Health insurance is not something you can ignore, even for one single day. This is why you always need to be covered under a health insurance policy.
If you are employed, then in all probability, you are covered under a group health cover provided by your employer. While this is a wonderful employment benefit, you also need to understand that it is not enough. This is why you also need a personal health plan, over and above the employer-provided health cover.
Here are some reasons why you need independent health insurance even if you are covered under a company’s group health plan:
- The Coverage is not Flexible - The biggest problem here is that you cannot customise the health coverage your employer offers. Because health insurance needs are person-specific. You need to find a plan that covers your specific requirements. A group health plan offers a common set of covers to all the members of the organisation. This makes it difficult for you to provide your family members and yourself the specific health covers that are crucially needed.
- Ends as Soon as You Stop Working - Whether you retire, resign, get fired or lose employment for any other reason, your group health coverage will end too. The health cover will cease overnight and you will be left without the protection of medical insurance. This is very dangerous as health problems can strike at any time. If you have a personal mediclaim policy as well, you can rely on it till you find another job and get the next group health cover.
- No Lifelong Renewability - Since the employer-provided health cover is only available till you are employed, it ends when you retire. There is absolutely no scope for you to get it personally renewed. An independently purchased health plan, on the other hand, can be renewed for as long as you live. Also, you are not the owner of the plan - your employer is. So, you do not get to negotiate with the health insurance company and ask for an extension or any other such benefit after you stop being an employee of the company.
- Finding Health Insurance, Later on, is Challenging - When you retire, you are 60 years of age, or perhaps even more. At that stage in life, you may not find health insurance easily. Even if you find a suitable plan, it will be expensive. You will also have to undergo many health tests which can be physically exhausting. It is much easier to find health insurance coverage when you are younger and fitter. Often, buying at a later stage comes with certain restrictions and upper cap on the treatment costs. So rather than waiting for your retirement, buy a good health plan today independently even if you have an employer’s health policy. The plan on which you can rely and renew for as long as you wish to.
- Coverage is Lost if the Company Fails - If for some reason your employer cannot pay the premium due to poor financial condition of the company or has a fall out with the insurance provider, it would lead to termination of the group health insurance deal. In this case, you and your colleagues will end up losing the health cover. Your employer may provide you with a new plan, but that may take time. If in the meanwhile a medical emergency strikes, you will find yourself in deep trouble. Stay covered against such uncertainties by buying an individual health insurance policy.
These are some drawbacks of an employer-provided health insurance plan that show that relying solely on such a cover is not the smartest thing to do.
The Bottom Line
While it is good to have a group health plan, do not forget to back it up with an individual health insurance policy as well. There is no certainty that you won't lose your job suddenly or that you will find a suitable mediclaim policy immediately after you retire. So plan ahead and do the wise thing by buying the best individual health insurance plan even when you have an employer-provided health cover.