Health Insurance

Covering Senior Citizen parents with Office Group Medical Insurance could only be disastrous – Here’s why

Most employers in India offer Group medical insurance policies to their employees as an additional perk. While such policies offer sufficient support to employees and their families, covering your senior citizen parents with only group plans could prove to be disastrous in case of a health emergency.

In an email interaction with FE PF Desk, Vivek Chaturvedi, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Direct Sales at Digit Insurance explained why covering parents only under group policies may not be sufficient. Excerpts

Why do you think covering parents only under GMC is not sufficient?

A group medical cover (GMC) covers employees and their dependents such as the spouse and children and in certain cases, parents are also covered. The employee can choose whether they want to include their parents in the cover or not.

It is well known that medical expenses for senior citizens are comparatively higher and hence, they require a higher sum insured. Covering your parents under the employer-offered GMC plan can ensure an additional financial cushion. However, banking on a GMC policy alone is never enough. It is important to buy a retail health cover in addition to the group policy offered by your employer.

Also Read: Should I opt for health top-ups in my 40s?

GMC comes with a fixed sum insured, which can be low compared to what you would opt for under a retail health cover. Also, if you wish to switch jobs or take a sabbatical then the GMC cover would end, leaving you and your parents with no safety net. While it is true that covering your parents under GMC may not require any health check-ups, the premium itself can be quite high if you wish to add them to the policy.

Further, since the elderly are more prone to illnesses, multiple claims within the policy year could leave the other family members with little sum insured. It is, therefore, advisable to buy a separate policy for your parents in addition to what your employer is offering.

What are the pros of including parents in GMC?

Unger group medical cover, neither you nor your dependents are required to undergo a pre-medical check-up. Hence, you and your family members get covered instantly without any hassle or paperwork.

Unlike retail health insurance, most GMC policies have zero waiting period, providing instant coverage to you and your dependents since the policy’s inception.

If your parents have pre-existing health conditions such as asthma or diabetes or other illnesses that do not require serious medical attention, then they can get treated and file the claim under the GMC cover as it covers treatments for illnesses from day one.

What are the cons of having only GMC for parents?

Even though it is easy to get you and your family covered under GMC, the continuity of the same depends on your employer’s preferences. If your employer decides to lower the coverage benefits, discontinue the policy or remove the benefits including your parents in the policy, then it could affect the overall medical coverage. This makes GMC less reliable when it comes to covering you and your parent’s health insurance needs.

Health insurance: Get wellness benefits for a healthy lifestyle

In case you decide to change jobs or take a sabbatical, the GMC plan offered by your employer will end as soon as you leave the organization. This essentially means that you and your family are left on your own with no medical coverage during the transition period.

It’s important to note that most companies cover spouses and children only along with the employee. Coverage for parents, however, could come at an added cost. Instead of covering your parents under a group cover, directing the same premium towards a retail plan would work better. Having said that, if buying a retail policy is not an option due to age or health-related concerns, including them in the GMC plan is the best you can do.