As we all are aware that Independent companies and hospitals offer health cards which give one discounts on a variety of health-related expenses. As yet, there is no regulated board in India. One has to check his individual needs before buying for a health card. It is also important to check the provider background and the list of hospitals in the provider’s network when opting for the health card.
The natural course of action to combat rising medical costs is to take a health insurance. Most employers provide a health cover to employees, which cover the families as well. But such medical insurance does not cover Out Patient Department (OPD) expenses, preventive health check-ups and costs of medicines. Besides, OPD expenses are more recurrent and commonplace than hospitalizations which health insurance covers.
In order to manage such expenses, people opt for secondary health insurance which has OPD cover. However, the options are restricted in this space and the few options which are present are expensive. Besides, the OPD spend on such health covers come with a cap, meaning only a certain amount can be claimed every year. The question then arises if there is a better alternative to combat the ever rising healthcare expenses.
Health Cards or Healthcare Discount Cards are schemes started by companies or hospitals which offer discounts on medical expenses in select facilities on payment of a monthly or annual fee. Note that this is not a health insurance. It is simply a format to get a discounted rate on various medical benefits in exchange for a membership fee. Here are some things one should understand in a health card scheme.
What are the benefits? A health card offers discounts up to 40% over many medical and allied expenses. Introduced typically to bridge the gap between what is spent on healthcare and what is covered by insurance, a health card can get one discounts on OPD fees, doctors’ consultations, ambulance charges, medicine costs, diagnostic services and dial-a-doctor facility. Dental treatments and alternative treatments such as homeopathic and Ayurveda treatments which are generally not covered by health policies are also covered. Further, there are no expense caps or sub-limits like a health insurance, as it is mainly a discount-oriented benefit. Note that the health card scheme is offered by many players in India. The range of benefits covered and the amount of discount varies from one player to another. Some companies also cover wellness services like the spa treatment, online symptom trackers and health logs, diet plans and give a free second opinion before a surgery to the card holders. The benefits also differ depending on the plan opted, which differs according to the membership fee.
Where can the benefits be availed? Companies offering health cards collaborate with hospitals and clinics in the country. This is similar to network hospitals which are covered by insurance plans. The health card will only work if the member avails services from the hospital, clinic or diagnostic center which is covered by the scheme. Different companies have tie-ups with different hospitals.
What is the fee? This again depends on the provider one chooses to go with. The fee varies depending on the plan and the number of members. It can vary from Rs. 1000 to Rs. 8000 a year. Logically, the plan which charges Rs. 8,000 covers a wider range of services compared to lower priced plans. There are options for an individual, couple and large families as well, and the fee varies accordingly. But there is a company namely www.jiyoindia.com offer it’s Jiyo India Health Card free of cost to all Indian republic.
Who are the players? The health card scheme is offered by both independent companies and hospitals. Hospitals offering health cards allow a person to use them only in their chain or in a group facility. As a result, the use of such cards is restricted. However, if a person visits only one hospital in the vicinity for all the medical needs of his family, then such a loyalty card may be beneficial. So, one can check out if the nearest hospital offers a scheme like this. Hospitals which are a part of a large hospital chain like Max, Fortis or Apollo are more often seen to offer a loyalty card like this. Independent companies also offer health cards. This may be better compared to standalone cards offered by hospitals, as the user has more choice on the back of tie-ups with multiple hospitals.
What are the drawbacks? While everything looks good, a health card also has some drawbacks. An important aspect to keep in mind is that unlike the health insurance sector which is regulated by the IRDA, this is not a regulated industry. So if one has a problem with the services of a health card provider, he can only approach the consumer court for solving the dispute. Also, the network of hospitals and clinics may be limited when compared to insurance providers. Further, if one opts for hospital promoted loyalty cards, the options will be even more limited.
Should one consider a health card? A health card definitely looks cheaper when compared to health insurance offering OPD benefits. However, one must do an analysis of the individual needs before deciding on a health card. Remember that in most cases, the member will only get a discount on the bills and not a full reimbursement. So it is important to first estimate the family’s annual medical expenses on medicines and doctor consultations, apply the discount and then calculate if the savings will be more than the annual cost of the health card. If this is not the case, it is better not to opt for a health card and only take a secondary health insurance to cover hospitalization expenses. Further, before choosing a provider, the background of the company must be checked, if it is an established name in the healthcare sector. An experienced company is always better than an unrelated provider. It is also important to check the hospital network of the provider and how this suits individual requirements.
Why JIYO INDIA Card?
Jiyo India introduced card to the public absolutely free where no harm to have this card in a pocket. Reduce expenses on various services offered by www.jiyoindia.com such as OPD, IPD, Pharmacy, Gym, SPA etc., Search and book the appointment through Jiyo India mobile app as this is a very user-friendly application. So what are you waiting for? just click www.jiyoindia.com and sign up today!
Disclaimer: This plan is not insurance offerings.
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