We Indians are very frugal with our money, and we don’t spend on just anything. Our regular expenditures are categorized and planned out in such a way that they minimize wasteful spending and impulse purchases. We don’t fall easily for advertising and we’re purely a value-conscious consumer base. But our frugality has led us to marginalize one very important purchase – health insurance.
Here’s why the following groups of Indians need health insurance and why they should not avoid spending on this important cover:
Corporate Employees in Big Cities:
Most corporate employees in the country have health insurance cover through a group plan purchased by their employer. While most of the group insurance policies are really great, there are some really bad plans that companies buy just to fulfil their obligations. Group plans offer no customization options and almost no family coverage. Because of this, a lot of Indians employed in the corporate sector have their own individual health insurance plans in addition to the cover provided by the company’s group policy.
Another benefit of having your own individual health insurance policy, even as a corporate employee, is that you can get one to cover exactly what you want covered. This doesn’t mean customized premium payments or coverage time, it means that since most health insurance policies don’t cover everything, it’s a good practice to talk to your insurer and either have your specific condition covered, or find a plan (among the hundreds on offer) that meets your specific coverage needs.
Don’t underestimate the need for a health insurance policy in the big city – it’s where you’re most likely to fall ill thanks to the ever-growing level of pollution and sheer number of people who could be carrying any number of diseases. Falling sick is a given fact – you will fall sick if you live in a big city, but you have the opportunity to have most of your medical expenses reimbursed through an awesome insurance policy.
A growing breed in India, working women have reduced financial stress in their respective households and contribute in a large way to the development of India’s massive economy. As such, they expose themselves to a lot more pollution and are susceptible to a lot more diseases than their male counterparts.
There are so many more potential health problems for women that health insurance companies have launched plans specifically designed to provide additional coverage for women. There are certain health issues that affect women only, and these plans make it easy to get the right coverage at the right time – and all at affordable premium rates.
Housewives / Stay at Home Moms:
Housewives have, and always will be, the backbone of this country. While it’s true that, traditionally, men have been given the opportunities to go out there and get work done, it’s their wives that kept a hot meal waiting at home. Without this, empty shells would be walking around trying to balance work, cooking, cleaning and literally everything else that keeps life going.
The only health insurance cover that most housewives in India have is off their husband’s health insurance policy (usually group insurance), which often doesn’t provide coverage for women-specific ailments and diseases. When you consider the fact that housewives don’t directly bring in any money for the household, and if they fall sick it’s going to be a big hit on savings, it becomes clear why it’s so important to insure this person under a comprehensive health insurance policy. This is quite a safe bet, as they aren’t as exposed to the elements, pollution, and germ-carriers as working women. That’s not to say they’re completely safe – illness can strike at any time and any place so it’s important to stay insured against losses that could arise out of this.
A massive demographic of uninsured people that need it the most. Usually, students have health insurance coverage which is a part of either parent’s workplace insurance policy. It’s important to note that most group health insurance policies don’t cover policyholders in case of medical expenses arising out of accidents. According to recent studies, a majority of road accident cases that result in hospitalization involve students. Students are more exposed to pollution and potentially germ-carrying people, as a huge part of the student experience involves walking the Earth and meeting new people.
Individual health insurance policies are the best and safest way to keep your entire family covered against a potential financial disaster if anything should happen. This is another non-earning member of the family, and hence an individual policy just for this person wouldn’t be as financially sound a decision as covering him/her under an individual policy taken by the head of the family.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have senior citizens – the demographic that benefits the most among all the others with a good health insurance policy. After you reach retirement age, you can’t work even if you want to. This means that you’ll have no income, and will survive on your life savings like so many seniors are doing right now. Old age is the time when the human body is most susceptible to disease and injury, which means that it’s almost a certainty that you’ll spend some time in the hospital.
Now it’s your choice whether you want to pay for your hospitalization or have an insurance company pay for it. Obviously, you’d want an insurer taking care of your medical bills – but what if I were to tell you that it’s nearly impossible to get a good health insurance policy if you’re over the age of 50? It’s true. The younger you are, the easier it is to get a good health insurance policy. You won’t have to take a battery of medical tests and your premiums will be lower as well. It’s important to get a health insurance policy which has lifetime renewability – which means that the terms on which you’ve taken the policy won’t change. You won’t have to pay any extra as you get older, and you won’t have to take any uncomfortable medical tests which determine your eligibility to take on a policy.
According to a recent survey in Mumbai, the cost for treating even minor illnesses has risen by over 400% in the last 3 years alone. These price hikes for everything from consultation charges to room rent to medical tests / scans and even medicine have happened subtly and without the general public’s knowledge. Taking a health insurance policy is one of those things you absolutely need to do right now. You don’t know how and when illness will strike, but at least you can be prepared to meet the cost of treatment, which is only ever on the rise.
GST rate of 18% applicable for all financial services effective July 1, 2017.
Disclaimer: Premiums may vary depending upon factors like age, location and prevailing taxes/GST.