The amount for which free health check-up is offered varies between an individual and a family floater policy, and also from one insurer to another (see table). Often, this feature comes with a waiting period. HDFC Ergo General Insurance, for instance, provides it after a waiting period of four years. Religare Health Insurance, on the other hand, offers it from day one.
Sometimes the value up to which the free check-up is provided can be quite inadequate for all the insured members of the family. A family floater policy by Star Health insurance, with a sum insured of Rs 300,000, provides health check-up of a meagre Rs 750 for all the members of the family. Another catch is that the amount of free health check-up that insurers provide depends on your initial sum insured. If the sum insured rises due to no-claim bonus, it doesn't result in the value of the free health checkup also rising commensurately.
In some policies, this may not be an annual feature but may only be offered once every two years. Apollo Munich, for instance, provides free checkup worth one per cent of the sum insured, up to Rs 5,000 per insured person, once after every two continuous years.
Experts suggest that though this feature provides the much-needed health check-up free of cost, it shouldn’t be a major determinant while buying a health insurance policy. Other features such as exclusion of pre-existing diseases, claim process, waiting period, network of hospitals, pre- and post-hospitalisation cover, and lifetime renewal should play a bigger part in making this decision. “This may be an essential feature for young families and aging elders who need regular check-ups. For others it is just a perk to encourage regular checkup without having to worry about burning a hole in their pocket,” says Vaidyanathan Ramani, head-product and innovation, Policybazaar.com. The basic coverage provided by a health insurance policy should be the primary consideration while choosing a policy whereas additional benefits such as free health check-up should be given only secondary consideration, adds Ramani.