How NRIs Can Buy Health Insurance in India
If you are an NRI and have been wondering about buying health insurance in India, rest assured, you are not alone. With medical tourism rising each day, it is only smarter and wiser to have an insurance plan while you are visiting India. There are many health insurance companies that are now offering a variety of health plans to the NRI clients, and this gives you the advantage of choosing a plan that best suits your requirements. Consider the following factors when buying a health insurance plan:
- Duration of your stay
- Time of return
- Frequency of visiting India
- Location of family-their stay and return
Am I eligible to buy health insurance in India?
The answer is a straight Yes. However, most of the insurance companies keep the entry age at 50 years. The eligibility also comes with the condition that you fill in all the required documentation. You would need:
- Government-approved ID
- Residence proof
- NRI Questionnaire- A detailed form that is to be filled by you which includes various aspects like your visa status, date of you leaving India, duration of stay abroad, the purpose of stay, Indian bank details, full address of India and the resident country etc.
- Medical report
- Copy of Passport
- Proof of Age
- Proof of Income
- Income Tax Return documents
Apart from these, there may be other paperwork that is required by the insurance company you choose. As an NRI you need to be very careful to follow all the directions laid out by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, FEMA.
What do ‘geographical restrictions’ mean?
This is probably the most significant factor when buying insurance as an NRI. By geographical restrictions, it is implied that the insurance is valid only for treatments within India. You must check with the company if they would provide any cover abroad as well. For example, you stay in Germany and need medical treatment, your health insurance company will not cover the expenses you make there.
Can I avail of any Tax Benefits?
The premium that is paid for a medical insurance plan is free from tax deductions for NRIs as well under Section 80D. They also have the facility to claim the premium paid for their spouse, children and also parents. These are:
- For self, spouse and children - INR 25,000
- For parents above 60 years of age - INR 50,000
- For parents under 60 years of age - INR 25,000
If the taxpayer and his parents are above 60 years of age, the maximum deduction extends to INR 1 lakh.
How do I pay my health insurance premium?
If you are buying health insurance online, the premium payment can also be done in a similar way. You can easily monitor the premiums via banks in India. The payments can be made through a Non-resident ordinary account or also through NRE/Foreign Currency Non-Repatriable (FCNR) account.
I plan to move back to India soon, do I still buy health insurance?
If you are temporarily residing in a foreign country or planning to go abroad for two to three years only, it is recommended that you buy health insurance here in India. Do not consider it to be an extra expense, because of pre-existing illnesses as it has a two to a four-year waiting period. Buying an insurance plan becomes all the more essential if you plan to leave your family behind. Family floater health insurance plans for parents or spouse and kids can come in very handy in case of a medical emergency.
However, if you plan to spend more than 4-5 years abroad and also plan to move your family there, then, rather than buying a medical policy for a family in India, it is better that you buy a policy in the country that you are residing in.
I visit India often; do I need to buy health insurance?
If you are a regular traveller to India, then it makes all the more sense to invest in a health insurance policy here, which can prove to be very cost-effective in case of hospitalisation. As compared to many other countries, the cost of treatment in India is much less. Many NRIs, merchant navy personnel, pilots invest in health plans in India.
Which are the top 5 health insurance plans that I can choose from?
Many health insurance companies offer plans for their NRI customers. Let us take a quick look at the top health insurance plans that are popular among NRIs.
- Star Health and Allied Insurance- NRI All Care
- LIC Health Insurance
- HDFC ERGO Health Insurance for individuals/ family/parents
- ICICI Lombard Health Insurance
- Care Health
- Max Bupa
Whenever you buy health insurance, you don't just secure your finances but also get a lot of peace of mind. Seeking treatment in your own country can become easier, cheaper and worry-free. Invest in a good health insurance plan today.