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  • Things That Are Not Covered Under Health Insurance

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Jan 05, 2022

    Health insurance is an essential in order to ease the financial burden that arises due to a medical emergency, surgery and critical illness. There are many health insurance plans offered by different insurance companies with different add on covers and benefits. You should opt for the policy that best suits your needs and gives you respite in difficult times, such as hospitalization of self or a loved one due to an untimely injury or illness. At the same time, it is important to know the kind of treatments and health conditions your medical insurance plan does not cover. Few of them are:

    1. Cosmetic Surgery

    A surgery of this kind is not life threatening or dangerous, thus Liposuction, Botox or surgeries of a similar kind are not covered under a health insurance policy.

    2. Pre-existing Diseases

    Now this varies from one insurance provider to the other. Some insurance providers do not provide cover for high blood pressure and diabetes, while some do. Some insurance companies offer cover for pre-existing diseases if the insured continues with the policy for considerable period of time such as 12 - 48 months. In case of some insurers, payment of additional premium will cover the insured for pre-existing diseases.

  • COVID-19 Vaccines: Who Should & Who Shouldn’t Take Vaccines

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 23, 2021

    The COVID-19 disease, which gripped the world during early 2020 after the rapid spread of coronavirus, has had detrimental effects on the world till now. Not only it has resulted in the untimely death of millions of people around the globe but also it ruined the economy of many countries. In India, the coronavirus has caused the death of more than 1.6 lakhs people till now.

    However, things are expected to improve after the vaccines for covid-19 were introduced by different countries around the world. In India, the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech released the covid-19 vaccines known as ‘Covishield’ and ‘Covaxin’ respectively. In January 2021, the Health Ministry of India introduced its plan to begin a vaccination drive to vaccinate the Indian population against this disease.

    However, not everyone or anyone is supposed to take the vaccine right away. In the first phase of the vaccination drive, the healthcare workers and frontline warriors against the covid-19 disease received the vaccine. Whereas, during the second phase, people above the age of 60, and those above the age of 45 with co-morbidities are being vaccinated.

    Both SII and Bharat Biotech as well as the Government of India have listed the risks and side-effects associated with the covid vaccines. Read on to know who should and who should not take the covid vaccine in India.

    Who can take the vaccine?

    During the second phase of the vaccination drive, the Government of India has allowed the people above the age of 60 and those between 45 to 59 with co-morbidities to take the vaccine. It means that anyone falling in this age range (barring a few exceptions which we have mentioned later) can take the covid-19 vaccine in India.

    Those with co-morbidities are required to submit a certificate of co-morbidity, duly signed by a registered medical practitioner, for taking the vaccine. This certificate can either be uploaded at Co-Win 2.0 by the beneficiary itself while registering for the vaccine or a hard copy can be submitted at any covid vaccination center.

    Here is the full list of co-morbidities:

    • Heart failure during the past year
    • Post cardiac transplant or Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD)
    • Valvular Heart Disease
    • Congenital heart disease with severe PAH
    • Coronary Artery Disease with past Hypertension or diabetes
    • Angina with past Hypertension or diabetes
    • CT/MRI documented stroke with past hypertension or diabetes
    • Diabetes or Hypertension for more than 10 years
    • Kidney/Liver/Hematopoietic stem cell transplant
    • End-stage kidney disease on Haemodialysis or CAPD
    • Current and prolonged use of oral corticosteroids or immunosuppressant medications
    • Decompensated cirrhosis
    • Severe respiratory disease requiring hospitalization in past two years
    • Lymphoma or Leukaemia or Myeloma
    • Cancer or cancer therapy
    • Sickle cell disease or Bone marrow failure or Aplastic anemia or major Thalassemia
    • HIV or AIDS infection
    • Persons with disabilities
  • Understanding the Delta Plus Variant of COVID-19

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 21, 2021

    The COVID-19 pandemic struck in December 2019 and since then, have wreaked havoc in the entire world. Till date, approximately 19 crore cases of Covid-19 have been reported across the globe, resulting in more than 40 lakh casualties. The spread of this disease reached its pinnacle by mid-2020 but slowed down a bit in 2021.

    However, just when the world thought that the end of the pandemic is near, a new covid variant named “Delta Plus” was spotted by the experts. This strain of coronavirus, which has been found in more than ten countries so far, is seen as a cause of concern among the health experts as it is believed to mutate rapidly and can transmit much more easily. Buying health insurance would be the great option in this pandemic to save your savings.

