The rise of lifestyle diseases and the need to review your health coverage

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The rise of lifestyle diseases and the need to review your health coverage
Increasing stress and the fast pace of modern life are taking their toll on people. One of the direct consequences is the rise of lifestyle diseases.

Lifestyle diseases, by definition, are health problems that are directly related to changes in one's way of living. They include asthma, cardiac conditions, cancer, osteoporosis, and kidney failure, among other things.

Lifestyle-related health conditions like diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol complicate matters further and increase the risk of lifestyle diseases.

Besides their effect on health, lifestyle diseases can damage your financial situation. After all, managing a health condition goes beyond just taking your prescription medicines regularly. It involves visiting the doctor frequently, going in for tests, scheduling yourself for expensive treatments. All of this costs money, especially against the backdrop of medical inflation, which runs into the double digits. For instance, somebody with kidney disease may have to go in for regular dialysis or plan for an expensive kidney transplant procedure. In trying to deal with his medical problems, the patient and his family may come under terrible financial strain, especially in the absence of adequate health insurance.

So, how can you combat their costs?

The entire point of health insurance is to protect you from the cost of medical treatments and procedures. But too many people in India still look at health insurance as a way to save tax rather than as a way to safeguard their savings. Since lifestyle diseases can strike anyone at anytime, it is crucial to examine your health insurance right away to ensure that you are prepared for any medical contingency. The following three-step approach can help you review your insurance coverage.

Step 1: Are you covered?

In other words, do you have ANY health insurance? Many salaried employees come under the group plan at their workplace. But not everyone has the security of employer-provided medical insurance. Moreover, in this day and age, it is essential to supplement your workplace health insurance with a separate health cover. Being uninsured is no longer an option.

Step 2: Is your insurance coverage adequate?

This is a more difficult question. People often mistakenly assume that the bare minimum of coverage is sufficient. But the dangers of underinsurance are very high. You might seek medical care under the assumption that your cover will take care of the costs, only to find the insurance amount running out sooner than you expected. Besides the adequacy of the overall cover, it is also important to ascertain inclusions and exclusions in your insurance-what is covered, what is not. Once you know all the details, it will become easier to determine whether you need greater coverage.

Step 3: Can you extend your cover?

You can boost your health coverage in a few different ways:

1. Extend your overall cover: You can go from, for example, Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh for a small hike in premium.

2. Purchase a top up cover or a super top up cover: More like back-up plans, these covers enable you to supplement your overall coverage at a minimal cost.

3. Buy critical illness cover: Such a cover provides a lump sum payment as soon as you are diagnosed with a critical illness.

Written By:  Deepak Yohannan
The author is the CEO of, an online insurance price & features comparison portal
For more articles by Deepak Yohannan, please visit
You may contact him directly on Twitter: @dyohannan

Read more about: health insurance
Story first published: Saturday, July 5, 2014, 8:52 [IST]
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