These policies cover the policyholder for a defined time period and up to a predetermined limit known as the ‘sum assured’. These policies need to be renewed regularly to continue enjoying the benefits.

⭐ How do I estimate the cost of health insurance?

You can calculate the premium for ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect plan using this calculator.

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1 The premium rate is of ₹ 10 lakh Cancer cover and ₹ 10 Lakh Heart cover for 35 year healthy male for policy term of 20 years and inclusive of tax.

2 A discount of 5% on the first year’s premium will be offered on purchase of ICICI Pru Heart / Cancer Protect when life assured and his/ her spouse is covered under the same policy. The policy benefits of both the Lives Assured shall be independent of each other. The Sums Assured of both the lives could be different. A claim made by one Life Assured under the policy does not affect benefits of other Life Assured. This Family benefit has to be chosen at the inception of the policy only, spouse cannot be added once the policy is issued. This discount is not applicable on Single Pay Policy. With one policy, you can avail either Family Benefit or Loyalty Benefit.

3 ₹ 20 lakh cover mentioned here consist of ₹ 10 Lakh Cancer cover and ₹ 10 Lakh Heart cover of ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect plan.

^ Tax benefits under the policy are subject to conditions under Section 80D and other provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Goods and Services Tax and Cesses, if any, will be charged extra as per prevailing rates. Tax laws are subject to amendments made thereto from time to time. Please consult your tax advisor for details, before acting on above.

$ A waiting period is the amount of time an insured must wait before some or all of their coverage comes into effect. The insured may not receive benefits for claims filed during the waiting period. Source:

# Source -

ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect UIN - 105N154V03