As per the Ministry of External Affairs, 32 Million Indians have moved abroad for work, and every year another 2.5 Million Indians migrate - making Indians largest migrants across the world. And as per a global survey, 82% of Indians abroad are willing to move to India, if a suitable opportunity arises.
Many Indians who have moved abroad for higher education or work, plan to come back to their motherland -
Once they have generated enough wealth, or
To spend their post-retirement life
A question many NRIs ask is - whether they should buy health insurance while they are working abroad, or buy it once they are back home?
Well, let’s find out!
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Benefits Of Buying Health Insurance In India, While You’re Still Abroad -
Buy Cover At A Cheaper Price
The cost of health insurance in India is relatively cheaper, compared to a few countries such as the USA or the UK. The cost of medical treatments in those countries is high, resulting in high health insurance premiums.Compare the prices and benefits offered by the plans available in the country you’re currently residing in - with that of the plans available in India - before making a decision.
Waiting Period Will Be Completed Before You Come To India
When you buy a health insurance plan, you need to wait for a specified time span before you can begin availing its benefits. You cannot make a claim for specific diseases - including pre-existing diseases - till the waiting period is over. Buying a policy while you are still outside the country will ensure that associated waiting periods for diseases are completed beforehand, and one has a full cover.
For example, if your NRI family has a history of diabetes, it might be a wise decision to buy the insurance before moving to India. Certain pre-existing ailments, such as diabetes and cardiac ailments, are not covered by insurance for the first 2-4 years - depending from product to product.
Pre-Book A Good Cover While You Are Young
Ageing can bring about serious health issues. In case you want to settle down in India after retirement, you wouldn’t only be older but there are also chances you would have developed a critical illness. And so, it might get difficult for you to buy a policy because of age and health constraints.
Hence, investing in health insurance while you are still young, healthy, and earning a fortune abroad, is like pre-booking a good cover for a better future.
Avail Tax Deductions
Under section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961, you can get tax benefits on the premiums you pay for a health insurance policy purchased in India - up to specific limits.
Please note: These benefits can be availed only if you’re filing your tax returns in India.
How Can NRIs Apply For Health Insurance In India?
The application process for purchasing NRI insurance can vary from one insurer to another, but here's an overview -
Get in touch with your insurer via website/app/call/email.
Fulfil their criteria by submitting the requisite documents, such as - Passport number, Permanent Account Number (PAN) details, etc. You may also have to fill an NRI questionnaire, or any other documents required based on prevailing regulation.
Choose a plan that suits your needs.
Undergo medical tests and screenings required by the insurer. You may be required to get tests done in your country and send the reports to the insurer in India.
Pay the applicable premium.
Once you receive the policy, verify the details, and get them rectified, if there’s an issue.
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Important Points For NRIs Planning To Buy Health Insurance In India
It is important to verify and understand the exact benefits and coverage before buying the plan.
Health Insurance In India Comes With Geographical Limitations
It will only cover expenses of medical treatments availed in India. If you are moving out of the country for a short duration, you can maintain the policy while being abroad. But if you choose to stay out of India for a longer period, it wouldn’t make sense to keep the plan active.
For instance, Rohini is an NRI residing in the UAE. A year ago, she visited India on a vacation and bought a health insurance plan to protect herself financially. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with acute type 1 diabetes and had to be hospitalised in Dubai for a few days. The costs were not covered by the health insurance she had bought in India because they were incurred outside the policy’s geographical limits.
If You Are Offered A Student Or Employer Health Cover In Your Respective College/Office Abroad
Continue with these plans and buy a health insurance policy in India. This way, you can have health insurance coverage in the country you’re residing in, and also have a cover to protect yourself financially while visiting India.
The world has become a global village, a well-knit melting pot of languages, cultures, and dreams. No matter where you are, you can stay protected financially, and connected to your roots. So after you have built a career outside and spent a long time away from home, India will await you with open arms and great health insurance schemes!