• Informative Guide for NRIs Seeking Health Insurance in India

    Car Insurance
    • Premiums as low as Rs12/day for coverage of Rs.4 Lakhs*
    • 10,000+ hospitals for cashless treatment
    • Claim up to Rs. 55,000 deduction under section 80D**

    Health insurance has become an absolute necessity no matter who you live. If you are a non-resident Indian (NRI) living abroad in a foreign country, you may face a little bit of ambiguity when it comes to purchasing health insurance. The most common confusion that NRIs face is whether to purchase a health cover in the country of residence or to buy an international health insurance cover from India. There are enough choices for both these options, and it is essential to find out which one is best suitable for you.

    Global health coverage

    Global health coverage, also known as international health coverage, is not a common aspect of all health insurance policies in India. However, there are some service providers in the market that offer global health coverage on certain policies. These covers are commonly offered by international insurance companies that provide health insurance service by having tie-ups with Indian companies. Some of these companies include Bajaj Allianz, Cigna TTK, Apollo Munich, etc. The plans offered by these companies may vary in terms of cost and extent of coverage. It is worth checking out the plans offered by these service providers before you make a final decision.

    If you need international health coverage, you may check the policies offered by one of these service providers. With the rising cost of healthcare across the world, it might be a little bit costly to take health insurance covers with global health coverage. However, this is something you have to invest if you are a frequent traveller who visits foreign countries often. The cost of medical treatments vary from one country to another. In developed countries, the cost of healthcare is extremely high compared to that of India. It is highly essential to have a health insurance plan if you are visiting one of these countries. Also, it is important to make sure that your global health plan provides coverage in the specific country that you are visiting.

    Factors to consider before you buy

    If you are an NRI, you must consider the following factors before you opt for buying a health insurance policy:

    • Duration of stay: Your health insurance decision must be based on your duration of stay in the foreign country. If you are staying for a period less than one year, it is better to opt for a global health plan from India. However, if you are staying for a few years, it is better to opt for the health insurance cover in the visiting country. In developed countries, it is easy to find good health insurance plans specifically intended for students, expat workers, and travellers. You can check out the range of plans available and choose the right plan based on your requirements.
    • Cost of healthcare: The cost of healthcare in the country of visit must be one of the primary factors you must know before buying a health insurance policy. As noted, the cost varies from country to country. If you are going to the United States or some European country, it will be extremely expensive to pay for medical treatments on your own. Moreover, you may not get the necessary financial support in case of an unexpected emergency situation. Hence, it is better to have a comprehensive health cover that protects you from a massive financial liability.
    • Applicability: Before you subscribe to a specific health insurance policy cover, it is necessary to understand the terms and conditions of the specific plan. The global health coverage offered by Indian companies sometimes do not include certain countries. It is better to know whether comprehensive coverage is available for the specific country that you are visiting.
    • Extent of coverage: There are some insurers in the market that provides global coverage only for certain types of critical illnesses. They may not provide adequate coverage for ordinary hospitalisation. If you are living in a foreign country, even ordinary hospitalisations could cost you a fortune. Hence, it is worth considering the extent of coverage offered under a particular international health insurance plan before you subscribe to it.
    • Law of the visiting country: In certain countries, it is mandatory to have health insurance even if you are visiting just for a few days. For instance, health insurance coverage is mandatory is Germany. You must show proof of insurance as soon as you land in these countries. You can also buy health covers as soon as you arrive in these countries. Check the cost these insurance policies and the extent of coverage before you take a cover.
    • Coordination: In certain cases, the coordination between an Indian health insurer and a foreign health care service provider may not go smooth. Moreover, you may have issues managing the coordination along with your illness or injury. If you are staying there for a long time, it is better to opt for local health insurer of the visiting country in order to ensure smooth claim settlement.
    • Regulations under FEMA: FEMA stands for Foreign Exchange Management Act. There are certain provisions of the act that focus on health insurance coverage for NRIs. The Act allows NRIs to hold insurance policies issued by foreign companies during their stay in India. For global coverage by Indian insurers, this act allows the insured to receive the claim amount in foreign currency in their bank accounts.
    • Income tax benefit: Even the policy covers bought by NRIs are eligible for income tax benefit as per section 80D of the Income Tax Act. The deduction level can be applied as per the specified level with regard to insurance policies. If you are an NRI paying insurance premiums for your parents in India, you can claim tax benefits even on that.

    To sum up

    If you are moving to a foreign country, the health insurance plan that you have in India will not be of much help to you unless it has global health coverage benefits. Hence, it is better to make plans well in advance based on the factors mentioned above. Cost of insurance tends to be higher whether you go for global coverage from an Indian insurer or when you buy insurance in a foreign country. However, it is extremely important to have this coverage to ensure financial security against unpredictable medical emergencies. If you are uncertain about your duration of visit, you may start with an international cover from an Indian company and make additional purchase if necessary.

    *The customer reviews/feedback/opinions expressed on this website are solely of their authors and do not reflect, in any way, the view of BankBazaar Insurance.

    Display of any trademarks, tradenames, logos and other subject matters of intellectual property belong to their respective intellectual property owners. Display of such IP along with the related product information does not imply BankBazaar's partnership with the owner of the Intellectual Property or issuer/manufacturer of such products.