    Also, the doctors believe that the new covid delta variant can cause more severe symptoms in the infected patients, as compared to other strains. Continue reading to know all the information that is there in the public domain about this covid variant so far.

    What is the Delta Plus variant of COVID-19?

    The new Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 has been formed due to a mutation in the delta variant of the coronavirus, which is also known as the B.1.617.2 variant. As per the experts, the cause of this mutation is the delta variant acquiring the spike protein mutation K417N to form a new variant which is scientifically called AY.1 variant.

    According to the doctors, the new covid variant has almost 40-60% increased ability to transmit and can cause more serious symptoms in the infected patients. Also, the positivity rate as well as death rate can go up due to this variant.

    Where was this variant first found?

    The first case of the covid delta plus variant was found in Europe in March 2021. Since then, health experts around the globe along with the World Health Organization (WHO) have been keeping a close watch on the impact and transmissibility of this covid-19 variant.

    England was one of the first countries where the delta plus variant began to spread. Till date, this variant of the coronavirus has been found in more than 10 countries, including India and Nepal. As per the Union Health Ministry of India, around 300 cases* of Delta Plus variant of Covid-19 has been detected in our country so far.

    Apart from India, the cases of delta plus variant has also been found in the United States of America (USA), UK, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Japan, Russia, China, Nepal, and Poland.

    What risks does this variant pose?

    As we have already mentioned, the new Covid variant possesses 40 to 60% increased ability to transmit*. As per the WHO, “the delta plus and other circulating variants of the coronavirus pose a high risk to public health, as they have demonstrated an increased transmissibility”.

    Furthermore, the Government of India as well as health officials have declared this variant of coronavirus as a “variant of concern”. Also, this variant is believed to reduce the effectiveness of monoclonal antibody treatment technique, where an antibody cocktail of Casirivimab and Imdevimab is used to treat the patients infected with the coronavirus.

    As per the SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), the delta plus variant of Covid-19 is a cause of concern due to the following reasons:

    • Increased transmissibility
    • Strong binding impact on receptors of lung cells
    • Potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response
  • What Happens If You Delay Second Dose of Vaccination

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 21, 2021

    Coronavirus vaccine: What happens if you delay your second dose of vaccination?

    The COVID-19 disease that gripped the world during the early months of 2020 after the rapid spread of the COVID-19 variant had detrimental effects on the people and the economy. It led to the untimely death of millions of people across the globe and adversely affected the economy of many countries. In India, the number of deaths due to COVID-19 is more than 4 lakh to date. So, it is important to be covered with a good health insurance plan which can cover COVID-19 related expenses.

    However, the situation has started to improve, and the death rates are declining, after the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines by different countries around the world. In India, the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech released the two COVID vaccines labelled ‘Covishield’ and ‘Covaxin’, respectively. In January 2021, the Health Ministry of India started possibly the biggest vaccination drive anywhere across the world to vaccinate the Indian population against this disease. Vaccines have shown promising results in minimising the threat of the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease. The immune response to vaccines is so reliable that the public health department has started a mass drive to provide booster shots to frontline workers. The disease control and prevention departments are confident in the booster shots' effectiveness. However, the additional shots are only available to a selected group of people and will be made available to the general public following the authorisation or approval of the government.

    Gaining immunity against the coronavirus requires a person to get two full shots or doses of the COVID vaccine. The second dose of Covaxin can be taken after 28 days of the first dose, whereas for Covishield, the time between the first and second doses should be at least 84 days. However, due to multiple reasons, many Indians have missed the timeline for taking the second dose of the COVID vaccine.

    In this article, we will evaluate what can happen if you delay your second dose of COVID vaccination. But first, let’s look at some possible reasons that can lead you to miss your second dose of vaccine:

    1. Health concerns

    Some health concerns and recent complications can prevent you from taking your second dose of the COVID vaccine on time. As per the doctors, if you’ve contracted COVID-19 during the last two-month period, or if you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms presently, you should not take the vaccine shot.

    2. Pregnancy

    If you get pregnant after the first shot of COVID vaccination, your second shot might get delayed. Right now, there is not much data and additional information on how COVID vaccination can impact an expecting mother and the foetus. Hence, it’s advisable to consult your Ob-Gyn physician before taking your second vaccination dose during pregnancy.

    3. Unavailability of vaccine

    The unavailability of vaccine doses is one of the major reasons behind many Indians missing their second dose of COVID vaccination. Although the Government of India has initiated the biggest vaccination drive in our country, India's huge population means that we can't rule out inadequate vaccine supply.

