Understanding Health Insurance Claims: When and How to Claim


Health insurance serves as a financial cushion for individuals and families dealing with medical emergencies or ongoing treatments. The purpose is straightforward: to financially secure yourself in times of health-related adversities. However, the process of claiming your health insurance benefits is often less clear-cut. In this article, we will delve into the situations and conditions under which health insurance can be claimed, helping you better navigate this essential financial tool.

Types of Health Insurance Claims


  • Medical Expenses: The most common type of health insurance claim involves medical expenses. This category includes hospitalization, surgery, doctor’s consultations, prescription medications, and various medical tests and procedures. To claim medical expenses, you must have incurred costs that are covered under your policy.
  • Outpatient Expenses: Some health insurance policies also cover outpatient expenses, such as diagnostic tests, consultations, and prescription drugs that do not require hospitalization. You can claim these expenses when you visit a healthcare provider or pharmacy.
  • Maternity and Childbirth: Many health insurance plans offer maternity and childbirth coverage. You can claim expenses related to prenatal care, hospitalization for childbirth, and postnatal care. However, there is often a waiting period before you can make maternity-related claims.
  • Critical Illness: Critical illness insurance provides coverage for severe health conditions like cancer, heart disease, or stroke. To claim under this category, you need to provide medical evidence of the diagnosis and treatment.
  • Dental and Vision Care: Some health insurance plans offer coverage for dental and vision care. You can claim expenses for routine check-ups, dental procedures, eyeglasses, and contact lenses.

When Can You Claim Health Insurance?


  • Hospitalization: One of the most common scenarios for health insurance claims is when you are hospitalized due to illness or injury. Your insurance policy should cover expenses related to room charges, doctor’s fees, surgery, medicines, and other hospital services. Ensure that you notify your insurer as soon as possible when hospitalization is required.
  • Planned Medical Procedures: If you are planning elective surgeries or medical procedures, you should check with your insurer to ensure coverage. Pre-authorization may be necessary in some cases to avoid claim rejection.
  • Outpatient Care: When you visit a healthcare provider for non-hospitalized treatments, you can claim outpatient expenses like doctor’s fees, diagnostic tests, and prescription medications. Keep all receipts and bills for documentation.
  • Emergency Medical Treatment: Health insurance also covers emergency medical treatments, such as accidents or sudden illnesses that require immediate attention. Make sure to contact your insurer or their helpline as soon as possible in emergency situations.
  • Maternity and Childbirth: If your policy includes maternity coverage, you can claim expenses related to prenatal care, childbirth, and postnatal care. Be aware of waiting periods, as some policies may require you to wait for a certain period before claiming maternity benefits.
  • Critical Illness: When you are diagnosed with a critical illness covered by your policy, you can initiate the claims process. You will need to provide medical reports and evidence of treatment.

How to Claim Health Insurance


Notify Your Insurer

As a first step, you should inform your insurance provider about your hospitalization, treatment, or medical expenses. Most insurers have a toll-free helpline or an online portal for claim intimation. Prompt notification helps in a smoother claims process.


Accurate and complete documentation is crucial for a successful claim. Collect and keep the following documents handy:

  • Bills and receipts: Maintain records of all medical bills, pharmacy receipts, and invoices related to your treatment.
  • Hospitalization papers: Gather documents from the hospital, including the discharge summary, treatment details, and the bill.
  • Doctor’s reports: Obtain medical reports and prescriptions from your healthcare provider.
  • Claim form: Fill out the claim form provided by your insurer. Ensure that all information is accurate.
  • Identity proof: Submit a copy of your identity proof and policy documents.


For planned hospitalizations or surgeries, it is advisable to seek pre-authorization from your insurer. This process involves getting approval for your treatment plan before the actual procedure. It helps in avoiding disputes during the claims process.

Cashless Claims

Many insurance providers offer cashless claims, where the hospital bills are settled directly with the healthcare facility. To avail of this facility, you must get treatment at a network hospital authorized by your insurer. You may still need to pay for non-medical expenses like food and telephone charges.

Reimbursement Claims

If you receive treatment at a non-network hospital or for outpatient expenses, you will need to file for reimbursement. Submit all the required documents along with the claim form to your insurer. They will assess your claim and reimburse eligible expenses.

Common Reasons for Claim Rejection


Non-Disclosure of Pre-Existing Conditions: One of the primary reasons for claim rejection is the non-disclosure of pre-existing medical conditions when purchasing the policy. It is essential to provide accurate information during the application process.

Waiting Period Violation: Some policies have waiting periods for specific coverages, such as maternity or pre-existing illnesses. Attempting to claim benefits during the waiting period can result in rejection.

Incorrect Documentation: Incomplete or inaccurate documentation can lead to claim rejection. Ensure that you submit all required documents in the prescribed format.

Policy Lapses: If you do not pay your premiums on time, your policy may lapse, and you will lose coverage. Claims made during the lapse period will be rejected.

Non-Covered Expenses: Not all medical expenses are covered under health insurance policies. Check your policy documents to understand what is and isn’t covered to avoid claim rejection.

Wrapping Up


Health insurance is a valuable financial tool that provides peace of mind during medical emergencies. Knowing when and how to claim your health insurance benefits is essential to ensure that you receive the coverage you’ve paid for. By understanding the types of claims, documenting expenses meticulously, and adhering to your policy’s terms and conditions, you can navigate the claims process smoothly and secure the financial support you need when faced with health-related challenges.

Related Posts


A health insurance claim is a formal request made by a policyholder to their insurance company to cover the costs of medical expenses incurred due to illness, injury, or medical treatment.

You should file a health insurance claim as soon as you receive medical treatment or incur eligible medical expenses covered by your policy. It’s essential to notify your insurer promptly, especially in emergencies.

The required documents may include bills and receipts, hospitalization records, doctor’s reports, a completed claim form, identity proof, and policy documents. For pre-authorized treatments, you may need pre-authorization documents.

Most insurance companies provide a toll-free helpline and an online portal for claim intimation. You can call the helpline or log in to the portal to start the claims process.

Pre-authorization is the approval sought from your insurer before planned hospitalizations or surgeries. It’s required to ensure that your treatment plan aligns with your policy coverage and to prevent disputes during the claims process.

Cashless claims are processed directly between the hospital and the insurer, where the hospital bills are settled by the insurer. Reimbursement claims involve paying for medical expenses upfront and then submitting the bills and documents to the insurer for reimbursement.

Get Expert Advice

Get Expert Advice

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe To Our Weekly Newsletter

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Latest Blogs

Scroll to Top