What Are the Types of Health Insurance?

6 mins read
by Angel One
Health insurance shields against medical costs with diverse plans like individual, family, and disease-specific. This piece explores each, detailing advantages and suitable users, contrasts indemnity vs. fixed benefit, and advises on policy selection

The term “health insurance” often evokes feelings of safety for many, symbolising a financial safety net during times of illness. But what exactly defines health insurance, and why is it significant?

In essence, health insurance offers financial protection against medical expenses stemming from ailments or injuries. Yet, it’s crucial to note that health insurance plans differ widely.

Various health insurance options cater to distinct requirements. In this piece, we will look into the different health insurance, aiding you in making a well-informed decision.

What Are the Types of Health Insurance?

1. Individual Health Insurance Plan

  • Overview: This plan is tailor-made for a single person and offers coverage up to a predetermined sum for hospitalisation expenses, surgeries, medical tests, and other related costs.
  • Benefits: It’s customised to an individual’s health needs, allowing for flexibility in choosing coverage.
  • Best Suited For: Single adults who are looking for comprehensive coverage tailored to their specific needs.

2. Family Floater Health Insurance Plan

  • Overview: A singular plan that extends coverage to the entire family, including spouses, children, and sometimes parents.
  • Benefits: It offers a pool of benefits that any member can utilise, making it cost-effective and streamlined.
  • Best Suited For: Families wanting to cover multiple members under a single policy for shared benefits.

3. Senior Citizen Health Insurance Plan

  • Overview: Crafted for the elderly, typically those above 60-65, this plan considers the unique health risks and challenges of ageing.
  • Benefits: It provides higher coverage for age-specific ailments and offers features like faster claim settlements.
  • Best Suited For: Senior citizens who need a specialised plan addressing their age-specific medical needs.

4. Critical Illness Insurance Plan

  • Overview: A specialised plan offering a lump-sum amount upon diagnosis of certain critical illnesses like heart attack, stroke, or cancer.
  • Benefits: Provides financial stability during challenging times without the need to submit hospital bills.
  • Best Suited For: Individuals wanting to safeguard themselves against major illnesses and their financial implications.

5. Group Health Insurance Plan

  • Overview: Offered by employers, it covers a group of people under one umbrella policy.
  • Benefits: Generally comes at a reduced premium and might include members’ families.
  • Best Suited For: Employees looking to benefit from employer-sponsored health coverage.

6. Top-up Health Insurance Plan

  • Overview: This acts as an addition to a primary health policy, providing coverage once the main policy’s sum is exhausted.
  • Benefits: Enhances the primary coverage at a relatively lower premium.
  • Best Suited For: Those wanting to increase their coverage without buying a new primary policy.

7. Personal Accident Insurance Policy

  • Overview: Provides financial coverage in case of disability or death resulting from accidents.
  • Benefits: Offers a lump-sum payment in case of permanent disability or accidental death.
  • Best Suited For: Individuals wanting to financially secure themselves and their families against accidents.

8. Maternity Health Insurance Plan

  • Overview: This policy covers expenses related to childbirth, including prenatal and postnatal care.
  • Benefits: Takes care of costly maternity bills and sometimes even offers coverage for newborns.
  • Best Suited For: Couples planning to start a family in the near future.

9. Mediclaim Insurance Plan

  • Overview: Primarily focused on hospitalisation expenses.
  • Benefits: A straightforward plan covering hospital bills and reducing out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Best Suited For: Individuals looking for basic health coverage against hospitalisation.

10. Disease-specific Health Insurance Plans

  • Overview: Exclusively designed for specific diseases or conditions, offering coverage related to that particular ailment.
  • Benefits: Ensures specialised coverage for high-cost treatments.
  • Best Suited For: Individuals at high risk for specific diseases or wanting specific ailment coverage. 

Indemnity vs. Fixed Benefit Plans

Indemnity Plans (Fee-for-Service)

  • Overview: Indemnity health insurance plans, often known as fee-for-service, reimburse policyholders for medical expenses incurred. These plans allow you to choose your healthcare providers and offer flexibility in terms of medical visits and treatments.
  • Benefits: Total freedom in choosing healthcare providers, hospitals, and specialists. After availing the service, you submit a claim, and the insurance company refunds the amount.
  • Drawbacks: Given the extensive choice they provide, these plans might come with a heftier price tag. Additionally, there’s an upfront cost that you need to cover before getting a reimbursement.

Fixed Benefit Plans

  • Overview: Fixed benefit plans pay a predetermined amount when the insured experiences a specific illness or hospitalisation event covered by the policy. These payouts are independent of the actual medical expense.
  • Benefits: Provides clarity on the payout amount, which can be used for medical or non-medical expenses.
  • Drawbacks: If medical expenses exceed the fixed benefit, you have to pay out-of-pocket for the excess. They’re not as comprehensive as indemnity plans.

Key Elements To Think About in Health Insurance Selection

  1. Coverage Needs: Understand your medical needs. Do you need a basic coverage plan or one that includes specialists, maternity care, or specific treatments.
  2. Premium vs. Coverage: Balance the premium costs with the extent and type of coverage. Don’t just go for a cheaper plan without assessing the coverage.
  3. Network Restrictions: Some plans might limit you to specific doctors or hospitals, so ensure they’re acceptable and convenient.
  4. Out-of-Pocket Costs: Understand other costs like co-pays, deductibles, and out-of-pocket maximums.
  5. Policy Exclusions: Check for treatments or conditions that aren’t covered. Some policies might exclude specific treatments or have waiting periods for certain conditions.
  6. Claim Process: A smooth claim process can make a significant difference in times of emergencies.

What Not To Do: Health Insurance Selection Mistakes

  1. Not Reviewing Policy Periodically: Health needs change. Review and adjust your policy to ensure it aligns with your current situation.
  2. Ignoring the Fine Print: Details matter. Not reading exclusions, waiting periods, or co-payment clauses can lead to unwanted surprises.
  3. Choosing Based on Premium Alone: A lower premium might mean less coverage. Assess the value the policy provides.
  4. Not Considering Top-up Plans: They can enhance your primary coverage at a relatively lower premium.
  5. Avoiding Professional Advice: Sometimes, consulting with an expert can help navigate the complex world of health insurance and guide you to the best fit.


Selecting the right health insurance plan is a crucial financial and health decision. The choice between indemnity and fixed benefit plans, understanding your needs, and being aware of common pitfalls can significantly impact the benefits you derive from your policy. 

Health emergencies are unpredictable, but with the right insurance, financial stability doesn’t have to be. Making informed, well-researched decisions today can safeguard your health and wallet in the future.


Why do health insurance premiums increase annually?

Premiums often rise due to increasing healthcare costs, medical inflation, and the insurer’s need to cover payouts. Additionally, as one ages, the risk of health issues grows, influencing premium rates.

Can I switch my health insurance provider without losing benefits?

Yes, thanks to portability in health insurance. You can switch between insurance providers while retaining benefits like the waiting period for pre-existing conditions. It’s essential to compare benefits and read terms before making a switch.

What are 'waiting periods' in health insurance policies?

A waiting period is a time during which specific illnesses or treatments aren’t covered, even if you’ve started paying premiums. They often apply to pre-existing conditions or specific treatments like knee replacements or maternity benefits.

How does a 'No Claim Bonus' work in health insurance?

A ‘No Claim Bonus’ (NCB) is a reward offered by insurance companies to policyholders who haven’t made any claim in the previous policy year. The NCB can either be a discount on the next premium or an increase in the sum insured without any extra cost.