Why women need health insurance

Why women need health insurance

"Communities and countries and ultimately the world are only as strong as the health of their women," said Michelle Obama, former First Lady of USA.

While Indian women are reaching out and grabbing opportunities in every field, in the process, they may unknowingly make their health take a backseat. October, being the Breast Cancer Awareness Month, may be an appropriate time to educate women on the subject of health insurance, especially those which pertain to them. Typically, most women depend on their male family members to make financial decisions for them. This may make them unaware of certain factors that should be kept in mind when opting for health insurance.

A survey of household savings by market regulator Sebi revealed that, of 67.25 million people with savings in a bank account, only 7.16% were women. More and more women are becoming working professionals but parity of pay is still a concern. The average life span for women in India is 69 years which means they do need adequate savings to fund their medical expenses at the later stages of their lives. Hence, it is important for them to be adequately covered by an apt health insurance policy.

A host of policies are designed to cater to women, depending on their stage of life. While childbirth signals a welcome change in a lot of families' lives, the joy of bringing a new life into the world should not be dampened by a financial drainage. Depending on the hospital, charges for childbirth can prove to be expensive, more so, if the child is delivered via Caesarian-section.

General hospitalisation insurance do not cover maternity charges, but there are women-centric plans which offer various benefits that women can avail. Some policies also provide cover for maternal mortality, which refers to death during or due to childbirth.

A number of studies reveal that women are more likely to develop certain forms of cancer. For example, breast and cervical cancer are two of the most threatening diseases for women, which is why it is essential for women to have a cover for critical illness including cancer. This stands especially true if they have a history of cancer in their family.

Planning an insurance policy early on is the best way to ensure that your health is looked after for most part of your life. As women grow older, they are more vulnerable to a number of diseases.

Going into menopause, they are no longer protected from certain diseases by their hormones, which makes them more susceptible to illness, as well as increases their chances of developing cardio vascular diseases. For some women, menopause can be a tough time. It takes a toll on the woman's body which naturally affects her emotionally as well. There are some insurance policies that are exclusive to women which provide cover for psychotherapy and counselling which is a great help for women at such a trying time. Since insurance policies tend to get more expensive at that age; it is wiser to opt for such a policy as early as possible.

Only a handful of insurance policies will be able to provide cover for women quite like a policy designed just for them. Most such women-centric policies provide cover for almost all possible health complications a woman may encounter in her life.

These policies serve as a reliable cover. Although women tend to start investing early in life, this usually fizzles out after marriage and they often seek financial support from family. A comprehensive health insurance policy ensures that women policy holders are financially covered for any latter medical emergencies without affecting the household budget.

Investing in a good healthcare plan will be beneficial for women in the long run wherein they can take charge of their own health independently and be sure that their health is looked after.

Women are the driving forces of the family and are growing to be the driving forces of the country. With all the weight on their shoulders, they often tend to overlook their own health and well-being. Women should drive towards a successful and healthy future.

(The writer is Head- Product Development at SBI General Insurance)

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