Health Insurance Needs in India
09 Jul, 2014 01:01 PM
Meenakshi does not have a personal health insurance (however her husband has one for her through his organization) and neither do her parents. Her father is a senior citizen already (above 60) with pre-existing conditions apart from the fact that he is suffering from a critical illness or potentially terminal ailment, cancer. So for him there are no chances of a health insurance, however, her mother is still not above 60. Recently there was an emergency related to her father where she had to hospitalize him, but even if he had a health insurance it would not cover his illness as it happened due to tobacco chewing! – One of the reasons eliminated from the clauses of health insurance coverage. Hence, she had to use cash and credit card.

So the question arises: do we acutally need a health insurance and if we do, how does it help us? As we saw in the above scenario, even if Meenakshi’s father had a health insurance, it would have been ideally of no use due to the reason for his disease.

Why should you take health insurance?

1. Because credit cards cannot be a solution always

Do you know that you pay an interest of anything between 20% and 44% per annum based on the bank it belongs to? Though the credit limit assigned to you is based on your credit history, mostly people in India get it between 1-3lakh. Unless you are a high net worth customer there are less chances that you will have a credit limit beyond 10lakh and an organ transplant in India in the current scenario, costs anywhere from 20 – 40lakhs. So f you have a lower credit limit, firstly it may not suffice your high medical expenses and even if it does you will keep on paying the outstanding for the rest of your life if you roll over the balance considering the higher interest rate. So there will be no other way out but pay it in full, but in that case, wouldn’t you rather pay the medical expenses in cash than get in to this mess?

2. Rise in road accidents is a major concern

Above all other health risks that family faces in present times, it is road accidents that kill most people in India. As per the Government data there is a shocking rise of road accidents in India since 2003, and as per the National Journal research in 2011 it is believed to reach a figure of 3.5 million road accident hospitalizations by 2015!

And, as per the recent statistics, there were more than 1.17lakh men killed in road accidents in 2013!

3. Savings cannot be a substitute for health insurance needs

If you feel that you would rather save the money than spend it on health insurance and gain a substantial amount after 20 years, you may just be wrong! You may think that you can get a health insurance only at the age of 50 when medical issues start creeping in, however, considering that fact that stress levels have risen in recent years, causing even young adults to fall sick for different reasons, your theory may not work the same way. Apart from the health risks at a younger age, the medical expenses surge frequently too, so by the time you decide to take up a health cover, the medical or hospitalization cost will be far more expensive than you had anticipated. Also, the rise in premium with your age is another factor that your savings may not be able to combat after 20 years.

4. Rise in Medical Costs

Though we take pride in the fact that there has been an introduction of advanced technology in terms of health facilities, treatments or medicines, however, at the same time the costs associated with them impact the common man. With all the patented drug practice coming up and the breakthrough procedures such as, biotechnology or genetic engineering, it is mainly increasing the concern of the middle-class and low-income section of the nation in the long run. Let us see how the average household expenditure on medication has seen a growth from 2005 to 2009, in Rupees:

Therefore, as per the analysis, we find that there is a sharp increase by almost 70% in the average household medical expenses, thereby emphasizing the need for health insurance. This is mainly due to three factors:

Increase in the cost of medicines and health facilities;
Increase in ailments due to a stressed lifestyle;
Increased per capita income

5. Diseases that play a role in the demand for healthcare policy

The fast paced life and the stress followed by it, is the major contributor to the onset of many lifestyle diseases even in the early years of a person. The dominant diseases are related to heart, high blood sugar levels, excessive weight gain and cancer followed by other prevalent diseases. As per Edelweiss analysis, there is a percentage rise projected mainly for heart, high blood sugar and weight gain cases by 2015 which will be 4.90%, 3.70% and 2.70% respectively. Cancer is believed to be constant at 0.30% by 2015. So, lifestyle related medical conditions formed 13% of the total ailments in 2008 and is forecasted to reach at 20% by 2018.

As per the new Government, there is a complete metamorphosis required for the health sector in India with the help of groundwork, modernization and latest technology. According to health minister Harsh Vardhan, they are going to introduce a revolutionary healthcare program on line with Obamacare. The prototype of the world’s largest universal health insurance program is evidently under development with his supervision.

The top companies offering health insurance in India:

ICICI Lombard
National Insurance Company
Cholamandalam DBS
Royal Sundaram
New India Assurance
Tata AIG
AG Health Insurance Company
Star Allied Health Insurance
United India Insurance
Bajaj Allianz Apollo

There is also a Government sponsored health insurance in India, which many may not know, that targets low-income households using package rates if agreed upon. In most of the plans the exchanges are completely cashless and use state of the art technology. This is most effective in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, followed by Himachal Pradesh ad Kerala.

Hence, we should comprehend the need for health insurance, which is the need of the hour and not depend on out-of-the-pocket expense which cannot be a reliable source at all times for most of us. Take advantage of any of the schemes that suits your budget and benefits you equally.
Source : The Indian Republic

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