Whether it’s the people of non-Indian origin, residing here in India, or it’s the Indian people residing abroad, or NRIs, everyone should buy health insurance in India. There certainly are some of the special conditions and regulations that NRIs have to go through to buy it. So, The question is Should NRIs buy health insurance in India? Let’s know!
Should NRI Buy Health Insurance Scheme In India?
Let you be an NRI, residing in abroad for long. Ever thought what would happen if you suddenly fall ill? Who will take care of the big medical bills and payments? So be it an NRI or any individual, health insurance is the utmost required for every age group. So, you should buy health insurance in India.
Apart from that, if you’re coming back to India in a few days or months, then why not go for it? We’ll deal with it in detail in the upcoming paragraphs. Before that, let’s know about its benefits for an NRI in brief.
As an NRI, you can get a deduction of up to Rs. 25,000 for payment of the health insurance premiums of self, spouse, children, mother, and father. If your parents are aged 60 years or below, they get another deduction of Rs. 25,000 when they pay a premium for the health insurance of their parents. If your parents are more than 60 years, then they get an extra deduction of Rs. 50,000 up to Rs. 1 lakh, while paying premiums for their health insurance.
However, there are situations where an NRI might be living in another country. In that case, the situation differs. Depending on various factors, he has to decide whether to purchase health insurance or not. We will be discussing these factors in detail in the next few paragraphs. So, read it till the last!
Let’s start digging into this entire thing, so you don’t miss out on any information about the health insurance policies for NRIs in India.
Top Things You Need To Make Sure Before Applying For A Health Insurance
Being an NRI, if you want to apply for any health insurance of your choice, you must be present in India, maybe when visiting. But keep in mind, you must complete all the procedures, within the days you are staying here.
You must handover them a filled form with some other important documents like a copy of your pan card, an attested copy of your passport, details of your Indian bank account.
There may be some other information requirements by the insurer, and this varies from one insurance company to another. So, it’s normal. However, after all the procedures are complete, there’s another but another most important thing remaining. All the further transactions that you’re going to carry out, must be in the format of Indian currency.
Mentioned below are the top points that you must go through and keep in your mind before applying and signing the health insurance policy-
1. Geographic Coverage
This is the part where you will know, up to what geographical extent you can rely on your health insurance that you bought in India. Since you got this in India, it is obvious that you can have complete access to it in any part of the country and can enjoy all the facilities that come along, within the territory.
However, every company has its own rules and a separate guideline book. Some companies don’t allow to you buy healthcare policy in India if you’re staying abroad. For instance, you’re residing in the UK and want to buy a healthcare policy in India. Some companies may permit you while others may not. But will that stop you from availing it? No, right? You’ve other assertive options. So, why let them go?
Unfortunately, you can’t have access to it for yourself, if you’re residing in abroad. Like, if you’re an NRI who lives in the US, then your Indian health insurance is of no use. In that case, you would prefer to buy a health insurance policy in that territory. Whereas, if you’re thinking of purchasing a health insurance scheme in the country you’re living, you can even utilize it for your nursing or therapy in India.
Many people confuse with this particular thought. If they buy their health insurance in the US, can they still avail it in India? So, let’s look forward to it. Even if you buy your healthcare policy, in another country and shift back to India, you’re free to avail it in India even. Your investment money won’t go in vain. So, calm down!
2. Underwriting Regulation
There’s a huge difference in the terms and conditions for a general application and an NRI application. The insurance companies have to undertake a big amount of risk while dealing with an NRI applicant in comparison to that of a general applicant.
The rules, points, and probable every minute dealing are quite different for a commoner as compared to an NRI. So, for them to manage the risks taken and provide insurance facilities, hand in hand, they have brief underwriting guidelines. You must follow then while purchasing a certain policy.
As an NRI, you are more vulnerable because it is very difficult in the part of the companies, to confirm that the facts produced at the time of buy, are completely true. Thus, you must adhere to these guidelines, for smooth and better functioning of the company policies.
Disclaimer- Many companies now specify in the terms and conditions that all the facilities covered under the plan are only limited to treatment in India. Although very few companies have started to provide these facilities overseas too.
3. Government Rules Aligning The Sector
All insurance companies work under the regulations offered by the government, known as the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). According to regulation 3 of FEMA, if you’re staying in India, he can use his existing foreign health insurance policy here.
However, make sure that you’ve abided by the rules and received permission from the concerned Indian authority. Ask for such permission while buying the foreign plan itself. Yet, the premium payment of the policy is not eligible for tax-benefit in India.
Last but not least, be extra careful while going through the agreement. Since you’re not residing in India, so it is better if you bring with yourself an acquaintance or a friend who’s a resident of India while signing the policy.
4. Tax Benefits For NRIs Buying Health Insurance In India
Not just normal residents of India only have the provision to enjoy all kinds of facilities provided by the insurance companies. But, if you’re an NRI, you’re no exception. You also get to experience various kinds of tax benefits provided. So, happily avail of them.
According to Section 80D of the Income Tax Act in 1961, whether you live in India or not, you can get a deduction of up to Rs. 25,000 for payment of the health insurance premiums of yourself and your family. You also get an expenditure of up to Rs. 5,000 on preventive health check-ups.