    4. Lockdown

    The second wave of coronavirus in India was devastating. As a result, strict lockdowns were imposed by various state governments across the country, which prevented many people from going to the vaccination centres for taking their second jabs.

    What if you miss your second dose of vaccination?

    It’s never advisable to miss your second dose of COVID vaccination. You must positively try to get your second shot within the window mentioned in your vaccine certificate. If you fail to take the second shot, you may remain less protected from the deadly coronavirus. And in case you get infected with the virus, the chances are that the vaccine will not be effective.

    As per a statement from the Former Head of the Indian Council for Medical Research, the first dose of the COVID vaccine only does the “Priming” job. It means that it creates a booster immunity in a person’s body against COVID-19. However, complete immunity is attained only after receiving the second dose of vaccine within a stipulated period.

    Also, the partial immunity achieved from the first dose can diminish over time if the second dose is not taken. The majority of people who died after receiving their first dose died due to their vaccination being incomplete. Hence, it’s very important to get the two doses of COVID vaccination within the pre-determined period.

    And if, for any reason, you miss your second dose of vaccine, visit the CoWin app or portal and schedule your appointment for your second dose of vaccination as early as possible.

  • Black Fungus Disease: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 21, 2021

    The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic hit India severely. The Delta variant (also call the Indian variant) of the coronavirus, which is believed to be behind the rise of second wave of COVID-19 in India, spreads much faster and can have a very drastic effect on the infected patients. As a result, the positivity rate of coronavirus as well as the mortality rate is much higher this time around. Buy health insurance policy that provides coverage against all hospitalization-related expenses, including coronavirus and black fungus treatment.

    Even as India continue to struggle with the impact of COVID-19’s second wave, rising cases of black fungus infection among those recovering from the virus brought fresh concerns for the Government and citizens alike. As per the Central Government’s data, there were about 8,848 cases of black fungus infection in India on 22nd May, 2021. And these figures were spiraling at a rapid rate.

    Experts are calling this infection “A Pandemic within Covid-19 Pandemic”. As per the reports, number of people dying due to black fungus infection in India is steadily increasing. From black fungus symptoms, to causes, to its treatment, we have discussed everything you need to know about this disease in this article. Continue reading.

    What is Black Fungus?

    Also known as Mucormycosis, black fungus disease is a fungal infection which is presently seen in patients who are suffering from COVID-19 with co-morbidities such as HIV/AIDS, uncontrolled diabetes, and Mellitus cancer. If not controlled during its initial stages, black fungus infection can prove to be fatal for the patients.

    What causes Black Fungus?

    Black fungus or Mucormycosis is basically a rare fungal infection which is caused by a group of moulds or fungus known as Mucormycetes. These moulds are considered separate from plants and animals kingdom, and are found in plants, soil, water, decaying organic matter, and sometimes in animals and humans.

    As per the doctors, the primary reason behind the development of fungal infection in a COVID-positive patient is prolonged exposure to moisture during oxygen therapy. Use of ordinary tap water in flow meters of oxygen cylinders are also believed to cause black fungus infection. This can also be triggered due to the use of mould-tainted oxygen pipes and humidifiers.

    Who all are at risk?

    As per the Ministry of Health, black fungus infection in India is mostly detected amongst people who are recovering or have recovered from the COVID-19 disease. This infection can occur anytime to a coronavirus patient i.e. either during his/her hospital stay or several days to few weeks after discharge.

    People who have sinus problems or those who are on medications for lung problems are most susceptible to catch black fungus infection during the treatment of COVID-19. Besides, those who are suffering from diabetes, cancer, blood malignancies, and iron deficiency are prone to this fungal infection.

  • All You Need to Know About Co-Pay Health Insurance

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 17, 2021

    In the world of sky-high medical expenditures and sudden health problems, health insurance is undoubtedly necessary. A well-formulated health insurance cover gives you access to competent and quality healthcare facilities at all times. It helps you tide over medical expenses in a planned manner without creating a financial burden.

    However, they entail a considerable premium amount that deters many individuals from taking an insurance cover, thereby isolating themselves from the host of benefits offered by the health insurance policies.

    Insurance companies provide the health insurance co-pay feature as a part of their policy that you can use to reduce the premium payable amount. In this article, we shall discuss what is co-pay, its features, and benefits for insurance holders.

    What is co-pay in health insurance?

