Can NRI Buy Health Insurance In India
As an NRI, if you need medical insurance, you may be confused. Should you opt to buy medical insurance in the country of your residence or in India? What is likely to get you more benefits for your hard-earned money? Especially considering factors like 20% inflation in health care costs as predicted by HDFC ERGO, it is not unreasonable to avail Health Insurance in India.
Medical Insurance in India is high on demand right now. Medical Tourism in India is taking off very well, and the insurance industry in India is growing at a rapid pace. However, in India, the penetration of health insurance is at 15%. However, you should also be fully informed about the legal implications and clauses before you decide. So, we are here to help you make the decision about your healthcare insurance.
Here Are The Significant Steps Of Health Insurance For NRI In India
Geographical Coverage of your Insurance
Make sure that you check the geographical coverage of your insurance plan before purchasing it. Certain insurance policies would only be valid in certain states and within the territories of the Indian state. Make sure that your insurance will cover you in the country and city of your residence.
Significance of Underwriting
Every insurance company will have a set of strict underwriting guidelines that they have to follow before issuing any new insurance policy. You should know that NRIs are generally considered a riskier client because you stay outside the country. This is because it is difficult for a company based in India to verify your claims in another country. There is often a stricter norm for NRIs and restrictions on the kind of tests you get done. Make sure you read all the conditions and ensure that it can meet your healthcare needs before taking health insurance from India.
Make sure you can make purchases online. It would not make sense for you to travel to India to make your health insurance payments. Opt for a policy that allows you to make payments online, and accepts the foreign currency from your country of residence.
NRI Tax Benefits
You should know that the premium paid towards Health Insurance is tax deductible. Section 80D of the Income Tax Act deals with deductions, and it is stated that NRIs are eligible for tax benefits like residents of India, to avail a deduction on premium paid towards health insurance. So, if you are paying taxes in India, taking up an NRI health insurance policy in India would help you reduce your total taxable income in India. NRIs are eligible for a tax deduction of INR 25,000 under Section 80D.
The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) regulates the insurance policies that purchased and sold in India. Under the regulations of FEMA, NRI health insurance policies in India are eligible. You should make sure that your currency can be repatriated under the provisions of FEMA. Repatriation is nothing but the conversion of currency to that of the country of your residence. That is, if you are a resident of USA, then the repatriated amount should come to you in dollars, and not in rupees. For some policies, there may be a FEMA mandated cap on the maximum amount that can be repatriated to you. Make sure that you are not disadvantaged by any FEMA regulation before you decide to buy health insurance for NRI in India.
Your Expected Return to India
Your expected return to India should also influence your decision of buying your health insurance policy from India. If your expected date of return is three or more years away, then it would make more sense for you to get your health insurance from the country of residence. But, if you plan to return to India within three months, then it would make sense for you to buy a health insurance policy in India. In fact, economic experts would recommend that you purchase a health insurance policy in India, in addition to an insurance policy in your country of residence. There is a reason for this. Upon your return to India, you will not have to rush to buy a new policy. Also, during the three years that go by, most of the pre-existing conditions and specific illness-related exclusions would be over. Upon your return to India, you will be eligible to claim returns fully, and without these restrictions.
These are the main points that you should keep in mind while looking for health insurance in India for NRI. Given the right planning and the right information, taking up a health insurance policy in India might just work to your benefit.