Pandemic or not, comprehensive health insurance is a must-have
The current pandemic and the recent spate of natural catastrophes have served to raise the awareness and importance of various kinds of insurance even in the eyes of the layman. The innumerable anecdotes as well as news reportage on the exorbitant bills being issued by hospitals across the board have also served as an important reminder for one to have sufficient coverage, in addition to just having coverage.
It is in this background and considering the concerns of the general populace, that the insurance regulator, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority came out with a mandate for all general and health insurance companies to launch a specific health insurance product, catering to COVID-19 alone.
Such a move is laudable on part of the regulator, especially in light of glaring statistics recently reporting that only 4% of the patients hospitalized for COVID-19 were covered by insurance. However, it adopts a very myopic view of the importance of health insurance. Long before COVID-19 was even coined as a term, there have existed many diseases or scenarios where hospital bills have sky-rocketed and families’ fortunes have been turned upside down, trying to deal with the severe financial blow such a situation can lead to.
Therefore, a comprehensive health insurance plan has since long remained and continues to remain an intrinsic part of one’s financial planning. We spend a lifetime trying to earn a fortune but often overlook the importance of putting in equal thought and effort to preserving the same in case of very real contingencies, which seem distant but are happening in more households than one can imagine, every day.
Often, it is also cited that a person does not have enough earnings to buy insurance, not focusing on the fact that its is exactly in that scenario that it is needed all the more. It serves well to have a positive attitude and also hope that such contingencies never befall anybody, however, while doing so one cannot shy away from preparing for the same.
Why comprehensive health insurance?
A comprehensive health insurance provides coverage against all types of diseases, including COVID-19. Many of these diseases are even age-centric, or costing several lakhs of rupees even in today’s times and are prevalent in staggering numbers across the country, even if the reportage on them falls short as compared to the present scenario. It is to cater to such kind of contingencies that one must be adequately covered.
Further, addressing the consideration of COVID-19 alone for those people who may still not be convinced, the Corona Kavach policies which have been launched have a maximum sum insured of five lakh rupees, whereas, in many metros and cities with advanced healthcare, costs are going much beyond that threshold as well. This should be another reason to opt for a comprehensive health insurance.
Moreover, as important as it is to have medical insurance coverage, equally important are things such as choosing the right company and the right plan which provides an adequate fit based on the customer’s profile.
Often there is reporting of grievances against insurance companies and more often than not, it is because the customer has not been properly advised of what they were opting for or have not been advised on the right fit for them. It is essential for customers to know that not all medical insurances are the same and all of them involve some fine print, which needs proper understanding before one decides to shell out money for the same.
At all times, more so in the current ones, everybody is of course advised to adopt a ‘prevention is better than cure’ strategy. That does not imply one should not plan for a scenario where a cure may be required. It is difficult to resist the temptation to spend money on doing so, which could have otherwise been spent on getting some instant materialistic gratification.
However, insurance is an essential requirement which ironically, is better just spent on without having a requirement to use it at all.
(The writer is an insurance advisor for general, health and life insurance companies. You can reach him on firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn )