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Buying Health Insurance with a Pre-Existing Illness

Health Insurance with a Pre-Existing Illness

A health insurance policy is an essential financial product that each of us needs to have. Apart from allowing us to freely access the best in medical care, a good health policy also carries tax benefits.

Yet, many wait to purchase health insurance only when they reach middle age. This is a huge mistake. By then, you run the risk of developing an illness that can affect your coverage.

Waiting can cost you heavy

People often wrongly assume that ill health and hospitalization only strike in old age. Let’s look at Rita. Rita was suddenly diagnosed with diabetes type II in her mid-30s. Alarmed, she bought a health policy online immediately. Much to her surprise, the policy stated that she would not be covered for pre-existing illnesses up to a period of 2 years.

Rita is not alone. There are so many working professionals in India who do not see the need for health insurance in their 20s and 30s. Waiting to purchase a health policy until you are diagnosed with a medical condition can cost you the price of having to wait even more, apart from spending for your illness out of pocket in the meantime.

Health insurance policies require that the insured person waits for a certain period before being able to claim expenses on a pre-existing illness. Pre-existing conditions usually include diabetes, hypertension, psoriasis, fistula, tonsil surgery, varicose veins and ulcers, and medical history of head trauma, kidney stone operation, or heart attack, among others. Any health complication arising from these would necessitate that the applicant waits for a certain period before claiming coverage. This wait can range anywhere between 2 to 4 years. During this time, you may incur heavy medical bills that were really avoidable with a health insurance plan.

Non-disclosure is not advisable

It is important to note that non-disclosure of pre-existing medical conditions can lead to the insurance company rejecting the claim when it is filed. So, it is always advisable to be upfront about your medical history when applying for health insurance.

Moreover, each insurance company has its own terms and conditions. Disclosing pre-existing conditions at the start will see the insurance company discuss their list of exclusions with regards to covering these illnesses. For instance, some insurance companies only take the medical history of the past few months into consideration whereas others consider a lifetime of medical records for pre-existing illnesses.

Premium loading can help you

If you have a pre-existing illness, there is one way by which you may skip the waiting period before making a claim. This is by means of ‘premium loading.’ Premium loading would increase your insurance premium amount considerably. Yet, it is advisable to opt for premium loading should you be expecting any health complications in the near future that might see you run up substantial hospitalization bills.

Different insurance companies have their own policies when it comes to premium loading. Some may even have a waiting period added to the premium loading. As a quick tip, do consider opting for health insurance add ons that can also help in reducing the waiting period for pre-existing illnesses. Research well and choose the policy and premium best suited to your health.


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