    The co-pay feature is an optional clause offered by health insurance companies in their policy. It is an arrangement between the policyholder and the insurance company wherein they share the medical expenses based on a mutually decided co-pay percentage. 

    This co-pay percentage is the share of medical expenses that shall be borne by the policyholder in the event of a medical eventuality covered by the policy. For example, Ananya takes a health insurance cover with a co-pay feature of 15%. She incurs a medical bill amounting to Rs. 1 lakh. With the co-pay feature, Ananya will have to pay Rs.15,000 (1,00,000 x 15%), and the insurance company shall cover the balance. 

    You may wonder, why would one take a policy where he/she has to pay out of their pockets? And why would the company offer such a feature?

    Benefits to the Insured

    • Reduced premium

    The insured pays a specific portion of his/her medical expenses under the health insurance co-pay scheme. This feature provides the insured person with a direct benefit in the form of a reduced premium amount which is otherwise quite significant. Higher the co-pay percentage, lower the premium amount.

    • Direct savings

    Health insurance policies are of a pre-determined tenure, and you have to pay the same premium amount irrespective of whether you file a claim or not. With a co-pay health insurance cover, you pay a relatively lower premium amount. If you do not have any claim during the policy period, you have direct savings in the form of a lower premium amount.

    Benefits to the insurer

    • Promotes honest customer behaviour

    Co-pay health insurance brings about a sense of ownership among the policyholders. It is common for policyholders to avail the services of expensive, luxury medical facilities unnecessarily and cover the expenses by filing claims with the insurance company.

    In co-pay health insurance covers, policyholders realise that they will have to bear a portion of the medical expenditure, even if nominal. The clause encourages them to opt for services that are necessary and reasonable. 

    • Reduction in misuse and fraudulent claims 

    Insurance companies are often faced with inflated medical bills and fraudulent claims due to a nexus between healthcare facilities, insurance agents, and scammers disguised as policy holders. In such situations, insurance companies have no choice but to pay claims for medical services that were, in reality, not rendered to patients. It creates a dent in the insurance companies’ profitability and operations. 

    With co-pay health insurance policies, patients know that they have to pay a certain sum of the expenses from their own pockets, which naturally keeps frauds at bay.  

  • Tested COVID-19 positive during pregnancy? Here’s what you can do

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 17, 2021

    India, went through a tough time during the second wave of coronavirus. The symptoms experienced by the infected patients were much more severe this time around. In fact, during the second wave of coronavirus in India, a greater number of middle-aged people (those who are aged between 30 to 50 years) and pregnant ladies got infected.

    As per a recent study by Oxford University, pregnant ladies who are COVID-19 positive and their unborn babies might face a higher risk of complications than what was known previously. Women with co-morbidities are at an even higher risk. In many cases, the virus affects the unborn baby by reducing the amniotic fluid around it.

    However, that doesn’t mean there is a need for panic. Not every pregnant woman, who is infected with the coronavirus, faces the same symptoms. Though, there could be some complications during the advanced stages of pregnancy as the immunity of a mother becomes weak during this time, mild cases of COVID-19 during pregnancy can be tackled at home with proper diet, rest, and exercise. Securing yourself with Health Insurance that covers covid-19 will be the best solution you have.

    In case you’re pregnant and have tested positive for COVID-19, here’s what you should do to keep yourself and your baby safe.

    1. Take all necessary precautions and follow Covid-safety protocols

    We all know that prevention is better than cure. Make sure you are following all COVID-safety protocols laid down by the Government. It includes practicing social distancing, staying away from public places, and avoiding meeting anyone who has possible COVID-19 symptoms. Also, wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizers whenever you touch any high-contact surface.

    It’s understandable that as a pregnant lady, you can’t avoid going out completely. You might have to visit your gynecologist or go out for antenatal activities. However, whenever you step out of your home, don’t forget to wear your mask, and take hand sanitizer with you.

    2. Don’t panic and stay positive

    Even if you’ve tested positive for coronavirus during your pregnancy, there is no need to panic. Don’t run immediately for hospitalisation as mild cases of COVID-19 can easily be cured at home with a few precautions and medications. Take proper rest and have a healthy diet.

    Another thing is you should stay as happy and positive as possible. This will not only provide you the strength to fight with the disease but also keep your child in a good shape.

    3. Isolate yourself. Get teleconsultation with your doctor

    It’s obvious that you would never want someone else in your family to get infected with the virus and suffer. The first thing you need to do when you notice the coronavirus symptoms in yourself is to get isolated. Do not let anyone enter your room except if there’s an emergency.

