Medical insurance is a form of financial protection that hedges you from unexpected costs derived from healthcare. It helps alleviate the financial burden associated with paying medical bills using your hard-earned money, and has also been known to allow policyholders access to cutting-edge treatments that would otherwise have been unaffordable.
So, how do you decide on the best medical plan for you? While it will ultimately depend on your needs and budget, here are six considerations to make.
1. Know your needs
Everyone has different needs, so it is important for your plan to meet your short- and long-term requirements.
A solid starting point is to consult your financial planner or insurance agent on a suitable plan that aligns with what you can commit to every month.
2. Go comparison shopping
While every medical plan offers basic protections, different insurance agencies design packages differently. As such, it’s important to carefully compare various plans, ensuring they match what you are looking for.
Pay attention to premium rates to ensure they are within your means, and also make sure you are not swayed into being overinsured, which would affect your ability to commit to the monthly premium.
3. Opt for higher annual limits
Refrain from signing up for a medical plan with a very low annual limit. While such a plan may be more affordable, it would not be practical in the long run given how inflation has led to ongoing increases in the cost of medical treatment.
While the premium of a plan with a higher annual limit will be more expensive, it is worth the long-term investment to safeguard your later years.
4. Seek out no lifetime limits, too
It’s also important to be aware of the total medical coverage you are entitled to: your medical plan will terminate automatically upon the exhaustion of the agreed-upon lifetime limit.
For example, if your plan has an annual limit of RM50,000 and a lifetime limit of RM250,000, you can only use your medical card for five years should you exhaust its annual limit every year, after which it will be terminated automatically.
You would then need to sign up for a new plan if you wish to continue being insured, which – depending on your age and any pre-existing conditions – would incur a higher premium.
Relevantly, if you have a pre-existing condition, your insurer may excludie that illness from the plan’s coverage. If you are a patient with a critical illness, your application may be entirely denied.
5. Know your hospitals
Another crucial aspect to look out for is the list of hospitals where treatment will be covered by your insurance, taking your home location into account.
If your plan does not include a comprehensive panel of hospitals, this could be a problem for those who live in areas with fewer or more widely spread-out hospitals, requiring you to travel more to seek treatment.
6. Understand your plan
Finally, before agreeing on your desired medical plan, be sure to read and understand the scope of protection, and the terms and conditions – failing which, you could face difficulty making claims.
For example, you might only be able to utilise the benefits of your coverage if you are hospitalised, and will not be able to claim for outpatient treatment or seek a payout in the event of disability.
If in doubt, always consult your insurance agent or financial professional to ensure you have the best possible coverage in the event of accidents or illnesses, without which you and your loved ones may struggle to cover the cost of treatment.