Download a Health Insurance Policy Comparison Spreadsheet

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This is a health insurance policy comparison spreadsheet prepared by  K R Lakshminarayanan for his personal use. He has kindly come forward to share it with all of us. Use it as a base for comparing health insurance features and understand aspects of a policy that matter.

Health insurance policies currently available can be classified into PSU policies with room rent sub-limits and private policies without such sub-limits.  Both have their pros and cons making choosing health insurance the most difficult decision in personal finance.

To understand how room rent sub-limits work, check out: How I lost Rs. 24,000 because of room rent sub-limits in health insurance and for a discussion on the pros and cons: The trouble with health insurance room rent sub-limits. Update: United has responded that the TPA has made a mistake in using 5L as the cover instead of 5.5L and so I probably will get away with the room rent sub-limit this time!

Announcement: Check out yesterdays video: A simple way to select mutual funds for beginners. Now over to Lakshminarayanan. He had sent the following note to explain how he had gone about preparing the sheet. The text in brown is my remark.

Download a Health Insurance Policy Comparison Spreadsheet

Hi Pattu, I  was looking for a good health insurance family floater policy. I did look into all online insurance aggregators that were available and wasn’t satisfied deep down with what was thrown on the page, so I decided to do the homework in my spare time every day for few weeks and resulted into what I’ve attached.

I looked into IRDAI website and found that there are around 28 non-life insurers. I’ve already read some policy wordings once so I know it’s gonna be a draining exercise to do for all insurers. Hence, I wanted to restrict insurers with initial filtration. I took (ICR – Incurred Claim Ratio) as the initial filtration parameter. Consistency matters and so I’ve taken the ICR data for the past 5 years(Sheet 1) for all 28 insurers and filtered 12 insurers(sheet 1 bottom) in the range of 50-90% year on year and avg. I believe ICR above 90%, companies run into a loss which eventually results in a premium hike to compensate for the loss. ICR below 50%, companies making a profit by rejecting. I thought it would be prudent to see 5Y data of this in order to finalize the insurers.

Incurred Claim Ratio (ICR)=Net claims incurred/Net earned premium.

Personally, I will not read too much into ICR numbers as these can change quite quickly and is no guarantee that the insurer would pay claims or not increase premiums arbitrarily (other than age-based) in future. It should be interpreted as only a filter to compare a fewer number of policies.

In next sheet (Detailed Brochure comparison), I’ve downloaded brochure, policy wordings, Customer information sheet of all those 12 insurers and it’s indemnity policies (took only comprehensive policies of insurers and not like cash benefit policy etc). I’ve tried my best to read every line of all those insurance policies several times and compare among them.

Overall sheet colouring
Green – good
Yellow – avg just like all market products
Red – bad

After this 2nd filtration, ended up with 4 insurers (Liberty general, Royal Sundaram, Bajaj Allianz, Max Bupa). Completely rejected Bharti Axa, future Generalli, Tata AIG in next filtration for non-availability of certain information in the policy wordings.

It’s better to know a couple of good insurance policies as a backup so that in future can port to alternate policy if current insurer discontinues the policy.

I really loved the policy wordings of Royal Sundaram and Liberty Health General in the entire health insurance market. Only those had the best policy wordings in terms of coverage.

Then I thought of affordability or how much premium I would be paying throughout our life to filter further among the policies in terms of cost.

I would always prefer to choose health insurance product for max tenure that they offer to avail the premium discount and convenience of renewal as well.

Base Mar ’19 – Project premium sheet. I’ve projected the total premium that I would be shelling out for each and every policy of 6 insurers (commonly known or attractive policy wordings). Premium projection data framed starting with mine & spouse age and including a child from next renewal until child’s age 24, max tenure of policy (1 or 2 or 3 years) inclusive of premium discount (2 or 3Y or early age) and inclusive of 18% tax for both 5L and 10L Sum Insured. The numbers were mindblowing.

This made me realize that I can’t afford 10L sum insured as the base policy and have to definitely look for a super top-up policy with a higher deductible and high coverage considering rising medical inflation.

I’ve done a similar exercise on comparing the Supertop up policy among the filtered 12 insurers. Found that Liberty General is the only insurer which provides the highest coverage up to 1 crore and also has No claim bonus and costs less for the 10L deductible. Though Bajaj Allianz has a very good policy wording in super top up cost is too high. Projected the premium as well for super top-up policies. The premium chart wasn’t available after a certain age as this was a new policy.