    Take regular teleconsultations with your doctor. Follow his/her advice strictly while taking your medicines. Keep checking your body temperature and blood’s oxygen saturation level every three to four hours. In case you notice anything adverse, inform your doctor immediately. Do not self-medicate in any case.

  • Steps to Calculate Health Insurance Premiums

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 16, 2021

    Premium is an essential factor that you must take into consideration before buying health insurance. This is because only if you pay it on time can you avail the benefits of your policy. It’s interesting to note that premiums for the same plan may differ across policyholders. While you can easily get a quote from your insurer, keeping in mind these factors can help you calculate health insurance premiums.

    Factors Affecting Health Insurance Premiums

    • Age

    It is a vital factor affecting health insurance premiums. Premiums increase with age. This is because the body is more susceptible to diseases and ailments as and when you age. The insurer thus covers a greater risk and hence charges you more.

    Therefore, it’s is advisable to buy health insurance when you are young and healthy. It will help you make significant savings.

    • Lifestyle Habits

    The lifestyle you lead has a direct bearing on health insurance premiums. If you are addicted to smoking or drinking, it will push up the premium amount. On the other hand, if you don’t, the insurer charges you less for the same policy offering the same coverage.

    Smoking and drinking increase the chances of falling ill, leading to subsequent hospitalization. With a higher risk element involved with these habits, you need to pay more to your insurer.

    • Coverage Amount

    Health insurance premiums are directly proportional to the coverage amount. It means higher the amount, higher the premium. To put it numerically, you need to pay more for ₹ 10 lakh coverage than ₹ 5 lakh.

    • Co-pay and Sub-limit Clauses

    Co-pay refers to the amount you need to pay from your pocket towards hospitalization bill(s), while sub-limit is the cap on expenses such as room rent, doctor’s consultation fee, etc.

    These clauses are there in health insurance plans to prevent misuse. A low co-pay and high sub-limit entail paying a higher premium.

    • Age of the Eldest Member in Case of a Family Floater Plan

    In case you are willing to buy a family floater plan which provides coverage to all family members, the premium amount depends on the age of the eldest member. More the age, higher the premium.

    • Pre-existing Ailments

    If you have any pre-existing ailments or diseases, premium increases. For example, if you are suffering from diabetes or hypertension, you need to pay more towards your health insurance plan.

    • Riders Opted For

    Health insurance riders are add-ons that you add to your base policy. Adding riders to your policy increases the premium amount to some extent. With riders, you can further fortify your coverage.

    Using Health Insurance Premium Calculator

    While the above steps can help you get an estimate of the premium you need to pay, a health insurance premium calculator makes the job extremely easy and fast. Today, almost all insurers have this calculator on their website, with the help of which you can get premium quotes effortlessly.

  • Include Critical Illness Rider in Your Plan

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 16, 2021

    A health insurance policy has become a necessity in today’s times. It protects the policyholder against the skyrocketing medical costs he/she may incur during a medical emergency. A standard health plan covers a range of expenses, including hospital’s room rent, doctor’s consultation fees, costs for medicines and diagnostic tests, etc. But, do you think having only regular health insurance is enough?

    Sedentary lifestyle and increasing complexities in our living standards have made us more prone to serious illnesses and diseases. In India, more than 5 lakhs people are diagnosed with cancer every year and approximately 24 lakhs people suffer from cardiovascular diseases. The treatment of such diseases is usually very expensive, and a normal health insurance plan may not cover it by default.

    It means that in case you contract a critical illness, your regular health insurance policy may fail to cover you adequately and you might end up losing all your life-savings. That is why, you must procure a separate critical illness insurance policy or attach a critical illness rider to your regular health insurance plan.

    It will keep you financially protected against some life-threatening diseases such as cancer, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and paralysis.

    Below are the five vital reasons to include critical illness rider in your health insurance plan:

    1. Coverage against several chronic ailments

    As mentioned above, the critical illness rider will provide you financial protection against several chronic ailments which generally include cancer, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, organ transplant, liver diseases, and paralysis, among many others.

    Though the number of ailments which is covered by the policy varies from insurer to insurer, usually a critical illness insurance rider helps covering all major life-threatening diseases.

    2. Fixed sum assured upon diagnosis

    Critical illness insurance plans are fixed benefit plans. It means that by attaching a critical illness rider to your regular health plan, you will become eligible to receive a fixed amount of money in case you get diagnosed with any critical ailment mentioned in the policy document. This sum assured will be paid to you irrespective of the actual amount you incur for your treatment.

