Health Insurance for Single Mothers in India

40- year old Ananya Chatterji* is a Chartered Accountant living in Kolkata with her two teenage children, 15-year old Debashish and 13-year old Naina. Ananya recently lost her husband to complications arising from Covid-19, and is still trying to come to terms with this insurmountable loss. But she is a practical woman, and knows only too well that she cannot allow herself to be consumed by the insufferable pain, as she has her young teens to look after. She has immersed herself in the upbringing and education of her children, and her work.

Reshma Nair* is in a similar situation, though for a different reason. After a tumultuous marriage of 7 years, she took a decision to separate from her husband and got custody of their 5-year-old daughter. Being a level-headed and pragmatic lady, she has accepted her situation and is focused on raising her daughter to be independent, intelligent and bold, much like her mother. Reshma has chosen an alternate path of a freelance career, which helps her manage her expenses fairly well, and leaves her with enough time to dedicate to her little girl.

Whether by choice or by chance, there are numerous such stories of single mothers in India who are left to fend for themselves and their children, taking on the role of primary and sole caretaker. Widows, divorcees, separated ladies or single moms on their own accord; each such mother has to face difficult situations of having to manage everything as a single parent. Some are blessed with wonderful support from their families, but most have to cope single-handedly. The void of a male parent might not be filled, but the mother tries her utmost to compensate for the loss. She carries on working, having to pay for the kids' education, their financial needs and medical expenses too, while always being there for emotional support and guidance.

Life does tend to throw a curveball at you often; simply look at the world around us right now and the turmoil all across! With the cost of living and healthcare being on the rise constantly, it would be prudent to secure yourself and your kids financially, so that you are at least prepared to dodge that one curveball of having to gather funds to pay for high medical expenses when the need arises.

That is where your family's hospitalisation health insurance policy will support you. Remember that a family health insurance plan will not only protect your children but also yourself. Much like the announcement we hear an airhostess making onboard the aircraft, when she says, "Place your own oxygen masks over your mouth and nose before assisting others". Securing your own healthcare expenses and needs is equally, if not more, important as your children; after all, they depend upon you entirely.

When researching and trying to find information on the best health insurance policy for you and your child/children, here are a few situations to consider:

(1)    For recently widowed women: Always keep abreast of family medical insurance. If there is an existing medical insurance covering the family, go to the insurer and request them to change ownership of the policy to yourself as proposer. All insurance companies allow the policy to be transferred in the wife's name. On renewal it will even result in having to pay lower premiums as one member is not there. Never let a policy lapse, renew within 30 days of expiry of policy.
(2)    In cases of divorce: Keep abreast with the medical insurances covering yourself and children. If you can manage, get your policy separated before the event and surely after divorce. It would be tricky, as after divorce, your husband can no longer insure you, but he can insure the children, of course. It is important for you to get continuity benefits, such as long term credits that you get on waiting periods and pre-existing illnesses.

Thus, if divorce is on the anvil, have an agreement to separate the insurances or have an independent cover for yourself right away. Insurers will grant a fresh policy with continuity benefit. If your children are going to stay with you, you could decide to get them also covered under your insurance. If the divorce has happened, then approach the insurer with the decree and ask them to separate the insurance and give you continuity benefit. This is allowed.

It is always more prudent to opt for a separate policy in your and your child/children’s names, for additional security in times of distress. While your ex-husband may or may not continue to include the kids in his health insurance, you as a responsible mom should take all the necessary steps to account for the children as well as your own medical requirements, by applying for a separate health plan.

(3)    In cases of separation: While you are grappling with the interim situation of a recent estrangement from your spouse, you should first confirm whether or not your parents have a family health plan that could cover you and your child/children, and add your names to the plan for future security. Better still, if your finances permit you, you should evaluate the possibility of having separate health cover for yourself and your kids, which will help ease the burden off your shoulders during unforeseen and urgent medical exigencies. As in divorce situation above, look for separation of your health insurance policy.

(4)    For single mothers by choice: Taking the analogy of a preparing for a dream holiday, this beautiful bonding of mother and child needs to be protected against unforeseen hospitalisation expenses. Here, too, you should actively consider investing in a comprehensive health insurance plan that will adequately cover hospitalisation expenses for yourself as well as your dependents.

Some common points to be aware of while purchasing a health insurance plan for you and your kids (preferably a family floater policy) are:

  • Estimate your Sum Assured well in advance before finalising your health policy. This would depend upon your place of residence, your lifestyle quality, the number of family members being added to the policy, age and health conditions of each member etc. Keep in mind rising costs of everything including healthcare when you decide the appropriate amount of coverage you and your children will need.
  • Seek information on what the policy and insurance company offer, in terms of types of illnesses covered, medical heads which are taken care of or which you can avail upon paying a little extra, the range of cashless hospital tie-ups near your residence and other additional advantages offered.
  • Ensure you invest in a suitable health plan at the earliest instance, so that you can take advantage of more benefits at lower premium by virtue of young age. Like the age-old adage goes, "a stitch in time saves nine". Most importantly, every health insurance policy takes two to four years to mature with all hospitalisations covered.

This is where Sana Insure can help, with their unbiased, data-driven and comprehensive approach to choosing the right health plan for you and your family, or to give you the best advice on your existing policy. They value your precious time as a single mom, and with their wholly digital approach they make the entire process stress-free and simple for you at any time. Click on the link to begin your discussion with Sana.

Wish you a healthy and happy life!

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