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Health Insurance for NRIs

Health insurance for NRI provides comprehensive coverage, including hospitalisation, emergency services, and so on, giving them peace of mind during their visit to India. The factors to be kept in mind while purchasing the NRI health insurance plans are the extent of coverage, the reputation of the insurer, and the efficiency of claim settlement. By investing in the best insurance for NRI in India, they can enjoy their stay in the country with the assurance that they are safeguarded against any medical emergencies.

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Health Insurance for NRIs

Health Insurance Plans for NRIs

Health Insurance Plans for NRI
June 06, 2024


NRIs visiting India should be mindful of health issues that might arise during their stay. The insurance coverage they have in their country of residence might have geographical limits and not allow claims arising for treatment in India. The health insurance for NRI in India will serve the purpose. As a Non-resident Indian, you are given the provision to invest in a plan for yourself and your family living in India.

However, while purchasing the policy as an NRI your legal residential status in India matters. There can be associated legal and tax implications. It is recommended to adhere to the documentation process while purchasing or renewing and submitting a claim application.

Can Non-Resident Indians Purchase Health Insurance in India?

Yes. Health insurance for NRI is designed for Non-Resident Indians and they can buy the plan for themselves and their families. It is highly recommended for NRIs who intend to return to India after three or four years to purchase health insurance for NRI in India. By doing so, they will not have the stress of investing in a Mediclaim policy immediately upon relocating. Moreover, the waiting period will elapse by the time they return to India, and they can file a claim right away for any treatment expenses incurred.

To purchase health insurance plans they have to submit documents like a valid address proof, the latest ITR returns, etc., to prove their Indian citizenship. Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) have to provide their passports to avail of the health insurance for NRIs.

What are the rules under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) for NRIs?

The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) regulations set the guidelines for issuing health insurance to NRIs. For any claim under health insurance for NRI, the claim amount payable can be up to the total premium amount paid in foreign currency. Also, the approved amount can be credited to either the foreign account of the insured NRIs or their Resident Foreign Currency (RFC) Account maintained by any authorised bank in India.

Why NRIs Should Choose Medical Insurance: Importance and Benefits

If you are a non-resident Indian, having health insurance for NRI while in India is as important as having health insurance coverage in the country of your residence. The benefits of medical insurance for NRI visiting India are:

  • No Geographical Restrictions

    Health insurance for NRI generally has geographical restrictions. If you already have a policy in the country of your residence, there may be no or limited coverage outside the specified region or country. However, health insurance for NRI in India has no such limitations and the insured can exercise the facility in any part of the country.
  • Adequate Coverage

    NRIs visiting India may face health issues necessitating extended treatment or hospitalisation. Ample insurance coverage is crucial for managing emergency medical expenses during your stay. NRI Health Insurance India offers tailored coverage, including high sum assured and personal accident cover, ensuring financial security for unforeseen health challenges.
  • Easy Claim Processing

    The claim settlement is a breeze if the health insurance for NRI is bought from an insurance company in India. Most Indian insurers offer cashless hospitalisation at network hospitals where the company coordinates with the hospital for approval and settles the bill directly. The NRI will have access to the best of treatments without having to worry about the funding.
  • Tax Benefits

    Health insurance for NRI provides tax benefits along with protection against medical expenses incurred in India. They get a tax benefit# under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act 1961. However, the extent of the benefit depends on the premium paid and the income tax slab of the insured.
  • Continuous Coverage

    For NRIs visiting India frequently, having health insurance for NRI is advisable. This policy covers medical expenses during visits for business or personal reasons. With this plan, you are insured for each visit throughout the policy term, eliminating the need to purchase insurance for every trip. This ensures continuous medical coverage during visits without hassle. NRIs can also choose avail critical illness riders along with their term insurance plan in order to get an enhanced protection in case of a critical illness.
  • Benefit of the Waiting Period

    Certain health insurance plans include a waiting period clause for pre-existing conditions declared at purchase. NRIs planning to return to India should consider health insurance for NRI to fulfil this requirement. Upon return, they can immediately claim medical expenses without waiting. Waiting periods vary among insurers, making it essential to choose a policy aligned with future relocation plans.

Why Should NRIs Get Health Insurance in India?