I was deciding to take 5L SI in Royal Sundaram as base policy (as it was the oldest insurer, best policy wordings, max network hospitals and 10L deductible with 50L coverage in Liberty General (exceptional) super top-up policy.

Then I read the IRDAI proposal draft on Minor policy changes being allowed with +- increase in premium. In an economic Indiatimes article, Royal Sundaram mentioned that it would be convenient to add no: of day care procedures because of this proposal. I know that Royal Sundaram has mentioned wordings as (depicted no:of procedures is just an indicative list) and on a call with insurer said that policy will cover for the procedure if treatment comes under day care procedure clause even if it’s not in the list.

So it means we’re already paying a premium for all. Now, this proposal might be utilized as a loophole by the insurer to add day care procedures and hike the premium. (they may or may not add this to in force policies or probably offer it as an option)

So I decided to choose both base (Health connect Basic) policy 5L SI and super top up (health connect supra option II) policy 10L deductible with 50L SI from Liberty general.

Critical Illness: I found only Apollo Munich Optima vital and Hdfc ergo critical illness plan covering  Parkinson and Alzheimer’s (we have a family history). They both had exact same policy wordings for the matched critical illness and the severity. Projecting the premium made me realize that Apollo Munich Optima vital is better as it covers 37 illness and has 7.5% discount for 2Y tenure and the total premium cost until retirement is lower than HDFC Ergo.  Wondering whether to go for critical illness with 5L or 10L. Already built 2.5L in a liquid fund for emergency purpose.

This is a small sum and inflation would erode its value in a few years. Aggressively investing to build a health corpus may be a better solution and this is what he has decided. See: Why we all need a corpus for medical expenses and how to build it

Best regards,

Disclaimer: The contents of this sheet should be used only a guideline to select health policies. The features mentioned in your policy document could be different from those in the sheet. Also, the sheet could have some errors as it was manually compiled. If you notice, Lakshminarayanan has made this sheet for his personal situation. This is what you should do too as insurance is a personalized purchase.

Do not buy any health insurance policy (any policy or product for that matter) without reading and understanding the terms and conditions!

The sheet is a massive piece of research and I would appreciate if you (1) share this article with others (buttons available on the left or below) and (2) tweet a thank you to @naraykln 

Download the Health Insurance Policy Comparison Spreadsheet

At first sight, this will look daunting. Once you get used to it, it will become a lot easier.

Do share if you found this useful

About the Author M Pattabiraman author of freefincal.comM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the author and owner of  He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras since Aug 2006. Pattu” as he is popularly known, has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management.  He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice. Pattu publishes unbiased, promotion-free research, analysis and holistic money management advice. Freefincal serves more than one million readers a year (2.5 million page views) with numbers based analysis on topical issues and has more than a 100 free calculators on different aspects of insurance and investment analysis. He conducts free money management sessions for corporates  and associations(see details below). Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, TamilNadu Investors Association etc. Contact information: freefincal {at} Gmail {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
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  1. Lakshminarayanan & Pattu,

    Thanks for this sheet. This is incredible work. I am in the middle of finalizing health policy and this came god sent. Thanks for the efforts.

  2. I know how much effort Naraykln has put in and it is tremendous. I remember the days where he used to read through the policy wordings of each and every insurer, call their customer care to ‘assess’ them and create this. Kudos!!!

  3. Thank you Lakshmi Narayanan and Pattu Sir. Very much detailed analysis, consolidation and comparisons. This is very much handy document to compare lot of available Health Insurance Policies. Thanks for sharing

    My thoughts: Along with the list of criterias considered, please consider network of hospitals under these various policies in our area. Many a times, the detailed list of network hospitals are not listed in website. So we might need to visit/call up the agency to get these details accurately.

    And Thanks again for instilling these thoughts/awareness into us.

    1. Sorry, I overlooked “Number of Network Hospitals” listed as one of the criteria in the Comparison sheet. Sorry and Thank you!

  4. Does Top up or Super Top up means only Reimbursement or can it be CASHLESS as well?

    Does Non-Network hospital mean only reimbursements? What is the major difference impacting Non-network and network hospital for an insured.

  5. you have always been a torch bearer for many of us in creating awareness. Thank you so much. Do you have any similar work done for Critical illness insurance?

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