Getting to know  Medical Insurance

Before you even begin selecting a medical insurance plan, arm yourself with the knowledge of the many terms you may encounter to ensure you fully understand what you're getting into.


First of all, what IS medical insurance? Medical and Health Insurance can be defined as insurance that provides coverage for specific medical expenses in the event that you become totally or partially incapacitated or hospitalised due to sickness or illness.


When you wish to purchase a medical policy, you must fulfill your duty of disclosure. Also called full disclosure of material fact, this means having to reveal all relevant details to your insurance company, such as your personal and family history of illnesses. Your policy may be rendered invalid if you do not do so. Full disclosure of your details is important for underwriting, a process by which the degree of risk you are exposed to is assessed and classified.

This could also include any pre-existing conditions that you may have neglected to mention. A pre-existing condition refers to any conditions or illnesses which you are currently receiving treatment for or have shown symptoms of. Bear in mind that these will not be covered under the policy if they exist before the effective date of your policy, whether or not you are aware of them.


Where insurance policies are concerned, the effective date or issue date is the date that an insurance policy is officially approved. Once your medical insurance is approved, you will be referred to as the Insured or Life Assured, that is, the person whose health is covered by the policy.


After your policy is approved, if for whatever reason you are not satisfied with your insurance policy, you are allowed to surrender it in exchange for a full refund of your premium paid minus any expenses incurred,but only within the free look period. This refers toa period of time, up to 15 days after your policyis enforce, in which you may examine your policy and decide whether you want to keep it.

Once you decide, you'll have access to a range of benefits specified within your policy. This could include a disability benefit, which is payable should an illnessor sickness lead to disability. In this case, disability is defined as a condition that affects your ability to carry on living in a normal capacity. Disabilities can be partial or total, and temporary or permanent; these are all usually covered under your medical policy.


In terms of hospitalisation and medical expenses, you may be exposed to a co-payment clause. This provision requires you to pay the difference in room charges and other eligible benefits specified in your policy in situations when your hospital charges exceed the amount covered by your policy.


Your eligibility for your medical benefits usually kick in after your waiting period, which is a time span of about 30 days from the effective date of your policy. Any illnesses or disease that occur within this period are not covered by your policy.


Another important time-sensitive term you should look out for is the grace period. If you want to continue enjoying the benefits of your medical policy, you must make sure that you pay your insurance premium within this period, which is usually 30 days from the due date of your latest premium payment. The policy may be lapsed should you fail to do so.


So now you have a working knowledge of some important terms in which to evaluate whether the medical insurance product you wish to purchase is suitable for you. Choose wisely, and have a great life!


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