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Business News/ Money / Personal Finance/  9.3 lakh lives lost to cancer in India, urging the need for comprehensive health insurance
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9.3 lakh lives lost to cancer in India, urging the need for comprehensive health insurance

As the number of cancer cases continues to rise, having a versatile and inclusive health insurance policy with sufficient coverage is becoming increasingly important.

With diseases like cancer on the rise, a comprehensive health insurance policy is the need of the hour.Premium
With diseases like cancer on the rise, a comprehensive health insurance policy is the need of the hour.

In 2019, India recorded approximately 1.2 million new cancer cases and 9,30,000 deaths, securing its position as the second-largest contributor to the disease burden in Asia for that year, as revealed in a recent study published in The Lancet Regional Health Southeast Asia journal.

This data on cancer is certainly alarming as it highlights the potential consequences of the cancer burden in India. The increasing prevalence of diseases such as cancer is placing substantial pressure on healthcare systems and personal finances globally, including in India. Given the considerable number of cancer cases and fatalities in 2019 alone, the necessity of having a robust health insurance plan becomes even more crucial.

Buying comprehensive health insurance 

As the number of cancer cases continues to increase, accompanied by the growing expenses in healthcare, the importance of possessing a versatile and inclusive health insurance policy with sufficient coverage becomes increasingly paramount. Such a policy can serve as a financial safeguard, shielding both you and your loved ones from the substantial burden of medical costs. Here are compelling reasons why giving it serious consideration is worthwhile. These include: 

Financial protection: Dealing with cancer often incurs significant expenses, including hospitalization, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and possibly other therapeutic measures. A reliable health insurance policy will shoulder these financial burdens, averting economic hardship and guaranteeing access to essential treatment.

Extensive protection: Choosing a comprehensive policy guarantees coverage for a diverse array of medical expenses, encompassing hospitalization, daycare procedures, ambulance services, diagnostic tests, and even alternative therapies.

Adaptability: One must opt for a policy that grants you the flexibility to tailor coverage according to your requirements and financial constraints. This could involve choices for co-payments, deductibles, and additional riders for specific critical illnesses.

Sufficient coverage limit: This signifies the maximum amount that your policy will reimburse for each claim. Given the escalating healthcare expenses, maintaining an ample sum insured is essential to prevent out-of-pocket costs. Periodically assess and modify your coverage limit to account for inflation and evolving medical requirements.

Considerations when purchasing all-encompassing health insurance

Possessing an inadequate health insurance plan can seem like a dual setback. Not only are you confronted with the possible financial strain of medical costs in case of need, but you’re also paying premiums for a plan that ultimately doesn’t meet your requirements. Before deciding to purchase a comprehensive health insurance policy to address your medical needs, be sure to examine the following crucial factors.

Coverage amount: The insurance coverage should encompass room rent, doctor fees, surgery charges, and other in-patient expenses. Seek plans that extend coverage to various room categories (single, shared, etc.). Additionally, check if these plans include payment for daycare procedures, as some policies cover diagnostic tests, minor surgeries, and other procedures that do not necessitate overnight stays. Pre and post-hospitalization expenses are crucial aspects to consider. Look for coverage for diagnostic tests, consultations, and medications both before and after hospitalization. If you lack a critical illness cover, contemplate adding extra riders for specific critical illnesses like cancer, heart disease, or stroke. Some plans also cover alternative therapies such as Ayurveda, Homeopathy, or Yoga. Opt for this if you prefer such treatments or are averse to hospitalization or allopathic treatment.

Adequate sum insured: Selecting an appropriate sum insured is vital to guarantee ample financial safeguard in the event of a medical crisis. This is pivotal as the chosen amount dictates the maximum coverage your policy will extend for each claim. Opt for a suitable sum insured by taking into account factors such as your age, medical history, family medical history, and the escalating costs of healthcare. It is advisable to consistently assess and modify your sum insured as circumstances demand. Additionally, it is crucial to consider the impact of inflation on healthcare costs to ensure the enduring value of your coverage.

Network coverage: Opting for a health insurance plan that encompasses an extensive network of hospitals within your city or travel range brings about numerous notable benefits for cashless hospitalization. Initially, these network hospitals maintain established affiliations with your insurer, reducing the necessity for elaborate documentation and claim procedures. Often, hospitals within the insurer’s network manage the pre-authorization process directly with your insurer, streamlining the process and saving you both time and inconvenience. The insurance company directly settles the bills with the hospital, eliminating the requirement for upfront payments and subsequent reimbursement claims.

Claim settlement ratio: When selecting an insurance company, a crucial factor to weigh is its high claim settlement ratio. This ratio reflects the percentage of claims that the company has successfully resolved within a given timeframe. While a ratio exceeding 90% is a commendable benchmark, there are additional intricacies to consider.

Policyholders should be aware of the two primary types of ratios: Claims settled by number and claims settled by amount. Both offer valuable insights, with the number ratio being more pertinent for individual claims, and the amount ratio playing a crucial role in assessing larger claims. Furthermore, it is essential to compare the company’s ratio with the industry average specific to the type of insurance under consideration. Opt for a company with a consistently high ratio over multiple years, indicating a sustained and reliable performance.

Added benefits: Search for insurance plans that include coverage for ambulance expenses up to a specified limit per hospitalization. Some plans specifically cover emergency ambulance services, while others extend coverage to both emergency and non-emergency situations. Examine the maximum benefit amount and any sub-limits associated with ambulance coverage. Additionally, explore plans that provide limited coverage for Outpatient Department (OPD) services, encompassing consultations, diagnostics, and medication. 

This coverage may come in the form of a fixed annual amount or operate on a co-pay basis. Assess your potential frequency of needing OPD services and determine whether the offered coverage meets your requirements. Don’t overlook the wellness programs offered by some insurance providers. Many insurers feature wellness programs with perks such as complimentary health checkups, discounts on gym memberships, or access to online health resources. Evaluate these specific benefits and consider how you can leverage them to enhance your overall health.

These factors are over and above commonly looked factors including premium charges, co-payments and deductibles, waiting periods, renewal clauses, and more. Buying comprehensive health insurance is a must in today’s times affected by various diseases stemming from myriad factors. 

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Published: 04 Jan 2024, 04:19 PM IST
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