Monday, August 15, 2011

Insurance cover for very senior citizens; IRDA examines proposal by Apollo Munich

Insurance cover for very senior citizens; IRDA examines proposal by
Apollo Munich

KOLKATA: If your parents are above 80 years it is impossible for them
to buy a fresh health insurance cover. This may change if a new plan
filed by a health insurance company and currently being examined by
the Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority (Irda) is
cleared. The policy from Apollo Munich Health Insurance is aimed at
senior citizens and places no limit on the age at which it can be

"We have recently filed a health insurance policy with the Irda that
will have no upper age for entry. Anyone can buy the cover at any age,
be it 70 years or 91 years. We hope that the policy will be cleared by
the insurance regulator by end of August and we may be able to start
selling it by beginning of September," says Antony Jacob, chief
executive officer of Apollo Munich Health Insurance.

The new plan signifies a major shift in the way senior citizens are
covered by medical insurance. Most health plans cover a person till
75-80 years. Some policies offer lifelong renewal, but this is
possible only if the cover is bought early. The Varishtha Bima Yojana
from public sector insurer National Insurance can be bought by anyone
between 60 and 80 years of age and renewals can be done up to the age
of 90.

Apollo Munich itself has a policy that covers an individual for a
lifetime, but the policy should be bought before 65. Other PSU
insurers also offer health covers to senior citizens, but there are a
host of restrictive conditions and all have an upper age of entry.

No Bar for Very Senior Citizens

Apollo Munich's new plan promises to break this ceiling, allowing even
very senior citizens (above 80) and nonagenarians to buy the cover.

The cover, however, will have a fat price tag. A Rs3-lakh cover for a
70-year-old will come at Rs19,000 a year. At 80, it will costRs32,000
a year and at 90, Rs57,000. Add the 10.3% service tax and the total
yearly cost is more than 20% of the cover. "These are tentative
figures submitted to the regulator; the final figures may change
marginally when the product is finally cleared," says Jacob. The
conditions don't end there.

There's a waiting period of one year before the plan covers all
diseases, and a long four-year wait for covering pre-existing
diseases. Also, senior citizens won't get all the facilities of a
normal cover. "There will be a co-payment clause as well as sub-limits
in the policy," Jacob clarifies.

The co-payment clause requires the buyer to shell out a percentage of
the claim (normally 20%). Under the sublimit clause, there are limits
on expenses incurred under various heads, such as room rent, doctor's
fee, nursing charges and cost of medicines. However, this applies to
all patients irrespective of age.

"There are limited options from four public sector insurers for buying
health covers for seniors, but there are no policies that allow entry
at any age or lifelong renewal. No doubt this policy will come at a
premium," says Rahul Agarwal, managing director, Optima Insurance

For Apollo Munich's existing policy that allows lifelong renewal, one
has to pay Rs16,797 a year for covering an individual between 61 and
65 years for Rs3 lakh. The premium rises to Rs21,615 for 66-70 years
and to Rs24,039 for over 70 years.

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Dr P Vyasamoorthy, 30 Gruhalakshmi Colony Secunderabad 500015 Ph
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DO your bit for Senior Citizens National Solidarity Day 16th August 2011

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