Why single mothers must consider investing in health insurance and how can they do it

Single mothers must be even more punctilious about health insurance than others as they might be raising their children without any other family support.
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Harshita Nanda is a single mother of two lovely children – a seven-year-old girl and a 11-year boy. A teacher in a private school, she offers tuitions at home in her spare time – not just for the extra income but also because she loves teaching. A hands-on and clear-headed mother who knows exactly what she wants for her children, she believes that their well-being and secure future are her key priorities.

Though Harshita is strong and a happy-go-lucky person, being a single mother, she sometimes is besieged by a sense of insecurity. The children are at a stage of their lives when they are susceptible to any and every illness going around. From the common flu to dengue, she has been through it all. And as the only parent and provider for her children, the financial burden of frequent doctor consultations and expensive hospital visits can take a heavy toll on her savings. 

 With changing family dynamics and evolving demographics, there are a whole lot of women like Harshita out there. Single mothers – either by choice or by chance – they stride alone on the arduous yet rewarding journey of parenting. Raising a child might take a village as the proverb goes, but mothers are the primary caregivers, the sole providers.

And so, Harshita’s fears and apprehensions are justified. The rising cost of healthcare coupled with the increasing incidence of lifestyle and other diseases makes it imperative for everyone to have health insurance.

However, single mothers must be even more punctilious about it as they might be raising their children without any other family support. They must go out and earn the money to take care of their children, yet they must also be by their children’s side when the latter are sick, and they can’t afford to spend from their own pockets for every bout of illness.

So, for all single mothers out there, here are Harshita’s tips on how to choose the right health cover:

1. Research thoroughly

There are a whole lot of insurers in India, and a lot of health products on offer. So, it is of utmost importance to do thorough research before making your final decision. So go online, check the benefits, processes, network hospitals, and other offerings in the policy.

Sometimes all the information gets confusing and leads to frustration. In such cases, do consult an insurance agent, peers, or contact the customer service department of the insurance company directly to learn more and take an informed decision.

2. Choose your coverage wisely

It is best to cover costlier affairs first. While deciding on which coverage to opt, always think of the medical expenses, which will dig a bigger hole in the pocket, and this amount can differ depending on your place of residence. 

Hospitalisation charges for an ailment can be significantly higher in a metro compared to a rural area. So, select a sum insured which is appropriate for you.

Many health insurance policies might also come with restrictions in terms of room rent limit or ailment capping. Such health insurance plans might be cheaper compared to those which offer a full-fledged cover without any capping. Take a decision depending on your requirements.

3. Plan for your family

A sound and comprehensive health insurance policy will save your family from unforeseen and expensive medical spend. A family floater health insurance plan is best when it comes to safeguarding the health of your family. And since it is a single policy for the entire family, you save money on individual policies.

Besides the standard tax deduction on health insurance, family policies also provide additional tax deductions in every budget year if you are paying for medical insurance for your parents, up to 25,000/- or up to 30,000/- depending on whether either of them is a senior citizen.

4. Be ahead of time and buy early on

Single mothers have a bigger responsibility and a larger role to play in safeguarding their children’s future. And health insurance gets more and more expensive as you get older. So, buy the policy well before you have an occasion to need it. Think of all the uncertainties of life in mind and safeguard yourself and your children from at least the financial consequence of life’s unexpected turns.

Many insurers provide additional benefits in the health insurance plans, including loss of income, attendant’s cost, day care expenses, etc. that can be your saviour. You can also consider buying a Critical Illness policy, which offers a lumpsum benefit in the event of the insured person being diagnosed with critical illnesses as specified in the policy.

While it is essential for single mothers to have health insurance plans, do not rush things. Take your time and understand the market and the products before you decide. Most insurers offer a free look period so that you can return the policy and get a refund if you change your mind on the purchase.

Instalment facility (monthly, quarterly, half-yearly) is also available in some policies, and can be thought of if your financial condition makes it difficult to make a single payment. Make your monthly budget and decide on how much you can afford to spend on health insurance plan so that it does not affect your life in a big way. And once you have bought the policy, as the saying goes – worry less, live more.

Edited by Megha Reddy

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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