A society that does not care about its Senior Citizens is an ingrate society.
But, alas, that is what our society is increasingly turning out to be, when it comes to providing them proper and adequate Health insurance cover.
When a Senior Citizen seeks individual health insurance cover, across board, the insurance industry’s approach is only to make him/her feel unwelcome than welcome.
The industry starts from a premise of how to avoid providing cover, and would, at best, offer minimum and most restricted covers and ‘get away with it’. The underwriting ‘prudence’, concern for bottom line and adherence to rules, norms and processes that is generally thrown to winds when providing Group Health covers for Corporates suddenly come to the fore at their sharpest best.
If you want cover for the first time, it’s a ‘No, No’, which is probably fine because the right time to get under the health insurance umbrella is when you are young and healthy. But, even if you have been having a cover and you want to increase your Sum Insured to catch up with medical inflation, it’s still ‘No way’, if, for any unfortunate reason you have missed renewing your policy in time, you are back at the ‘No, No’ gate. You have approached the insurer for your renewal well in time and are seeking renewal for just the same Sum Insured as last year – no increase or whatever, yet, you may be called upon to pay a much heftier premium than you paid last year. You are trying to tell the insurer that you have had no claims last year. So what, you were already old, and you have become a year older, right! And, how hefty would the hike be is more a function of whether the concerned officer had a hefty breaker or a feisty fight at home that morning than any scientific common-across-board norm.
Things are no different even if you have been getting your insurance done alongwith the family of your son/daughter i.e. alongwith young enough members.
In short, the message is loud and clear – You, the Senior Citizen, are unwelcome on my books and even less welcome on my premises.
Is the case any different when it comes to customized health policies offered to corporate? No indeed. The first casualty when any corporate attempts to cut corners on the premium front is the cover for parents. The impact varies and settles anywhere between the corporate completely doing away with parental cover to sizeable co-pay on parental claims.
Juxtapose this to another area that is a drain on the health insurance portfolio – maternity – and the irony hits you between the eyes. Technically, maternity is not even insurable. Afterall, insurance provides indemnity for pecuniary loss following occurrence of something unforeseen and fortuitous. Is maternity any more unforeseen or fortuitous? In today’s world, maternity is something that can be planned to the T (Or through the T, should I say). There are parents who had planned and structured maternity in such a way that the child is born exactly at the first nano-second of the new millennium!! The State, in its zest to promote the concept of healthy motherhood and healthy children, probably felt insurance is the best carrier of this social burden, but, instead of benefitting that section of the populace from whom this burden needs to be transferred and taken over, maternity cover is available only to the affording employees of corporates.. and has ended up being a retention tool than anything else. And therefore, the Sum Insured available for maternity cover only keeps going up !!!
My parents both are up there at the Lord’s feet, so, it is not the prospect of any impending personal pecuniary impact that triggers my writing this.. It is just the irony of the whole thing…
Should the grandchild be pampered and the grandparent be penalized??