Apart from that, you can also get another discount of Rs. 25,000 when you pay a premium for the health insurance of your parents with an age of up to 60 years. If they are more than 60 years, then you get an extra deduction of Rs. 50,000 up to Rs. 1 lakh, while you pay premiums for their health insurance.
Also, according to the same act, you get an exemption from the deduction of your tax for the amount that you pay as a premium during medical requirements.
Thus, in short, the tax benefits are mentioned below-
For you, your family, children, and your parents aging below the age of 60.
You, with your family and parents, can get a discount of lump sum Rs. 25,000. It is, in itself an achievement. Then why not avail it?
i. If your parents’ age Above 60 years
Worried about your parents while you’re staying in abroad? You need not anymore. Just make a policy, and with such criteria, you can even get a discount of Rs. 25,000. So, why worry when such amazing policies are there?
ii. If you age 60 or more
If you age 60 or more, you already come under the age group of the senior citizen. Nothing to be embarrassed of. It is another beautiful part of this beautiful life. So, you can enjoy a discount on health care insurance even. Another bonus of this age.
So, the point here is, you can avail a discount of Rs. 50,000. It is a huge amount for getting as a benefit. Isn’t it?
Mentioned below are a tabular representation of the policy, its terms, and deductions.
Tax Term Benefits N Deductions For NRIs Who Seek To Buy Health Insurance
Disclaimer- The amount deducted from your insurance for some preventive health check-ups is included in the total ceiling of the payments you make for health insurance premiums.
As per Salini Jain, People Advisory Services, “NRIs are free to avail discounts on the investments in the health insurance sector. However, it’s limited to a certain extent”. This discount gets levied on the investments made for you, your family as well as your parents. It’s again approved by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
Apart from that, you should take into account other factors, while buying for health insurance in India. Factors such as geographical location covered, the rules and regulations in that country, etc.
Point to note-
- Preventive health check-ups refer to those expenses covered for early detection of disease and measures one should take for its prevention and to make sure this disease doesn’t show up in the future.
- If you have a certain income that you earn in India, you get tax impositions. The income source may be of any legal kind such as income from a property in India, or income from fixed deposits or interest in a savings bank, etc.
At the same time, the money you earn from outside of India is non-taxable.
Factors To Consider While Applying For Health Insurance In India
There are certain things that you must keep in mind while going to applying for health insurance in India like-
1. If you are certain that you would be abroad for a long time and have health insurance in India, it would be completely unnecessary to keep it active. Since you cannot avail the benefits there so it would be better to cease it. But if you are going to be out of the country for a short span, then you should keep maintaining the insurance.
2. If you are deciding to return to India within 2-3 years, then you should buy a health insurance policy in the time you’re visiting India. But be sure that your requirements get fulfilled under the terms and conditions of the plan you choose to buy. However, if you’re reverting to your own country after 4-5 years, it would be better if you buy a health insurance policy in the same country you’re going to spend a long term of your life.
3. These days, very few companies are providing health insurance facilities to their clients. It would cover the expenses outside of India as well. However, these facilities are only for the treatment of critical diseases like cancer, organ transplant, brain tumour, etc.
So, if you’ve got the opportunity and things go by your way, don’t let it go—draft health insurance.
Benefits Of The Health Insurance Policies
Health insurances are a major need for every single person in this world. In India, as much important it is for the residents of India, it’s as important for the NRIs too. So, if you’re an NRI, you should also buy any medical health insurance plan. All you need to do is provide your address proof, a copy of your income tax return (ITR), and some other relevant documents, and that’s all.
But if you’re a Person of Indian Origin (PIO), you need to provide a few other documents. The most important document being the Indian passport, which is again followed by some other documents. Trust me, it’s as easy as it sounds, you only have to be careful during the paperwork, and then, you’re good to go.
If you’re an NRI who lives in the US, then you cannot avail the facilities provided by your Indian health insurance policy. However, you can use the health insurance you bought abroad to avail the benefits and expenses covered under India’s plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What if I don’t get health on a certain company?
So, if you don’t get health insurance in a certain company, don’t hesitate to go to another one. You definitely will get one.
2. How does this health insurance benefit my family?
If they are more than 60 years, then you get an extra deduction of Rs. 50,000 up to Rs. 1 lakh, while you pay premiums for their health insurance. Thus, it is like getting sweets in both hands. Isn’t it?
3. What to do if, after buying health insurance, being transferred abroad?
However, if you’re returning within days or months, the scenario becomes different. In this case, you can stick to the old policy and keep funding in it.
4. Mention the names of top Indian companies providing health insurance to NRIs and their parents?
Mentioned below is the list of the Indian companies providing health insurances to NRIs and their parents too-
i. Apollo Munich
ii. Religare Health
iii. Star Health
iv. Max Bupa
v. Bajaj Allianz Silver Health
So by this, you can at least give a shield over them by purchasing senior citizen health insurance for them. This would make them feel your presence, and you would remain tension free too!
Investing in a health insurance scheme is the utmost required job for every individual. However, when you’re a migrant worker, traveling countries, or residing abroad, depending on different scenarios, you need to rethink and take care of a few things.
I hope, by this article, I was able to clear all your queries regarding should NRIs buy health insurance in India.