Overseas Mediclaim is, in any case, mandatory if you’re travelling to the United States, Europe and a few other countries. But even where it isn’t required by law, it makes sound sense to pack this low-cost, high-value medical cover–along with your beach-bum outfit and your holiday attitude. "Your domestic Mediclaim policy does not cover your hospitalisation abroad."
Medicare, and more. Up until a year ago, you could buy Overseas Mediclaim policies only from the four public sector general insurance players. Since then, three non-life private insurers–Royal Sundaram, Bajaj-Allianz and Tata-AIG–have begun to offer value-added "travel insurance" packages: in addition to offering Mediclaim facilities, these cover other travel-related risks– loss of luggage or air-tickets or passport, flight delays and even hijacks. The premium you pay depends on your age, number of days of proposed travel and the countries to which you plan to travel. You have to pay a markedly higher premium for travel to the US and Canada.
The plain-vanilla Overseas Mediclaim Policy covers your hospitalisation and medical expenses up to the sum insured for 45 days; it also provides cover against in-flight accidental death and for loss of passport.
Typically, a 30-year-old would pay Rs 1,630 as premium for medical cover up to $50,000 for 45-day travel that takes in the US and Canada. Private players offer their value-added "travel insurance" packages for about the same premium (see table: Travel Companions).
Sum insured ($)
* For a 30-year-old for 45-day travel (including US and Canada); includes 5% service tax
How it works. This is why it pays to look beyond the premium rates when you’re planning to buy the Overseas Mediclaim policy or the travel insurance packages. Where the public sector insurers’ policy scores is in the fact that it comes with an international toll-free helpline (+44 (0) 1273 749222) you can dial from anywhere in the world when you need hospitalisation or medical attention. If you seek admission in one of the accredited hospital (you can get a list of such hospitals from the insurers), you can walk away without paying a dime.
If you’re admitted to other hospitals, you might need to pay up front and make a claim to the insurer along with the required paperwork (a filled-up claims form, prescriptions and medical records and cash receipts). Private players, on the other hand, offer country-specific phone numbers–so you’ll have to declare your itinerary before you leave and collect the appropriate contact numbers.
Know your deductible. Remember, however, that only claims in excess of a specified amount (called a "deductible") will be settled. Ajay Srivastava learnt this the hard way when his claim for $100 towards expenses incurred on securing medical attention for his son Ritvik while on a tour of Germany was rejected because his policy came with a $100 deductible. "All I got was a card wishing me good health for the rest of my travel period!" he recalls wryly.
Also, the fine print on private insurers’ packages have certain exclusions: they don’t cover you for medical expenses arising from motor accidents. The public sector insurers, however, make no such exclusion. But if you plan to drive abroad, make sure you carry a valid international driving licence, without which any attendant claims may be rejected.
Additionally, none of the private insurers lets you extend your insurance cover once your tour has begun. Public sector insurers, on the other hand, allow you to extend your Overseas Mediclaim Policy for up to 180 days–even after the tour has begun.
Overseas Mediclaim policies can, additionally, be bought only up to age 70. So, what does a person do when he’s required to stay on longer than six months or does not otherwise qualify for Overseas Mediclaim policies? Rakesh Vashishta, 40, who works for a tech firm in the US, found himself looking for just such an answer when his 70-year-old father planned to visit him for a year. Even though his father had a clean medical history, Vashishta couldn’t buy him an Overseas Mediclaim policy. Since he could scarcely have afforded not to buy any insurance, he trawled the Net for insurance quotes. "The US insurance market is much more mature than in India, and I could buy my father a medicare policy right here in New Jersey," says Vashishta. "For anyone who plans to stay longer than six months in the US, I’d recommend only this: buy local insurance!" he says. "You get far more customised insurance products, at competitive rates."
