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Why India Needs To Buck Up And Follow Suit To The Western Countries When It Comes To Health Insurance

Jul 12, 2018 | 2 years ago | Read Time: 4 minutes | By iKnowledge Team

India may have scaled unbelievable heights in terms of rocket science and healthcare research, but it is still not mandatory for an Indian citizen to get a health insurance. Dismissal of such crucial aspects when it comes to health care is probably what accounts for high mortality rates and abysmal medical debt that most of the nation grapples with.

Credit: Dreamstime

As the government ignores the situation, so does the populace, even as the lack of medical and life insurance continues to put the lives of millions at risk. While Scandinavian countries and the US under Obamacare are the global yardsticks for all countries, the missing link here is proper dissemination, instruction and guidance— a problem that is more acute in rural areas, slums and lower income households. The gap is astonishing because on one hand, in keeping step with the rest of the world, Indian healthcare system in the private sector at least, has been increasingly its worth steadily. One the other hand, healthcare costs are on an all-time high, with a tendency to rise further.

But being the 6th wealthiest country in the world has not made India conscious enough to acknowledge the sub-par value of service provided in the public health sector. In 2012, a survey conducted by the Planning Commission showed that 250 million Indians live below the poverty line in India , of which 200 million people live in the rural areas. The lack of health insurance awareness in our country is baffling given the colossal problems it is capable of solving and in spite of the Prime Minister’s ambitious Modicare policy.

The chasm between public and private health care service

While the elite few enjoy state-of-the-art medical care by virtue of their comprehensive insurance policies, millions belonging to the poor and underprivileged classes, who need this care more, die due to inadequate financial backing required for advanced treatments in case of complicated disorders. National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO) believed that a primary reason for indebtedness among the poor and middle class is medical costs, often rendering them debt-ridden to the point of bankruptcy, Let’s face it, good medical care is expensive today. Even good income holders struggle with hospital bills.

Credit: WHO

With an inculcation of such habits, more people will be able to secure their lives, their family’s future and their own health through a plethora of insurance policies now available. Filling in these gaps which have no business existing in an age where information travels fast, would help instill good saving and investment habits among the citizens.

Let’s dig deeper into the lack of awareness of health insurance in India and what we should do to catch up with our global counterparts.

Credit: Livemint

While most countries mandate the use of health insurance to finance all medical expenditures, an astonishingly large section of our population believes that health insurance is not a worthy investment which breeds further avoidance or skepticism regarding such insurance products.

While most avail loans in times of medical emergencies, others sell their assets in order to settle medical expenditures, when it is unnecessary and easily avoidable with simple steps. It is baffling how easily we ignore the need for insurance while being acutely aware of the need to secure healthcare costs in the face of rising prices. Proper guidance in this case could do wonders, by taking the common man through all the effective steps that can prepare them for uncertain illnesses in the future, and the financial ramifications of the same.

Awareness is key

The covalent bond between poverty and bad health is crucial in determining the nation’s health, stability and development in the long run. But the ground reality is important to consider in this respect, while illiteracy is rampant among certain sectors of the population, the problem is also compounded by the lack of media infiltration in these areas and the absence of comprehensive financial education and awareness initiatives on the part of the local government. Even if relevant schemes are implemented by the government, the information often does not reach them. Education and exposure are pivotal in promoting the perks of health insurance to those who need it the most.

The burdens of existing loans naturally makes such people reluctant to consider buying credit policies that are actually issued in their interest. One way to remove this impediment is to work on the tactics deployed for generating financial awareness. “Lack of insurance awareness has proved to be one of the hurdles in penetration of insurance across the country. Therefore, in an attempt to enhance insurance awareness across the nation, IRDA is celebrating its formation day as Insurance Awareness Day on April 19 involving all stakeholders of the insurance sector,” states IRDA.

Brands should launch health insurance campaigns that are mindful, attractive and answers seminal questions in simple, transparent and monetary terms, preferably breaking it down to the nearest rupee. This will highlight the financial benefits of actually opting for a health insurance. By giving these people the reality check they obviously lack, campaigns, case studies and anecdotes might help them realize the cover they could get through health insurance schemes.

The graph above clearly shows how far we are from achieving a stellar health insurance goal. In such a light, it becomes very important to take comprehensive steps to make health insurance plans cover as much of the population as possible. Health insurance brands like Aegon Life are proactive in spreading the information about insurance, helping them understand the minor nuances of buying health insurance, decoding difficult clauses and the fine print—in simple terms, by debunking the enigma around insurance.

Advt. No.: IA/Jul 2018/4196


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