By Shreeraj Deshpande, Head – Health Businesses, SBI General Insurance
Every year on September 29, the World Heart Federation (WHF) observes World Heart Day to raise awareness and educate the masses about preventing cardiovascular diseases.
In today’s fast-paced life, irrespective of how hectic our schedules are, we should take the time to focus on our lifestyle choices that ultimately affect our health, especially heart health. Small but consistent changes in our daily routine, like eating meals at appropriate hours, fitting in an exercise regimen, etc. can make a colossal difference. Coupled with these changes, if we can quit or avoid vices like, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, it will help us in improving our heart health.
We have all heard the saying “it is important to listen to your heart.” Yet, we tend to pay attention to our heart or other health issues only once we see the signs or experience an episode that pushes us to consult a doctor. This World Heart Day, we must therefore recognise the importance of taking proactive steps towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We should also be vigilant of cardiovascular diseases for our loved ones and ourselves.
Heart and fiscal health
Despite taking numerous steps to improve your heart health, uncertainties may still arise. Cardiovascular disease and the prognosis often take a toll on our savings. As a result, it is critical to have a robust insurance plan in place. This will equip you to take care of high hospital expenses with adequate sums insured (indemnity policy) to take care of the expenses.
Choosing the right policy
However, sometimes a regular medical indemnity plans may not be adequate considering the high cost of treatment and hospitalisation for heart diseases. It is important to be cognizant about the fact that critical illnesses require continued treatment even post hospitalization, which may include expenses of medications and travel costs, if you are opting for treatment in another city. It might even affect the person’s ability to work and lead to loss of income. Being adequately insured ensures that in the event of a medical emergency, you will have access to high-quality health care treatments.
In this scenario, it is vital to opt for a critical illness policy in addition to the existing health policy as it safeguards from any unexpected medical emergency and does not drain you financially. A critical illness policy provides a lump sum benefit on the first diagnosis of a critical illness. You can choose from either a standalone policy or a rider to the health insurance. It is also important to check for the cover it offers under the rider along with options like an individual plan or as a family floater, depending on your family members’ financial requirements and medical history.
Here are a few factors that you should remember while selecting a critical illness cover:
Benefits provided: A thorough research must be done for a well-trusted insurance company that provides the best-in-class insurance. At the same time, you should look for the benefits and ailments covered if you wish to add on a critical illness rider. This will help you to choose a plan that is suitable for your healthcare needs.
Insured amount: The history of family ailments must be monitored. Evaluating family health history can give you the insight you need while purchasing a critical illness cover with adequate coverage of the specific illness that runs in your family. Look at the illness covered in the policy so that you are certain to be secured.
Number of illnesses covered: As different companies have a different set of illnesses that they cover under their policy, make sure to look for the number of critical conditions covered under the policy.
Individual plan or Family floater: A choice between individual plan and family floater can be made according to the requirements of the members of your family. While making your decision, you must remember that a rider cannot be ported to other insurers, which is possible with a standalone critical illness policy.
Taking care of your health and safeguarding it should not be an afterthought. A sudden critical illness, especially cardiovascular diseases, can leave you financially vulnerable.
One must opt for a comprehensive health insurance policy along with a dedicated critical illness policy to mitigate financial risks. Before purchasing the policy, spend time and conduct adequate research on the factors mentioned above. This World Heart Day let us listen to our hearts and choose a healthy lifestyle and fiscal prudence for securing the future of our loved ones and ourselves!