Source: Outlook Money - 2009
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
10 things to ask a tour operator
Whether you are booking a holiday through an online travel portal or are relying on a tour operator, being a sceptic can save you a lot of money - and remorse. As it is more important to ask the right questions than to obtain correct answers to the wrong queries, we have compiled a list of posers that you must forward to your travel facilitator before you reach for your credit card.
Answer the following questions in 'Yes' or 'No' to know whether your travel agent is giving you a fair deal or if you are being shortchanged.
Price of the package
Are taxes and surcharges included in the quoted price?
Is booking fee applicable separately to components like tickets, hotels, etc, instead of a single fee for the entire package?
Is there a transaction charge applicable to credit card payments?
Is there a fee for plan modification in addition to cancellation?
Will I get a hopping flight as it’s cheaper than a direct flight?
Can I choose my hotel room’s location, away from public areas?
Will I have to pay entrance fees at tourist spots while sightseeing?
Does my package fall under the transparent pricing plan (which allows the choice of airlines and hotels, among others)?
Can I negotiate for more information under the opaque pricing plan (where hotel and airline is revealed after full payment)?
Can I modify my travel dates Illustrations: RAJ s under opaque pricing?
Does ‘direct flight’ with a single flight number mean a non-stop flight to the destination?
If I have to change flights and miss the connecting flight, will I be compensated for it?
Deal with meals
Can I choose between a buffet and a la carte service?
In a Modified American Plan package, where I get breakfast and my choice of lunch or dinner, can I switch the meals?
Can I choose the places of tourist interest that I want to see?
Will I be assigned a trained guide instead of a chauffeur-cum-guide?
Will the agency help in submitting and collecting travel documents?
Do I need a valid passport for at least six months after reaching the destination, irrespective of when I plan to leave?
Am I adequately covered for medical emergencies while on a holiday?
Does my insurance plan also cover baggage and passport loss?
Can I pay on a per-day basis and not for a pre-defined tour period?
Is there a 24x7 toll-free helpline number?
Do you have a representative at my holiday destination?
Money Today February 4, 2009 (Edited)
Sunday, March 13, 2011
Address: 1/428, Gariahat Road (South),
Opp: Selimpur Bus Stop, Near Arambagh FoodMart, Kolkata
Phone: 033-24991187 / 24991188, Mob: 9836346344
Timing: 08:00 AM - 08:00
Address: 199 Sarat Bose Road (Near Desha-priya Park,opposite BPCL Petrol pump, nearest Metro/subway station - Kalighat), Kolkata - 700029. Tel : 033- 24630661 email@example.com
3. In fact there are various places one can have Ayurveda from Kerala - Hazra Road and Lansdowne crossing
source : http://www.evisaasia.com
No Advance Planning
The stamp on your passport will technically serve as a ‘visa,’ which allows you to enter the country multiple times within a specific number of days. The countdown begins on the first day you enter the country. Sometimes, this is also known as ‘a multiple-entry visa.’
Friday, March 11, 2011
Pranab, Prince of Serendip
India is in surprisingly good fiscal shape despite populist spending, venal politics and misgovernance.
In ordinary English, a budget lays down what you earn and spend. A government budget determines how much money each department gets, with a clear understanding that nothing more will be given save in exceptional circumstances.
This year’s Budget sets a new benchmark in allocations that defy credibility. In one area after another, spending in 20011-12 is budgeted to be less or only marginally more than actual spending in 2010-11.
The food subsidy is to remain virtually unchanged at around .60,000 crore, although procurement prices have gone up and carrying costs for the huge government food stock are high. Something as innocent sounding as “other non-Plan expenditure” is to be slashed from .1,45,884 crore to .1,28,859 crore. Pranab Mukherjee claims in his Budget speech that social spending will rise 17%.
Optimists may think Mukherjee is going to be the toughest finance minister in history, wielding a fearsome budgetary axe. Cynics like me see this Budget as simply the preface to the real spending figures that will show up in supplementary demands for grants in autumn.
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