I have great news. The average lifespan of us humans has been rising over the last century. That being said the cost of Healthcare are rising. A 2018 report claims healthcare costs will rise at 2 times the rate of inflation. With the additional onset of lifestyle diseases and diseases linked to pollution maintaining your quality of life is a challenge. While modern medicine has become much more adept at increasing your lifespan and quality of life. The rising costs of healthcare mean you must protect your downside to take advantage of this bonanza. One of the best ways to protect yourself from exposure to heavy medical costs is Health insurance. Taking a health insurance policy for you and your family thus is a no brainer. But it comes with some additional benefits, besides protecting you in inclement times. Coming from the previous article discussing health Insurance. Today we will look at 7 additional reasons you need health insurance.
1. Premiums are deductible under Section 80D
We Indians always like a deal. We always look for the direct benefit plus something additional. Remember the time you buy grams at the fair? The man behind the counter will throw in a bunch of peanuts as a freebie if you give him decent business. So, what if I told you could squeeze your policy for just a teeny little bit more. If you come under the tax bracket here’s another great way to save on tax. Health insurance premiums are deductible under section 80D of the income tax act. Up to an amount of INR 25,000 a year in premiums can be deducted from your taxable income each year. So, you get the benefit of protection as well as reducing your tax burden. Now isn’t that a deal?
2. Lower rates for medical procedures
As funny as it may sound, healthcare for people covered by health insurance is cheaper. Hospitals and health insurance companies have pre-negotiated rates. These are significantly lower than the rates for a walk-in customer. And saying that you have a policy makes you eligible for those rates. Additionally, hospitals offer insurance companies all-inclusive packages for specific procedures. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t really have the expertise to know how much each medical procedure should cost. Or why there is a significant price difference for procedures among hospitals. Even if I did have the knowledge as an individual, I would be at a disadvantage. As an individual I have no bargaining power with the hospital. I am totally at their mercy. It helps to have someone fighting in your corner. Someone who understands the system and has the bargaining power as well. That person is your health insurance provider. Kind of like a Groupon deal. In my opinion that’s a deal worth having
3. Less Hassel to deal with
Have you ever dealt with hospital authorities on your own?. Its almost as bad as having a medical procedure done isn’t it?. Well, things don’t have to be so unpleasant. When you’re covered under health insurance, the affiliated hospitals will have either an insurance company executive or a Third-party Administrator (TPA) desk at the hospital. They are your friends. When you’re getting admitted to the hospital, inform the TPA desk that you are covered by medical insurance. Carry the health insurance card provided with your policy. The card will have the details of the person insured. Once you hand over the necessary documentation to the TPA, that’s it (at least in my experience). From there on it’s a tussle between your hospital and the Insurance company. Granted there might be cases where you’ll be left with a bad taste in your mouth (trying to stretch inpatient time, lack of 24×7 availability, etc.). But it’s better than being left with your jaw on the floor looking at prices, not knowing what a canula is. Besides I’m sure you’d rather be focussing on the treatment, for your loved ones rather than the cost of saline. Do yourself a favour and outsource what you can.
4. Cashless treatment / Easier to manage cashflow
What’s the first thing you say to someone when they inform you a loved one is admitted to the hospital?. Usually its” let me know if you need anything”. “anything” usually has a financial connotation to it. We all know how expensive hospitals can be and wish to provide some sort of financial aid. Even in cases of people having a great net worth, the money might not be immediately accessible. Let’s say your net worth is some INR 20L and your money is efficiently invested in stocks. In case you need to undergo an emergency procedure that cost INR 5L. and you realise this on Friday evening. Even though you have the money you won’t have access to it at least for the next 4 days. What good is that money to you. In cases like this health insurance can act as a cushion to buy you time to arrange your finances better. In case of exorbitant expenses it can help you defer the expense for a few days, for you to be able to move your money and pay for your treatment.
5. Free up brain space and energy to help the patient recover
When you are in the hospital or when one of your loved ones is in the hospital, you want to have the least amount of worries on your head. Least of all financial, worries. Private hospitals especially will limit treatment until they are convinced of your ability to pay. So that means, you need to figure out funds, sometimes it means you need to arrange and keep deposits before they proceed with treatment. I have also heard of annoying visits each day to give you a running tally of your bill. And ensure that you keep your deposit topped up. Kind of like a prepaid recharge. With Insurance all that goes out of the window. The Hospital will talk to your insurance agency and get the necessary amount authorised. Your Job is limited to ensuring that only the right charges have been billed. So, you can say goodbye to all the red tape and focus on you or your loved ones getting better.
6. The System fights for you
One of the biggest disadvantages of going to a private hospital as a walk-in patient is you don’t really know what the charges for a procedure should be. You don’t know what the room rates are or the mark-up on meds and procedures basis the room you select. All that goes out of the window when you have insurance (WARNING: Be careful, this is not true if you have room rate or room type capping in your policy). It is in the best interest of the Insurance agency to pay the lowest amount possible. So, the system will fight to ensure that your medical bill stays as low as possible. The second bit is the TPA has to provide relevant medical documents to justify the procedures being carried out. Now you and I might not have the knowledge of whether a procedure is required, but you can bet your ass the insurance company will. So, in line with everything else, the chances of unnecessary procedures being run on you reduce.
7. The option to pay your own bill
Yes, at the end of the day you can choose to settle your bill with your own funds instead of using insurance. Even though you’ve informed them you want to use your insurance you can pay the bill yourself and then claim it back from the insurance company if you choose to. This gives you the benefit of the cheaper rates for procedures available to the insurance company, as well as allows you to retain your no claim bonus. So if the bill amount is not significantly large and you want to avail of the no claim bonus, by all means, you can pay it yourself.
So get on the bandwagon of health insurance. The pros far outweigh the cons.
- Even if your company has you on their health insurance plan, buy a personal plan to cover you and your family. You never know what might happen in the current job scenario.
- Additionally, if you’re in Goa, sign up for DDSSY. The coverage to premium makes this a no brainer.
And on the side start investing in your health. Start eating healthier and exercising more. Spend some time in silence and in meditation. Each step will help you lead a more calm and sorted life.
Until next time
Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash
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