NRIs or Non-Resident Indians are Indian-born citizens who have emigrated to a foreign country. Even though they may reside in another country, NRIs can carry out several financial and legal transactions in India, including buying a health insurance policy.
Whether you are an NRI or a resident Indian, you should be financially prepared for unexpected situations. A health insurance policy can help in this regard. It can provide financial support when you or your loved ones are in a medical emergency. While the benefits of health insurance make it a worthy purchase, it is important to choose the right product so that you can make the most of it. We help you in this regard.
But first, let’s get the basics of health insurance for NRIs right.
How Does Health Insurance Work for NRIs?
The basic principles of health insurance remain the same for NRIs and residents. The policyholder buys a policy and pays the premiums regularly and in return for the same, they receive coverage against hospitalisation and other medical events.
However, certain aspects of the policy may be different for an NRI. Some insurance companies may only allow NRIs to purchase a plan when they have come to India. With other insurers, you may be able to buy an online health insurance
plan from your resident country. Regardless, essential documents regarding your Indian citizenship, passport, bank account, and so on, will be required.
Premium payments and other financial transactions for health insurance would have to be carried out via Indian currency only.
Points to Consider When Buying Health Insurance as an NRI
Now that you may know what is health insurance
like for NRIs, let’s see the points you should keep in mind when buying health insurance as an NRI.
- Health insurance coverage has geographical limitations
Every health insurance policy will have a geographical limit on its coverage, i.e., beyond that limit, the health coverage will not be valid. In most cases, a health insurance policy bought in India may not cover medical expenses in other countries, such as the USA, the UK, Canada, Singapore, and so on.
The countries covered under the health insurance plan depend on the insurer. It is also to be noted that medical expenditure can go very high in developed countries. If exchanged in Indian currency, it can exhaust the sum insured of your health insurance plan soon. This can also be another reason why health insurance bought in India is not valid when one goes abroad.
- Certain kinds of treatment may be covered
In some cases, a health insurance policy can cover expenses for medical treatments and practices carried out abroad. This is more likely to be the case for ailments which require medical infrastructure or resources that can only be availed abroad. *
It is best to discuss this with the insurance company when you are buying the health insurance plan.
- Coverage is valid for resident members of the family
Even if you cannot access the benefits of health insurance
while abroad, if you have family residing in India, they may be able to get coverage under it if they are covered. That is why, if you are planning to move out of India soon and buying health insurance is on your mind, it is advisable to opt for a family health insurance plan.
In a family plan, along with the main policyholder, multiple members of a family can be covered, including your parents, spouse, dependent children, siblings, and so on. *
- The waiting period can be completed while abroad
If you are planning to go to another country and return to India within a few years' time, then buying health insurance can be beneficial as well. You can buy it before you leave and while you are there, the waiting period, which usually lasts for about 1-2 years, can get complete. *
This way, by the time you return to India, you would have active health insurance coverage you can benefit from.
- Health insurance tax benefits are similar for NRIs
If you are filing your tax returns in India as an NRI, you can claim tax benefits against your health insurance plan under the old tax regime. As per Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961, the premiums of a health insurance policy can be used to claim tax deductions up to Rs 25,000. This is applicable to individuals under 60 years of age. If the person being insured is over 60 years of age, the tax deduction can extend to Rs 50,000. **
Thus, buying health insurance as an NRI can have benefits as well as some limitations. Regardless, one should remember that health insurance is a non-negotiable part of living a financially healthy life. Ensure to read the terms and conditions of the health insurance policy before signing.
* Standard T&C apply.
** Tax benefits are subject to change in prevalent tax laws.
Insurance is the subject matter of solicitation. For more details on benefits, exclusions, limitations, terms, and conditions, please read the sales brochure/policy wording carefully before concluding a sale.