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Health Insurance for NRI in India – 4 Factors to Consider

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.

health insurance for nri in india

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.

wiseNRI

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.

health insurance for nri

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

health insurance for nri parents in 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 –

  1. Insurers take extra precautions when they have to issue a policy to NRIs. Some of them have stringent practices for claims.
  2. Before buying an insurance policy, check the geographical coverage and the extent of the geographical coverage as regards to illness and accidents.
  3. 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.

Talk to us about your Financial Plan

If you already have health insurance in India or planning to buy – please share our views in the comment section.

About the Author

Hemant Beniwal is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and his Company Ark Primary Advisors Pvt Ltd is registered as an Investment Adviser with SEBI. Hemant is also a member of the Financial Planning Association, U.S.A and registered as a life planner with Kinder Institute of Life Planning, U.S.A. He started his Financial Planning Practice in 2009 & is among the first generation of financial planners in India. He also authored Bestseller book "Financial Life Planning".

  • Reji Thomas says:

    I have Star Health Comprehensive Policy (Floater for me, spouse and kids {covered up to the age of 25) for 15 Lakhs plus I have taken Senior Citizen Health Policy (Red Carpet) for 5 Lakhs for my mother. Since last three years I have been renewing this policy. Star Health states all pre-existing illness will be covered from 4th year.

    My suggestion is one Health Insurance should be accepted Worldwide, just like the Credit Cards. Currently, I have a Health Insurance in India. When I travel abroad, I have to take a short period Health / Medical Insurance called Travel Insurance. If I am staying on deputation in a foreign country, both these insurance will not be valid , again I have to get a Health insurance in that Foreign country. Instead of the all this, I suggest one Health Insurance should suffice your Medical needs where ever you are e.g. My SBI Credit Cards (Visa and Master) works anywhere in the world. Likewise my health card should be acceptable in any hospital around the world.

    • Hi Reji,
      Thanks for sharing your views.
      Now Indian health insurance companies are providing global covers but people must read fine lines. For Example in the case of Tata AIG they say we provide global cover but fine print reads “provided that the diagnosis was made in India.”

  • Charanjit Chhatwal says:

    Thanks for very useful information. I am an 84 year old OCI getting pension in India. Could you please let me know if I can get tax deduction U/S 80D in Indian Tax for my health insurance premium paid in USA.

  • Jose Peter says:

    What is your opinion on SBI LIFE. I am an NRI AND is planning to return this year. I have medical policy with SBI. I am above 65.

  • NADEEM says:

    HOW MANY DISEASE ARE COVER IN ANY PLAN?

    • Hi Nadeem,
      It depends on the plan but if I talk about vanilla health insurance products – it covers most of the diseases other than pre-existing & in a few cases there is a waiting period.

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