Let us understand the importance of health insurance with a case study: Yamini, a risk manager at a national bank, recently had a sudden bout of high fever and joint pain. After being diagnosed with dengue, she was admitted to a private hospital for thirteen days during which she incurred excessive hospitalisation costs for platelet separation (which is needed for blood transfusion among dengue patients). She had to foot a bill of Rs. 1.2 lakh at the end of it.
Since Yamini had foreseen that her employer-sponsored insurance would not be enough to cover hospitalisation costs, she opted for an independent health insurance policy to help her cover any potential financial strain. She used her insurance cover to pay for her dengue treatment at the private hospital. Not everyone can anticipate hospitalisation or medical treatment. Would having a health cover benefit families in the long run?
Why is health insurance going to be essential in 2019?
Since you cannot anticipate reasons for hospitalisation, you may not be concerned with health insurance. Healthcare in India is not taken as seriously as it should be. Private healthcare costs about four times more than public healthcare. Here are the top reasons that health insurance is essential for you:
Preventive care and early intervention
If you are uninsured, you might avoid treatment for minor issues which can escalate into serious problems later. Preventive medicine and quick treatment are sure-shot methods to avoid expensive hospital stays. However, if you put off necessary treatment and wind up developing a serious medical condition, it might take a lot of effort for you to find health insurance when you actually need it.
Source: OrissaDiary.com (2018)
Rising healthcare costs pushing scores of Indians below the poverty line
India may be a hub for medical tourism, but ironically a large portion of its population is slipping below the poverty line due to highly priced medicine – mostly meant for cancer, injuries and heart ailments. Out-of-pocket health expenses pushed 55 million Indians into poverty in 2017. Out of these, 38 million were impoverished due to expenditure on medicines alone, according to a recent study. Medical costs are not expected to go down anytime soon.
The GST factor
Currently, products and services offered by clinics and private hospitals fall under the 12 per cent or 18 percent GST slab. Sale of healthcare equipment and services by hospitals and diagnostic clinics is chargeable to indirect taxes. Since these service providers are not meant to pass on these taxes to their final consumer (i.e the patient), they have no option but to incorporate these taxes into their fees charged to the patient. Ultimately this increases healthcare costs for the patient. To safeguard yourself from financial ruin, you can learn about the types of health insurance on the Liberty Health Insurance platform. The Liberty Health Connect policy offers various cover options from 2-15 lakhs with a flexible policy term.
Low government expenditure on public healthcare
A WHO report describes that the Indian government spends only 5% of its annual expenditure on healthcare. Low government expenditure directly implies low quality public welfare and higher out-of-pocket expenditure by people (since they opt for private facilities). According to statistics, Indians occur 70% or more of their medical expenses out of their personal savings. This is why you should be aware of the various types of health insurance. Health Connect Supra, a policy offered by Liberty Health Insurance, provides you with additional benefits on your existing basic personal or family health insurance.
Healthcare costs are skyrocketing
The actual treatment cost of life-threatening diseases, chronic illnesses and emergencies is high, to say the least. Procedures such as head and neck cancer surgery costs 2 lakhs, lung cancer treatment costs 4.6 lakh, each chemotherapy session costs Rs. 90,000 and heart by-pass surgery can cost more than Rs. 3.2 lakh in urban India. Healthcare inflation has hit double digits and this trend is unlikely to reverse.
Basic healthcare costs are climbing
Aside from the serious and complicated surgeries, even the cost of treating common ailments such as communicable diseases and circulatory system diseases have risen. However, the number of Indians who are protected through health-insurance has not kept pace with the rise in costs. Instead of anticipating bankruptcy, it is safer to invest in your health. Liberty Health Insurance offers maximum financial coverage with minimum premiums through its Secure Health Connect Policy.
One in four Indians above 30 are prone to lifestyle diseases
The risk of dying from a non-communicable disease for people aged between 30 and 70 in India is a high 26 per cent, according to the WHO. Indian males are even more susceptible to dying of these diseases than women. High blood pressure is found to be a major reason. Considering the global picture, India’s dismal health performance as a developing country shows that we are nowhere close to achieving good health indicators for our population.
India has the sixth highest number out of pocket spenders in healthcare out of 50 countries in the low and middle income category. This is because only 18 percent of urban Indians and 14.1 percent rural dwellers have any kind of health insurance coverage. The urban citizens are unduly reliant on corporate insurance plans which are mostly low-sum insured. To make the best of your time and ensure comfort for your family and yourself, it is best to be aware of the types of health insurance and avail of one to stay protected.
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius