Escaping health issues in a world fraught with uncertainties is akin to impossible. However, one can still mitigate the financial implications that come with health emergencies of this nature. Liver diseases are one such worrying trend among people of all age groups currently. Liver diseases are the tenth most common cause of death in the country, with a predicted one in five Indians likely to suffer from its consequence, according to the World Health Organization.
Considering the significant impact of critical illnesses like liver diseases on physical well-being and the financial burden they pose on individuals and their families, it has become essential to protect oneself with a robust health insurance plan. Therefore, on World Liver Day, let’s know about the comprehensive health insurance policy and critical illness coverage.
Importance of comprehensive health insurance with critical illness cover
In India, liver disorders are on the rise, with 10 lakh people diagnosed with liver cirrhosis yearly. Additionally, obesity has contributed to an increase in NAFLD, which now affects 40% of the population in the country and 25–30% of the global population, as indicated by several reports. To give some perspective on treatment costs, liver cirrhosis can range anywhere from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 30 lakh in metropolitan and Tier II cities, and transplant surgeries can cost over Rs 36 lakh in India.
Thus, to protect oneself from the financial burden of high treatment costs and medical inflation, it is paramount to invest in comprehensive health insurance along with a critical illness cover. A comprehensive health insurance policy covers expenses related to hospitalization stays, pre- and post-hospitalization expenses, advanced medical treatment costs and surgeries. It further provides flexibility to add a rider to reduce the waiting periods to 1 year, making them superior to standard health insurance policies. Additionally, adding consumables will benefit the policyholder against expenses such as needles, syringes, gloves, etc., which make for a considerable outlay of the final hospital bill.
Understanding Standalone Critical Illness plans
Critical illness plans are effective way to cover for the loss of income where a critical illness such as liver failure is detected. In such an instance, the insurance company pays a fixed lump sum upon diagnosis that can be utilized to meet any expense like medical costs that maybe occur in India or abroad, household expenses, paying EMIs, etc.
Things to Consider
- Determining the Sum Insured
As the cost of treatment for critical illnesses like liver disease may vary depending on the diagnosis, choosing a sum insured carefully is essential. Hence, selecting a higher amount will ensure that the insured can access the best medical procedures worry-free. It’s advisable to opt for a policy with a minimum sum assured of Rs. 50 lakh-1 crore due to the escalating healthcare costs.
- Review the waiting period
While buying a comprehensive health insurance policy covering critical illness insurance, it is imperative to gauge the waiting period, i.e., the period after which you can raise a claim against the health insurance plan. This may vary from 1-3 years. However, there are plans available now that offer a shorter waiting period. Also, purchasing it younger will help negate the waiting period and provide reasonable premiums due to the lower likelihood of severe medical issues.
- Organ Donor expenses coverage
Insurance companies also cover expenses related to organ donation, a possible treatment option in case of liver failure. Almost all health insurance plans also cover expenses related to organ donation. Few plans also pay for pre- and post-hospitalization expenses for the donor.
To conclude, as most cases of liver disorders show negligible to no symptoms, which, if untreated, can lead to severe consequences such as progression to cirrhosis, liver cancer, and liver failure, it is hence, essential to be completely protected with a comprehensive health insurance policy covering critical illness insurance. This will guard the family against the significant implications that can cause a major monetary setback. Therefore, compare the various policies online, evaluate the benefits, exclusions, and inclusions, claim settlement ratio, and always read the terms and conditions.
Written by Siddharth Singhal, Business Head – Health Insurance, Policybazaar.com
Disclaimer:The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent the stand of this publication.
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