“Health is Wealth.” All of us are aware of this cliché; however, how many Indians pay enough attention to securing this wealth?
Unfortunately, not many!
13 crore Indians could suffer from lifestyle diseases ranging from diabetes, cardiac ailments to various types of cancer in the coming years. With Cancer treatment, on average, costing 10 Lakh rupees, treatment for Heart diseases costing up to 3.5 Lakh rupees, Kidney failure treatments, procedures requiring expenses up to 4-5 Lakh rupees, Organ transplants, surgeries, and replacements leading to costs between 4-18 Lakh rupees, how many Indians are adequately prepared?
“As per NSSO (National Sample Survey Office), among India’s elites (or top 5%), most people (98%) receive some kind of medical attention before death. However, when it comes to the bottom quartile (or the bottom 25%), a staggering 39% do not receive any medical attention before death. Many families opt not to go for any treatment even when a member faces a life-threatening disease. They are simply too poor to contemplate a long-haul hospital stay.” – Livemint.com
We can certainly take pride in improving our healthcare facilities to a great extent. Income levels have also substantially gone up, yet, can we claim that all medical facilities are equally accessible to all citizens, irrespective of their financial status? If yes, is everyone able to afford them without any adverse consequences on their financial well being?
- Majority struggles to afford the available healthcare without digging deep into their savings or taking out loans. Out-of-pocket spendings on medical needs are increasing, and in the last two decades, the number of people who spend on their own has increased from 60-80%.
- 31% of hospital admissions in urban India are either funded by loans or through the sale of valuable assets.
- Utilizing savings for medical expenses means many are left with no money to be spent on other necessities such as food, education or retirement planning.
- Consequentially, it leads to almost 6 Crore+ Indians moving below the poverty line every year.
Healthcare costs have risen sharply, the inflation is in double digits, and there is little relief in sight as this upward trend is likely to continue.
Health insurance is an agreement between the insurance company and the insured where the company agrees to compensate for medical expenses when the insured falls ill or has an accident resulting in hospitalization. In many cases, you get cashless treatment through insurance companies’ tie-ups with leading hospitals. In the case of no tie-up, the insured is reimbursed the cost of expenses incurred.
The insurance, to a large extent, takes care of your expenses such as tests, doctor fees, ambulance fees, hospitalization, post-hospitalization charges, including doctor visits, and medicines.
The Present Situation
- Less than 20% of Indians have health insurance.
- Many have Group Insurance, which is not enough for a four-member family.
- Only 5% have a suitable insurance cover per their age, family status and location.
- Many depend on low-sum-insured corporate insurance plans, and 60% accept that health coverage through their employer may prove inadequate.
Need for Health Insurance
Our drastic lifestyle changes, hectic work schedules, improper eating habits and rising pollution levels have made us more prone to a variety of health disorders.
- As per a survey, 70% of the respondents considered health insurance as more important than life insurance.
- Health insurance protects you from and prepares you for rising medical costs.
- Provides peace of mind to you and your family members by ensuring little or no financial burden in case of any unexpected medical requirement.
- In many cases, you get cashless treatment.
- Depending on your insurance plan, you could also get pre and post hospitalization charges covered for a period of up to 60 days.
- Includes transportation charges as well.
- Can earn NCB (No claims bonus) in case no claim is filed for any treatment in the previous year.
- Some insurance companies may offer free medical checkups based on your NCBs.
- You get tax benefits. The health insurance premium paid is tax deductible as per section 80D of the Income Tax Act.
Eligibility & Documentation Required
- A mandatory health checkup while obtaining health insurance is not required for citizens under the age of 45.
- All applicants must disclose any pre-existing conditions like diabetes or hypertension.
- It is advisable to get a health insurance cover when you are young so that the premium remains reasonable.
- Should present the following documents with a Passport Size Photo while buying health insurance: Birth Certificate or 10th class mark sheet or 12th class mark sheet or Driving License/Passport/Voter ID.
- Must also provide the identity proof, address proof documents such as DL, Passport, PAN Card, Aadhar Card, Voter ID Card, Electricity/Telephone Bill and Ration Card.