Health insurance tips for asthma patients

India comes first in the global ranking for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease cases and second for the number of Asthma cases.

As per the Global Burden Disease Study 2016, there are 93.5 million patients in India with Asthma and COPD. Increasing urbanization, poor infrastructure, and worsening pollution levels only contribute further to this conundrum. Asthmatic patients are at a high risk of developing conditions. Hence, on-going and timely management is absolutely critical and, if the condition is managed properly, the patient can live a healthy life.

Here are some points a person with such a condition should evaluate before purchasing health insurance-

Know the coverage: As an asthma sufferer, one would need a health cover that funds the OPD spends, offer services of an experienced coach who can engage with the customer continuously to keep the condition well managed and just in case there is hospitalization also cover that. Txhere are such condition-specific health insurance policies which offer comprehensive coverage. Thus, before purchasing health insurance, you need to know which plan best suits you.

Consider out-of-take pocket costs: Health Insurance does not cover certain elements of medical costs.  There could be co-payments, deductibles, sub-limits, and non-payable items. Co-payment is a specified percentage of admissible claim cost that customer bears each time during a claim.  Deductibles are the amount one pays for covered services in a given year before the insurer pays, and non-payable costs are those which the insurance won’t pay. Sub-limits are caps on amounts payable for specified items in the policy coverage. Therefore, it becomes vital to understand these costs before buying a health insurance policy.

Check if OPD consultations are covered: When choosing between options, the information provided may not be necessarily sufficient to know which one covers asthma best. After narrowing down your choices of plans, it is recommended to call the insurance company to ensure if the doctor’s fees, medications, and hospital charges are comprehensively covered. A good health insurance plan covers the expenses of the numerous tests along with doctor’s consultation fee and the cost of medication even if the patient is not hospitalised.

Hassle-free treatment: Illnesses not only affect your financial state but also impact you emotionally. Asthma can make an individual go through the worst transitions while financial stress can cause depression. This depression usually hampers the recovery process. A good health insurance cover meets all the aforementioned asthma-related costs and aspects so that a patient can focus on his/her health and be comfortable that he is backed up by a financial safety net.  Please check that you are comfortable with the brand of the insurance company.

Check for other covers: There are products that offer services of a qualified Health Coach who guides an asthma patient to manage his/her condition well and ensures that he/she adheres to the treatment protocol.  Relationship with a ‘health coach’ is like that with a family doctor as personalized attention is given. The health coach instills discipline in life of asthma patient to take care of his/her condition. To sum up, it is important to take a smart decision while investing in a health insurance plan.  Invest in a policy that can be a partner with you in your health and ill-health.

This will not only provide comprehensive financial protection but also give peace of mind to you.

(The writer is Chief Actuary, Aditya Birla Health Insurance)

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