As individuals and even as a country we are aware of the importance of health care. After all, we belong to a nation whose prime minister urged all nations to observe June 21 as International Yoga Day at a UN general assembly. Today, over 175 nations organize activities around yoga on this day. So, it might be all right to assume that we don’t just care about our health, but we also encourage people to care about theirs. Even in India, this day is celebrated with great enthusiasm with several initiatives planned in public places, schools, offices, and even housing societies. Now that we have established how much Indians value their health, it is implied that we do everything within our reach to maintain our health. One such thing is buying health insurance for ourselves and our families. Ironically, even half our population does not have health insurance. According to a 2016 National Sample Survey (NSS), more than 80 per cent of Indians do not have a health insurance policy. While experts point it to lack of awareness surrounding health insurance coverage, there are several more reasons why people in India do not buy medical insurance policies. Let’s take a look at some of the common excuses that people make for not buying health insurance plans.
There is a lot of awareness about life insurance in our country, but the same cannot be said about health insurance. Even today, several people bear medical expenses on their own as there is not enough awareness on the benefits of health insurance. Many people think that health insurance is only a means to save on tax. However, your health insurance not only covers pre- and post-hospitalization expenses but, in some instances, also pays for outpatient department (OPD) treatments. Therefore, it is important to read the fine print before purchasing your health insurance. The government as well as private health insurance providers are taking several steps to generate awareness about health insurance among the public.
One of the top reasons people don’t buy health insurance is because they feel they don’t need it because they are healthy. That is great news, but can you predict the future? Illnesses don’t come calling, and when they do, you will unfortunately have to bear all the medical expenses yourself. This can impact your savings considerably, and might even drive you to debt. Moreover, if you wait to buy health insurance until you are sick, your might have face problems getting covered for your pre-existing illness as most health insurance providers have a waiting period until they cover a pre-existing condition.
When we want to avoid a purchase altogether, even though in our minds we know that it is important, what’s the top excuse we give others or even ourselves? “I cannot afford it.” While living a life of frugality is appreciated, it shouldn’t be so at the cost of one’s health. Health insurance should not be treated as an expense, but, in fact, an investment that can tide us through bad times. While you may think that you are not able to afford health insurance when you are in perfect health now, will you be able to afford mounting medical bills later if you have diagnosed with an illness? If you set aside a few thousands every month for health insurance like you do for you car/home EMIs, your family will be thankful for it. Not buying health insurance puts your health and that of your loved ones at great risk.
A lot of people don’t invest in a health insurance policy because they think that paying for medical treatment is cheaper than buying health insurance. If you are of sound health today, your medical expenses might not be high, which makes bearing small medical expenses a more attractive option than spending a significant amount in a health insurance policy. However, as you age, the chances of falling ill increases, especially due to our mostly sedentary lifestyles, which can increase your medical expenses. Moreover, one might not be expenses incurred in later stages of illnesses, therefore it is recommended that you buy a health insurance policy now. Even costs that seem little now might not seem so in the future due to inflation.
As a way to show they care, most organizations today offer health insurance policies to their employees, however are these medical insurance plans always sufficient? The corporate health insurance plan provided by your employer may not be adequate in terms of coverage, and in most cases it cannot be enhanced. You might also not receive coverage for all members in your family. Apart from this, the health insurance policy offered by your employer will only be valid till your last working day in the organization. Once you exit the organization, your health insurance coverage ceases so even if you have been diagnosed with an illness the next day, you will have to bear all the medical expenses yourself. Moreover, if you have been laid off by your employer, not only will you find yourself without a job but also without a health insurance. At such a time, even a minor medical expense can impact your financial savings, therefore, it is always
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