Buy early only to benefit later

Rising healthcare costs and episodes of critical illnesses may pinch your pocket

There are several factors powering India’s robust growth. However, at the core of this progress lies the largely young population which, according to a Bloomberg report, will reach a billion by 2027, and will be the largest workforce in the world. Encouraging. But it all rests on a healthy population. To fuel the nation’s growth, one imperative decision the youth need to make early on in life is to be sufficiently health-insured.

Alarmingly, only 27 per cent of our population has health insurance. This, when one-third of India’s young population today suffers from lifestyle diseases. The major culprit — lack of awareness.

First of all, health insurance is not optional; it is essential. Rising healthcare costs, escalating medical inflation and increasing episodes of critical illnesses may leave you exhausted — emotionally and financially. So, be on guard.

Second, to reap optimum benefit, buy a health cover as early in life as possible. Why? Take a look.

Enrol early: This maths isn’t difficult. The maximum realisation of coverage can be sought when enrolled early. Some health insurers even offer benefits for early enrolment.

For instance, Max Bupa’s GoActive health insurance offers 10 per cent lifetime discount on premium for people who insure before 35 years of age. Besides, you save on your tax duties. Under Section 80D, health insurance assures savings of a substantial amount. A win-win.

Diseases hit us young: Lung, heart, cancer… you name it, and it will come knocking at your door. Stress and sedentary lifestyle have boosted the onslaught.

You cannot easily change your profession or completely refurbish the lifestyle that comes along with it. But what you can do is take a protective shield early on and cushion the damaging effects.

Expensive: Yes, healthcare is expensive, and medical inflation is sky-rocketing. Add to it, sudden assault of diseases. A wellness survey conducted by Max Bupa showed that 21 per cent of all respondents felt there was a strong correlation between financial stability and wellness. Hence, taking health insurance early in life ensures a ready plan for the future.

Corporate coverage: Nowadays, many corporates offer medical coverage. But mostly, the cover doesn’t shield you from everything. Hence, the need for additional health covers. For instance, hospitalisation may be on offer, but to what extent? Get your employee cover, but also go for your own cover.

Beyond hospitalisation: Health insurance not only helps you in times of hospitalisation, but also eases your OPD (such as dentist, ophthalmologist, dermatologist) and day-care worries. Maternity benefits are also covered. So are common diseases such as dengue and malaria.

The Max Bupa’s Survey showed that 60 per cent of the surveyors wanted preventive check-up to be a part of their health cover.

This consumer sentiment echos what insurers today believe in — driving health as a priority and laying equal emphasis on protective health processes such as counselling, screenings, vaccines, annual health check-ups and more.

Insurance on the go: Health insurance is essential while travelling abroad. Medical incidents may occur anywhere in the world.

Having health coverage will help you in case of emergency. It will assure ready availability of medical facilities and quick evacuation, if needed.

Wait it out: Imagine being hit by a disease which needs immediate operation, but your health coverage requires a certain waiting period.

So get yourself a cover earlier in life when you are not likely to be under any medical burden, and wait out the period. This guarantees immediate use of your health cover when under medical duress.

In today’s time and age, health insurance is not a superfluity; it is a prudent investment with long-term benefits for health, lifestyle and finance.

The writer is MD and CEO, Max Bupa Health Insurance.

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