As an NRI who visits India often, it is necessary to have health insurance for the reasons given below:

  • Access To Medical Coverage in India

    Health insurance plans purchased by NRIs in their country of residence often impose geographical limits, potentially limiting coverage even when extended. In scenarios requiring immediate hospitalisation with high treatment costs, foreign insurance plans may not cover all expenses. Thus, having health insurance specifically tailored for NRIs ensures comprehensive coverage during visits, guarding against unforeseen medical expenses.
  • Adequate Medical Cover

    If you are residing abroad and susceptible to specific health concerns like viral flu or gastrointestinal problems, you need to have adequate medical cover to treat these issues if they crop up during your visit to India. Your health policy purchased abroad may not cover the medical expenses incurred in India. Opting for the best health insurance for NRI in India ensures adequate coverage for such expenses during your stay in the country.
  • Get Continued Coverage

    NRIs visiting India often should necessarily have health insurance for NRIs. This ensures continuous medical coverage for every visit throughout the policy term. It also allows claims for medical expenses if you fall ill during these visits. In a nutshell, it eliminates the need to purchase insurance for every trip to India.
  • Available at Lower Premiums

    Health insurance for NRI is often provided with lower premiums. The healthcare costs in India, when compared to many other countries, are much lower. This is one of the main reasons for the cost difference, as it significantly reduces the liability for insurers in India. The other factor that leads to low costs is the probability of NRI claims being lower owing to their shorter stays. To avail of a cost-effective insurance cover, it is recommended that NRIs invest in the best health insurance for NRI.
  • Have An Easy Time Getting Your Claim Settled

    Many insurance companies provide cashless hospitalisation in-network hospitals, streamlining the claim settlement process. NRIs with health insurance customised for them can benefit from worry-free hospitalisation in India, as hospitals directly coordinate with the insurer for eligible reimbursements and settle the bill directly. At the same time, the claim settlement process with foreign insurance plans can be time-consuming.
  • Advantages of Waiting Period

    If you are an NRI and intend to settle in India after a few years, having NRI health insurance India is a prudent move. This is because most of the health insurance plans come with a waiting period of 2 to 4 years to cover pre-existing diseases. On return to India, you will not have to wait for claim eligibility as the waiting period will have elapsed by the time you shift to India.
  • Get GST Refund on Premiums

    In India, health insurance plan premiums incur an 18% GST charge. NRIs paying taxes in their country of residence can claim a refund on GST. To be eligible, they must be insured members, opt for GST refund at purchase, maintain a minimum one-year policy tenure, and pay premiums from an NRE account. They should provide a declaration, 6-month NRE account statement, and Tax Residency Certificate during the refund claim.

How can NRIs purchase health insurance in India?

Most insurance companies provide the option to buy the plan online. NRIs can purchase health insurance in India by following the simple steps given below:

  • Step 1

    Visit the insurer's official website and click on the ‘health insurance’ option.
  • Step 2

    Enter the required details like name, age, medical history, and contact details.
  • Step 3

    Select the health insurance plan for NRI you wish to purchase.
  • Step 4

    Make the premium payment online.
  • Step 5

    Upload the required documents.
  • Step 6

    The NRI health insurance policy will be issued.

What are the Terms & Conditions Applicable to Health Insurance for NRI in India?

The best health Insurance for NRI in India has ample benefits but it has some conditions as well. It is imperative to read the terms and conditions before buying the plan. The conditions that you have to look out for in the insurance plan are:

  • Geographical Limit

    Health insurance for NRI typically covers medical expenses within India. While some plans may extend coverage abroad, it is often limited to critical illness insurance accompanied by heavy copayments and high premiums. Keeping in mind this limitation, you should review the terms of the policy to ensure that the coverage available aligns with your healthcare needs both in India as well as abroad.
  • Limited Coverage

    The sum assured for health insurance for NRI in India is generally limited. As they do not reside in India it becomes difficult for the insurer to determine their authenticity. Hence limited coverage is available for NRIs and they may not be offered additional benefits like preventive checkups.

    Can People Living Abroad Buy Health Insurance in India if They Already Have a Policy From a Foreign Insurance Company?

    Yes. People living abroad can buy health insurance in India if they already have a policy from a foreign insurance company. Irrespective of whether they are covered by employer’s insurance or have purchased the policy on their own, they are eligible to invest in health insurance for NRI in India.

    Can People From Other Countries Who Live in Another Place Buy Health Insurance For Their Parents Who Live in India?

