With the economy’s recent highs and lows, it is little wonder that people are stressed for time, money and health. According to world reports, India already has the distinction of becoming the diabetes capital of the world. Going by recent medical reports from leading hospitals, the country is set to become the heart disease capital of the world too.
Changing lifestyles: Indians are seeking greater affluence and have changed their lifestyle drastically over the past decade. Today’s corporate employees are falling prey to ailments such as strain injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, postural back pain and disorders, computer vision syndrome, osteoporosis, stress-induced conditions and gastrointestinal disorders. Corporate life today means jet-setting across the world, perhaps, with little time to spare for oneself. The digital age has ensured that people are connected to their offices all day and sometimes, all night, with the advent of smart phones, among others.
In addition, lifestyles and work habits have resulted in limited physical exercise. Enhanced levels of stress and poor food habits have lead to an increase in chronic ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, cardiac diseases and gastrointestinal diseases. This should be a cause of great concern for every Indian today. With health taking a toll, people must ensure that they are ready to face the future securely. That is where health insurance plays a vital role in India.
With globalisation and innovation in healthcare technology, medical treatments are becoming almost unaffordable and because of no or inadequate health insurance cover, Indians end up exhausting their savings while striving to save their loved ones. Health insurance is an essential cover. Health insurance should not be seen as a policy to have when one turns 40 years or above. It is a safety net that is required right from the beginning of a person’s career, given the kind of lifestyles being led today.
Buy health cover at young age: The advantages of insuring oneself at a younger age are plenty. Health insurance companies have waiting periods for several ailments in their policies. If a person purchases a health insurance policy early enough in life, these waiting periods are over well before he or she may need the facility, thus, ensuring coverage for all ailments and diseases. The ‘no claim’ benefit is also positive for younger adults with health insurance covers because they gain benefits from every year they do not claim any medical costs.
Health insurance policies, nowadays, also cover dental, maternity and OPD treatments, which is an essential for the youth who is vulnerable to injuries, accidents and other unknown exigencies.
Health cover portability: Last but not the least, the new regulation on portability provides an option to switch insurance companies. Customers can now move away from previous negative experiences and ‘shop’ for a ‘better’ insurance provider.
For customers, the portability regulation is a ‘win-win’ situation. Customers can choose quality products with benefits and features that are best suited for them, rather than just opting for the lowest premium products with least benefits. Customers can compare products and their benefits, waiting periods, exclusions and inclusions and then decide on the one that suits them and their families.
Customers can also move to another insurance company for higher sum insured levels, type of policy, such as individual to family floaters or even choose those insurers who offer a better and wider network of healthcare providers in the country.
Predominantly, portability is expected to raise insurance companies’ existing levels of service standards. It is imperative that portability should be viewed on a holistic basis, where insurers will be able to build transparency in their procedures and processes and can then proactively build up value offerings to ensure customer satisfaction.
To conclude, it can be said that in order to counter the changing dynamics of today’s poor lifestyle, an early health insurance cover is vital for every Indian. It will go a long way in assisting individuals and families in caring for themselves and stay healthy in the long run. Insuring one’s health early on in life is ultimately beneficial for oneself, one’s family and society as a whole.
(The writer is the CEO of Apollo Munich Health Insurance)