By Rakesh Jain
Festive spirits are high this year, especially since it follows the COVID-19 prohibition of the past two years. People are eager to celebrate Diwali in a way that makes up for the muted celebrations in 2020 and 2021. However, as the days to the festival approach closer, we must be mindful and wary of one more thing associated with it – pollution. They are the after-effects of the firecrackers that burst during Diwali.
While the government issues multiple guidelines every year during Diwali, many of them are not followed properly, and as a result, people end up experiencing numerous health problems due to increased air pollution. One of the most visible aftereffects is the smog that lingers, long after Diwali, mostly over the northern parts of the country like the NCR region, certain parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Punjab. It is also important to note here that as per WHO, more than 90% of the Indian population lives in areas with air quality lower than the WHO standards.
While an increasing number of the population is taking preventive measures to curb carbon footprint and air pollution driven by awareness, a great deal of them is already suffering from medical conditions developed due to air pollution. Such conditions include damages to lungs, respiratory system, and other organs of the body. The symptoms include breathing difficulties, burns or respiratory attacks, asthma, throat irritation, etc. Lungs often bear the brunt, but what makes matters worse is that treatments like lung transplants are an expensive proposition, costing anywhere between Rs 35-40 lakh rupees.
It is, therefore, imperative for us to have a health insurance policy that will ensure best-in-class medical treatment for ourselves and our family in the event of an unforeseen medical situation. While choosing a health plan, make sure the opted sum insured amount is adequate to cover large medical expenses such as the cost of an organ transplant. The plan should also cover everything from organ donor expenses to pre- and post-hospitalization expenses and other vital features.
Here are a few key features to consider before purchasing an insurance policy:
Organ Donor Expenses – If you ever required an organ transplant, then having an Organ Donor feature in your health plan can be a blessing in times of need. It will ensure that the medical expenses of harvesting the organ from the donor is covered by the insurance company. This will give you peace of mind and allow you to focus on your health.
Pre-hospitalization and post-hospitalization – If you choose a health plan that includes pre- and post-hospitalization coverage, you can receive treatment for a disease or medical condition without stress. For instance, organ transplant is an extremely complicated surgery which may include pre-surgery fitness tests and post-surgery follow-up and medicines. With this benefit in your plan, you do not have to worry about arranging funds to cover these expenses.
Cashless benefit: One of the difficulties we face during hospitalization is paying the required medical fees and completing lengthy paperwork during medical emergencies. All these hassles can be avoided by using cashless treatment in which the bills will be paid directly by the insurer, without having you worry about it.
Hospital Cash Cover: There are many miscellaneous expenses that come with hospitalization and often you are required to pay in cash. Having hospital cash feature in your plan will ensure that you get cash-in-hand which can be useful to cover these expenses without having to pay from your own pocket.
Reduction in PED Waiting Period Cover: In India, it is common for people to develop respiratory-related ailments due to prolonged exposure to hazardous air. If you are already affected by any respiratory problem or any lifestyle disease (e.g., Hypertension, Diabetes etc.) that is considered as a pre-existing disease (PED), then including this cover will be beneficial. It will allow you to reduce your PED waiting period in your health policy and avail the healthcare benefit you need to get treated.
Double cover: It is nearly impossible to predict the expense of hospitalization in advance due to the enormous costs involved. Having a Double Cover add-on function will thereby relieve budgetary pressure. To ensure optimal financial protection, you will be able to use twice as much insurance for the same claim.
Unlimited reinstatement of the base sum insured: In order to reap the benefits of a plan, it is imperative to maintain the base sum insured amount during the policy year. Adding a reinstatement add-on allows you to restore the base sum insured amount as many times as needed for unrelated illnesses during the policy year. Therefore, you will be able to reap the benefits of your plan if your base sum insured remains intact.
(The author is CEO of Reliance General Insurance)
(Views expressed above are those of the author and not necessarily of financialexpress.com)