    Yes. Individuals residing abroad can buy health insurance for their parents living in India. They can either opt for individual health insurance or a family floater for their parents depending on their preference. Parents above 60 years old can be covered under senior citizen health plans that provide comprehensive emergency coverage and planned medical expenses. Can Non-Resident Indians Avoid Paying Tax on Health Insurance Bought in India? Yes. NRIs can avail of tax benefits for health insurance bought in India under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act 1961.

    Existing tax slabs, the NRI policyholders are eligible for tax deductions of up to Rs. 50000 in a financial year. The tax deduction limit for individuals is Rs. 25000 and for parents, it is Rs. 25000. If the NRI or his/her parent is a senior citizen, the tax deductions limit is enhanced to Rs. 50000. The NRI can earn tax benefits up to Rs. 1.00 lakh if both the policyholder and the parents are above 60 years.

    Is There Any Distinction Between a Health Insurance Policy for NRIs and a Mediclaim Policy for NRIs?

    Yes. There exists a distinction between health insurance and Mediclaim policies for NRIs. While health insurance covers in-patient hospitalisation along with pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses, Mediclaim policies solely cover expenses incurred during hospitalisation.

    They do not include pre-hospitalization costs such as diagnostic tests and imaging, nor do they cover post-hospitalization expenses like recovery treatments. However, they can be used interchangeably in some basic plans. It is necessary to understand the coverage conditions before buying an NRI policy.

    When Should Someone From Another Country Not Purchase Health Insurance in India?

    An NRI must invest in health insurance for NRI to cover medical expenses incurred while in India. However, some situations like the ones mentioned below do not require an NRI to have a health insurance policy in India.

    • When foreign insurance plans provide extensive coverage, even in India.
    • NRIs stay in India for a short duration, and their travel insurance covers medical expenses during that period.
    • When the NRI is certain that he/she is not going to return to India permanently anytime soon.


    Health insurance for NRI is a crucial investment in covering medical expenses for health issues that non-resident Indians encounter during their stay in India. Even if NRIs have a foreign insurance plan, it either provides nil or offers limited coverage in India. For comprehensive coverage, including pre/ post-hospitalisation and critical illness, buying an insurance plan in India is considered a wise decision.

    FAQs on Health Insurance for NRI

    Q. Can NRI get Indian health insurance?

    A. Yes. NRIs can get Indian health insurance provided they prove their Indian Citizenship with documents like valid address proof, the latest ITR returns, etc. The health insurance policy for NRI provides cover for medical expenses incurred during their stay in India.

    Q. Is Indian health insurance valid abroad?

    A. Indian health insurance is not generally valid abroad as the cover is restricted to treatment received within India. However, some plans do provide cover for treatment abroad only for life-threatening illnesses. These policies come with high co-payments and heavy premiums.

    Q. Which insurance is best for NRI in India?

    A. The best health insurance for NRIs in India has comprehensive coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, critical illness, cashless hospitalisation, and global emergency coverage.

    Q. What are the benefits for NRI in India?

    A. The benefits of health insurance for NRI in India are adequate coverage, no geographical limitation, tax benefits, cashless hospitalisation, low premiums, continuous coverage, GST refund, and the advantage of waiting period.

    Q. Can I buy international health insurance?

    A. Yes. You can buy international health insurance when you intend to travel outside India. These policies cover medical expenses incurred and emergency services during your stay abroad. It is essential to review the terms and conditions and choose a plan that aligns with your requirements.

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Francis Rodrigues Francis Rodrigues

Francis Rodrigues has a decade long experience in the insurance sector, and as SVP, E-Commerce and Digital Marketing, HDFC Life, manages the online sales channel, as well as digital and performance marketing. He has had hands-on experience in setting up sales channels and functional teams from scratch over a career spanning 2 decades.

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Author Profile Written By:
Vishal Subharwal Vishal Subharwal

Vishal Subharwal heads the Strategy, Marketing, E-Commerce, Digital Business & Sustainability initiatives at HDFC Life. He is responsible for crafting and ensuring successful implementation of the overall organisation strategy.

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We at HDFC Life are committed to offer innovative products and services that enable individuals live a ‘Life of Pride’. For over two decades we have been providing life insurance plans - protection, pension, savings, investment, annuity and health.

# Tax benefits are subject to conditions under Section 80D and other provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961. Tax Laws are subject to change from time to time.

1. Annual Premium amount ₹ 1869 for Male aged 35 years, Base Benefit, 10 years term, Regular Pay option, Sum Assured=10 lakhs, excluding Taxes & levies as applicable.


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