Diabetes is gradually taking epidemic proportions in India. With 65.1 million people already suffering from diabetes and 100 million expected patients by 2030 (as per International Diabetes Federation), it should be closely watched upon. Mismanaged lifestyle plays the role of a catalyst in increasing cases of diabetes in India. Diabetes, if not taken care, usually leads to complications in foot, retina and heart. Type 2 diabetes patients are relegated to a sedentary lifestyle impacting physical, psychological and financial well-being of the family.
Financial impact of diabetes
A study by WHO (World Health Organization) throws light on how financially draining this disease is. The cost on medical bills expounds with complications that require frequent admission to hospital, surgeries and post-op care. In fact, low income family with an adult with diabetes, end up spending around 25% of their household income for treatment of diabetes.
Diabetes is an expensive disease and owing to its chronic nature and associated complications, possessing a health insurance plan becomes mandatory, especially for those of us who have family members suffering from diabetes.
Unfortunately, insurers are not very forthcoming when it comes to extending health insurance policy for such individuals owing to high-costs, as well as high-risk involved. This becomes a paradox situation.
Health insurance plans
This leads us to the next important question – What are the options available for insurance of diabetic patients in India? Sadly, health insurance options currently available exclusively for diabetic patients are quite less.
Regular individual and family floater health plans covers diabetes after a waiting period which can be anywhere between 2 and 4 years. Unlike diabetes-specific plan, your regular health plan may not cover diabetes across all stages and hence, is not as comprehensive.
However, you do have an option to add critical illness rider to your existing health plan if you wish to enhance your coverage later on. These plans come at a lower premium and may cost you between Rs 6,000 – Rs10,000 for an sum insured of Rs 5 lakh.
If you are covered by your employer under a group health insurance plan then it covers diabetes treatment (hospitalization and surgery costs) from day 1. However, the catch here is that the cover continues for as long as you stay employed with the company.
Choosing the best fit for you
People in the younger age group (25 to 40 years) and with a family history of diabetes must opt for standalone diabetes plan. It will be a notch costlier than the regular health plans but will offer extensive coverage and complete wellness management against diabetes. Early diagnosis and preventive health management is the best way to deal with diabetes, and standalone insurance plans helps you do exactly this. With preventive management system at its core, they facilitate regular check-ups and monitoring. They even provide web support to help you manage diabetes.
This feature comes in handy for internet friendly people with hectic schedule. On early diagnosis of diabetes these plans thrust upon managing the disease effectively and encourage you to practice self- control and undertake timely check-ups. Good health behavior is reinforced positively by rewarding which are usually in the form of discounted premium and complimentary check-ups.
For people with not so immediate threat of diabetes, individual plans work equally good as long as you have no issues with waiting period. You should consider opting for critical illness rider that covers diabetes alongside as type 2 diabetes can turn expensive in a jiffy. This may cost you dearly, if you don’t provision for it earlier on.
In India, diabetics have less choice when it comes to insurance. In most cases if you have already been diagnosed with diabetes and are on the path of critical treatment then getting insurance is near impossible. Again, senior citizens with higher probabilities of diabetes are refused standalone diabetes plan and in individual plan there is usually a long waiting period.
It is always better to buy a health plan early in your life so that waiting period has no impact, and you have a comprehensive coverage to manage your health efficiently. Don’t take diabetes lightly. Only good planning can be a life-saver.
* Regular individual and family floater health plans covers diabetes after a waiting period which can be anywhere between 2 and 4 years
* People in the younger age group (25 to 40 years) and with a family history of diabetes must opt for standalone diabetes plan
* Early diagnosis and preventive health management is the best way to deal with diabetes, and standalone insurance plans helps you do exactly this
* For people with not so immediate threat of diabetes, individual plans work equally good as long as you have no issues with waiting period
8 It is always better to buy a health plan early in your life so that waiting period has no impact, and you have a comprehensive coverage
The writer is CEO & co-founder, Policybazaar.com