A quick look at the numbers is sure to confirm your sneaky suspicion. It’s not just your father or your neighbour who suffers from diabetes, but in fact, a huge slice of the sugary pie that makes up our country is bearing the brunt of this lifestyle disease. To put it into perspective, India is home to 49 per cent of all the diabetics in the world! As of 2017, 42 million Indians were recorded as diabetics and what's worse is that by 2025, this number is likely to double as per a recent study. Recently, on November 14, we marked the World Diabetes Day. It’s important to give this medical condition your undivided attention, especially if the numbers presented by the 2015-2016 National Family Health Survey are anything to go by.
The survey suggests that incidences of diabetes are higher in high income level groups and lower in low income groups. While a sedentary lifestyle, stress and other inevitable by-products of a ‘better life’ may be to blame for a high incidence rate, you can do your bit to stay protected. Considering that the long-term implications of diabetes includes a laundry list of medical conditions spanning skin infections, cataract, nerve damage, Alzheimer’s and everything in between, it pays to look into diabetes insurance.
WHAT IS DIABETES INSURANCE?
In a nutshell, it’s a specialised insurance plan that is now available to you. It allows you to tackle incidental expenses related to diabetes in a more focussed way, just like a critical insurance policy does. Since the costs associated with diabetes medication and treatment are both high, and span over a long term, diabetes insurance may prove to be a worthy investment for you.
WHAT DOES it COVER?
If your lifestyle or family history puts you at a higher risk of suffering from diabetes, this policy is worth considering.
Typically, individuals between the ages of 18-65 are eligible for a diabetes cover. It covers hospitalisation for conditions arising due to diabetes, pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses, a diagnostic programme to monitor your health periodically, costs pertaining to the doctors' and other medical professionals' fees depending on the policy provider you choose.
SHOULD YOU CHOOSE HEALTH INSURANCE OR DIABETES INSURANCE COVER?
The simple answer is both. Supplement your regular health insurance policy with a diabetes insurance policy. This is important as the former usually has a waiting period as far as diabetes goes, ranging from 12 months to up to four years.
On the other hand, specialised policies don’t have this clause and more importantly, they offer comprehensive coverage for expenses that you are likely to incur.
IS DIABETES INSURANCE A PRICEY PROPOSITION?
It may seem like you are paying an awful lot, but there's good reason why. Medical inflation in India is on the rise, and with the rate of diabetics increasing manifold, the risk that insurance companies are bearing is higher. In effect, the policy costs more than your basic health insurance policy. But, if you fall under the high-risk category, it’s well worth the expense. Keep in mind that 10.3 per cent Indians are pre-diabetic, and the number is only increasing as the years go by. So, while you buy insurance to protect yourself from every untoward incident, give this oft-ignored policy a serious thought.
—The writer is the CEO of BankBazaar.com...