• Why you must have a hospital cash plan in addition to health insurance

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    It is no exaggeration that the rising cost of healthcare has become a major concern for ordinary citizens in the country. Health insurance policies ensure that the financial security of a person is not threatened during an unexpected medical emergency. While hospitalisation expenses remain the primary concern, most people also have issues with regard to meeting their other expenses during the time of hospitalisation. Daily hospital cash plans are designed just for that purpose.

    While regular health insurance plans are indemnity based plans, a daily hospital cash plan pays a fixed amount as benefit during every day of hospitalisation. This cash allowance can be used to take care of the miscellaneous expenses incurred by the policyholders. A hospital cash plan can be bought either as an add-on policy cover along with a mediclaim policy or as a separate cover that pays only this benefit.

    Advantages of daily hospital cash plans

    While daily hospital cash plans cannot replace the range of benefits offered by mediclaim policies, they come with their own set of benefits. Some of the key benefits of these policies can be listed as follows:

    • Non-medical expenses: During the time of hospitalisation, a patient incurs a range of other expenses in addition to routine medical expenses. For instance, a patient or his/her family must spend a lot of money on other expenses related to food, travel, comfort, etc. Since mediclaim policies have no provisions to provide coverage for non-medical expenses, the patient must pay for these expenses from his/her own hand. These non-medical expenses can be paid with the help of the cash benefit received through daily hospital cash plans.
    • Minimal documentation: Unlike mediclaim policies, daily hospital cash plans require very minimal documentation as it is not based on the reimbursement model. You have to submit proof for the number of days you were hospitalised. However, you don’t have to provide any bills on how you spent the cash benefit.
    • Ability to pay for cost overruns: Sometimes, medical bills exceed the sum insured benefit offered under a mediclaim policy. In these situations, you can use the daily hospital cash benefit to pay for these additional expenses. Since there is no restriction on how you spend your daily cash benefit, it acts as a source of extra protection for your medical insurance cover.
    • Protection of cumulative bonus: If you get hospitalised with a minor health issue that does not involve huge costs, you can simply use your daily cash cover rather than your mediclaim policy. Through this way, you can keep the cumulative bonus of your policy intact and use it only for emergency situations.

    Things to note before buying hospital cash plans

    There are plenty of benefits available with daily hospital cash plans. However, before you buy a daily hospital cash plan, you must be aware of the following things:

    • There is a specific limit on the number of days for which daily cash allowance is provided. The number of days may vary from one plan to another. The premium charges are also likely to vary based on the days of coverage. Make sure that you choose the appropriate plan that provides adequate coverage for you.
    • Most plans come with a waiting period that must be exhausted before coverage can begin. Also, insurers might require a minimum hospitalisation period before they provide benefits under this cover. For instance, there are insurers who require at least 3 days of hospitalisation in order to claim benefits under this plan.
    • There might be specific sub limits for different types of hospitalisation under this coverage. For instance, a policy might provide accidental hospitalisation benefits for 60 days and sickness hospitalisation benefits for 30 days. Also, most of the plans in the market provide higher cash allowance for ICU admission. Make sure that you read the policy document to know the sub limits specified under a cover.
    • You must know the exceptions provided under a policy hospital cash policy. For instance, many hospital cash plans available in the market do not provide coverage for maternity hospitalisation.

    Daily hospital cash plans in the market

    There are many health insurance companies that offer daily hospital cash plans for their customers. Some of the top plans available in the market can be listed as follows:

    Plan name Cash benefits offered Days of coverage
    Apollo Munich Optima Cash Rs.1,000 to Rs.3,000 (benefits doubled for ICU hospitalisation) 90 days for sickness and accidental hospitalisation
    SBI General Hospital Daily Cash Rs.500 to Rs.2,000 (benefits doubled for ICU hospitalisation) 30 days or 60 days
    Future Generali Hospicash Rs.500 to Rs.3,000 (benefits doubled for ICU hospitalisation for 10 days maximum) 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or 180 days
    Cigna TTK Hospital Cash Plan Rs.500 to Rs.5,000 60 days, 90 days, or 180 days
    Max Bupa Hospicash Rs.1,000 to Rs.4,000 (double benefit for ICU admission) Up to 45 days
    Cholamandalam Hospital Cash Lifeline Rs.1,000 to Rs.3,000 (double benefit for ICU hospitalisation)
    Bajaj Allianz Hospital Cash Daily Allowance Rs.500 to Rs.2,500 30 days or 60 days


    Similar to any fixed-benefit health insurance plan, the cash benefit received from daily hospital cash plans can be used for any purpose. The cash benefit could also be used to replace the income lost during the time of hospitalisation. Despite the range of benefits offered, it must be noted that hospital cash plans cannot act as a replacement for mediclaim policies. Most insurers place limits on the maximum benefit one can obtain through these plans. These plans are ideal to be used as supplemental covers for regular health insurance policies.

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