This is again a very common question that we hear while doing Financial Planning for NRIs “I Am an NRI. Do I Need Health Insurance in India?”
Buying health insurance for NRI in India is an important financial decision. You have to consider factors like your age, health status, family members’ health status, policy details, etc. Health insurance is a tricky insurance policy to buy.
Many people do not want to buy it when they are young and healthy and, the insurance companies won’t provide it to people who are old and sick.
Can NRI buy health insurance in India?
As an NRI, you are allowed to purchase a health insurance policy in India. NRIs will need ID & address proof – insurance companies can collect premiums in all forms cash to credit cards. Even OCI can buy health insurance in India.
Health Insurance for NRI in India
The crucial question is – Do you need health insurance in India? Here are some factors that you need to look at to arrive at a decision –
1) Duration of Stay and Family Status
You will have to think about the following –
- How long do you intend to stay abroad?
- What is your expected time of return?
- Where is your family residing?
- Will your family be changing their residence to India/abroad anytime soon?
- What is the expected time of your return or your family’s return to India?
If you are already abroad or if you are going abroad and you know you might be moving back to India in 2 to 3 years, it is a no-brainer. You must buy health insurance. It might be an expense, but the waiting period for many illnesses will be completed by the time you return.
If you have a family in India that has members who are financially dependent on you or has older persons who might find it difficult to get health insurance, you can buy family floater insurance policies.
If you and your family are abroad and will continue to reside there for more than 4-5 years, avoid buying health insurance in India. In that case, It is better to buy it in the country of residence.
For NRIs moving back to India in 2 to 3 years, buying Health Insurance in India is a no-brainer.
2) Geographic Restrictions
Many health insurance policies provide coverage only within India. Check your policy details. If you have a health policy that does not cover overseas health issues, do a rethink on the policy. You may want to port to a different health insurance provider who provides coverage abroad as well.
You should also consider that if you have sufficient health insurance abroad – either from your employer or you have purchased, then even if your policy is not covering you outside India is fine.
3) Tax Benefits
Under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, a taxpayer (NRIs included) gets tax deduction on payment of health insurance premiums. The deduction is as follows –
- ₹ 25,000 for a policy for oneself, spouse and dependent children
- ₹ 25,000 for policies covering parents under the age of 60 years
- ₹ 50,000 for policies for parents who are senior citizen parents
- ₹ 50,000 for policies if the main proposer’s age is 60 years or more
If you have income in India, and you plan to return, it will be a good idea to have health insurance in India. If you have financial dependents or insurance dependents in India, it might be better to take a health insurance policy in India in that way your medical expenses are taken care of and your tax liability is reduced too.
4) Regular Travel To India
If you travel regularly for work or business to India, or you are a pilot or are in the Merchant Navy who has regular visits to India, it might make sense to purchase a health insurance policy in India.
It can be useful in case of emergencies. Moreover, medical facilities and quality of treatment in India are better compared to many countries. Medical treatment in India is cost-effective too, as compared to many other countries. From both health and economic perspectives; it makes sense to have a health insurance for NRI in India.
Mediclaim policy for NRI
I am sharing names of a few health insurance specialist companies in India that are offering health insurance to NRI
Health Insurance for NRI parents in India
Most of the NRIs live in nuclear families & their parents stay in India. For NRI parents health care is also very important as in many cases their decision of coming back to India is influenced by their parent’s health. Read – NRIs want to return to India
Few Health Insurance Policies that NRIs can consider for their parents:
- Apollo Munich Optima Senior
- Bajaj Allianz Silver Health
- New India – Senior Citizen Mediclaim Policy
- Star Health – Senior Citizen Rec Carpet
NRIs should consider these points before you make your decision –
- Insurers take extra precautions when they have to issue a policy to NRIs. Some of them have stringent practices for claims.
- Before buying an insurance policy, check the geographical coverage and the extent of the geographical coverage as regards to illness and accidents.
- FEMA rules say that the claim amount to be repatriated should be only to the extent of the total premium paid in foreign currency.
NRIs should consider the policy coverage, tax laws, residency, and the location where medical treatment will be taken; to decide on the purchase of health insurance.
Financial matters are complex, more so if you are an NRI. But managing them is not impossible.
If you already have health insurance in India or planning to buy – please share our views in the comment section.