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Mediclaim to cost a bomb now
July, 10th 2007
The days of 'pay it-forget it-claim it' of health insurance are numbered. What lies ahead, at least with India's largest general insurance player, New India Assurance, are sweeping changes of the kind Indians aren't used to.

These include higher premiums as you grow older, or for that matter, if you live in a Zone I city like Mumbai. From July 15, if you are a Mumbaikar, you pay a higher premium than those in Delhi or Bangalore, who in turn, pay more than those in other parts of the country.

That is because New India Assurance reckons that Mumbai is the most expensive city to get hospitalised in. Delhi or Bangalore, which lie in Zone II, are cheaper, but more expensive than the rest of the country that has been classified as Zone III.

So, for a Mediclaim policy worth Rs 2 lakh, a Mumbaikar in the 5-35 years age bracket will pay an annual premium of Rs 2,595. Those in Zone II will pay Rs 2,530 and those in Zone III will pay only Rs 2,470.

But there is a caveat here. If you pay Zone I premiums, you can avail of treatment anywhere in the country and get 100% coverage. If you live in Delhi or Bangalore, however, and are admitted to a hospital in Mumbai, you will have to bear 10% of the claim while those from Zone III will have to have pay 20% of the expenses if treated in Indias commercial capital.

But that is only the beginning. Children between three months and five years will have to pay a higher premium than those between 5 and 35 years.

This is presumably because according to sources, data shows a higher incidence of claims for children in that age group.

Then there is the whole thing about age brackets. Until now, the brackets were defined in 10-year segments. That will now be five years.

Therefore, if you are 37, live in Mumbai and had subscribed to a policy worth Rs 2 lakh, your annual premium in the earlier regime would be Rs 3,900 until age 45. Now, if you are between 35 and 40, the premium for the same cover will be Rs 2,990. Between 40 and 45, it will shoot up to Rs 3,665.
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