Healthcare costs in India compare favorably with other markets. But NRIs should also check out terms and conditions on pre-existing diseases and more. Image Credit: Shutterstock

NRIs often confront a crucial question: which is the better choice for fulfilling their healthcare needs? Health insurance in their current country of residence or India?

If you find yourself contemplating the purchase of health insurance from your homeland, India has compelling advantages that merit consideration. The most important is that it serves as a steadfast fall-back option during unexpected medical crises, offering financial stability and guaranteed medical treatment.

Customisable plans

Though health insurance is more of a necessity than a choice, cost does play a considerable factor in selecting the plan. If you are looking for a health insurance plan at an affordable price without compromising on coverage, purchasing it from India should certainly be preferred.

To explain, a heart bypass surgery in the UAE could tally up to approximately $13,000, while in the US, it could surge to about $123,000, in stark contrast to the $5,500 cost in India.

Not just the healthcare cost, the insurance premium also comes to be cheaper in India.

Continuity of coverage

NRIs who often visit India can benefit from securing health insurance directly from the country. This ensures consistent healthcare coverage during every visit over the policy's duration. If they ever decide to settle back in India, they already have medical and financial protection without worrying about the premiums, which increase with age.

Also, lifelong renewability in health insurance plans in India is a distinct feature for NRIs looking for long-term benefits at affordable cost.

Coverage of pre-existing diseases

Cancer, diabetes, hypertension and respiratory illnesses continue to be a prime healthcare concern with an increased vulnerability to pre-existing diseases (PED). Moreover, they are not age-bound anymore.

NRIs who are temporarily residing in another country should definitely consider buying a health policy from India, and that too at a younger age, to safeguard themselves from the financial burden associated with such conditions. This will not only mean a lower premium but also cover the condition under the policy.

These ailments require constant medical tests, medication, etc. Thus, to avoid the inflated medical cost, the policyholder will not be eligible to claim benefits for the specified conditions or treatments for a designated timeframe without going through the mandatory waiting period.

If the health plan hasn't been bought earlier, policyholders should go for the one with a minimum waiting period or cover the disease from Day 1.

Tax benefits

Where health insurance comes with its benefits of protecting against financial burden, it also comes with tax advantages. Under this, they may qualify for an 18 per cent GST refund, given their tax contributions in their country. However, NRI needs to be mindful that the tax benefit varies based on age, i.e., Rs25,000 applies to oneself, spouse, and children below 18 years, as well as parents below 60 years.

If anyone is over 60 years old, the deduction increases to Rs50,000.

Specially curated plans for senior citizens

For individuals residing away from their parents, ensuring their health and timely assistance is one of their crucial concerns. Therefore, by opting for an insurance plan from India, they can ensure that the parents are well protected with a health insurance policy that caters to their respective needs without financially burdening them.

People can consider specifically curated plans for senior citizens, which offer a 35% increase in affordability compared to plans purchased from the host country while delivering comprehensive coverage against the healthcare expenses of ageing parents. You can also get global coverage plans for your family living in India so that you can arrange for their treatment in your resident country if required.

Claim processing

By opting for health insurance from an insurance provider in India, NRIs can experience a streamlined claim settlement process. This allows hassle-free access to cashless facilities at any designated network hospitals if needed during their home visit. It also enhances the claim settlement process.