    Also, this sum assured will be paid directly to you which means that you can use it in whatever way you need. For example, you can use it to pay for the treatment costs, medicines, diagnostic tests, and also for paying your EMIs and meeting daily living expenses of yourself and your family members when you’re not able to earn a livelihood.

    3. Tackle the huge medical expenses

    As mentioned above, critical illnesses such as cancer, heart attack, and kidney failure are usually very expensive to treat and care for. For example, average cost of treatment for cancer is estimated at ₹ 10 lakhs, whereas certain lung diseases can take up to ₹ 20 lakhs for treatment.

    In the absence of a critical illness cover, tackling such huge medical expenses can become next to impossible for a common person. Also, the critical illness insurance will ensure that you get the best possible treatment for covered diseases at the best healthcare facility around the world.

  • Health Insurance at Different Phases of Life

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Nov 10, 2021

    How To Choose Right Health Insurance At Different Stages Of Life?

    Today, a health insurance policy has become imperative for everyone. Rising cases of lifestyle diseases and constantly increasing cost of healthcare facilities have made health insurance a necessity for everyone. Apart from covering almost all healthcare expenses a policyholder may incur during a medical emergency, a health insurance plan also helps him/her avail regular health check-ups and income tax benefits.

    But, have you ever wondered if a specific health insurance policy is enough to provide you sufficient coverage for your entire life? The answer is “No”. As your health condition keeps on changing throughout your life, your health insurance needs also change accordingly. For example, a young person who is usually fit and healthy require a relatively smaller health insurance cover than an elderly person who is more prone to diseases and infections.

    In this article, we’ve tried to explain the health insurance needs of a person during the different phases of his/her life and how should he/she choose the right health insurance cover for himself/herself at every stage. Read on.

    When you’re young and single (in early 20s)

    During this phase of a person’s life, he/she is pretty healthy and barely has any responsibilities. That is why, a large health insurance cover is not required at this stage. Hence, you can take a standard health insurance policy with a coverage amount of around ₹ 2 to 5 lakhs. Additionally, you should also consider the points mentioned below:

    • Opt for a health insurance plan which fits your budget. As, at this stage of life, you are either not earning or have just started your career, paying high premiums for a health plan makes no sense.
    • If you can, go for a health insurance policy with higher co-pay or deductibles.
    • Consider your health condition and pre-existing diseases. If you have some pre-existing diseases or if you pay frequent visits to doctors, you should opt for a health insurance plan with higher coverage.
    • Also, consider your profession while choosing a health plan. If you’re in a profession which involves working in conditions which are hazardous for your health, opt for a plan with high coverage.

    When you are in your 30s or late 20s

    When you enter this phase of life, you will suddenly find a plethora of responsibilities on your head. During this stage of your life, you could either be already married or have started planning for your marriage. You might have even started thinking about having a child in future.

    Keeping in mind the number of dependents and responsibilities on you, you will need to increase your health insurance cover during this phase. Also, this is the time when you could be facing a lot of stress while managing your professional and personal life. Ideally, you should opt for a health insurance cover of ₹ 10 to 15 lakhs during this stage. You should also keep in mind the points mentioned below:

    • You should get regular medical check-ups to find out if you have any pre-existing diseases. It’s common to develop certain lifestyle diseases such as Type II diabetes, hypertension etc. in this stage of life.
    • You can opt for a family floater health insurance policy. It will provide comprehensive medical coverage to you, your spouse, and your children (if any).
    • If you’re planning for a kid, you should go for a health insurance plan which comes with maternity benefits and new-born cover. In case your health insurance policy doesn’t provide maternity cover by default, you can add it as a rider.
  • Second Wave of Coronavirus in India: Impact & Differences

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Oct 12, 2021

    The spread of coronavirus during the start of 2020 wreaked havoc in the entire world. More than a 100 million people got infected with the virus, resulting in the death of more than 2 million people. India was no different with more than 10 million cases and around 1 lakh deaths due to coronavirus. In fact, India ranked third among the worst affected countries after the USA and Brazil.

    When the coronavirus vaccine in India was launched on 16th January 2021, we all thought the pandemic days are gone and started to breathe freely. However, the joy was short-lived. The disease hit the country even harder in the form of the second wave of coronavirus. As a result, the number of coronavirus cases in India started going up rapidly and this time, the symptoms were even more severe.

    As per the official records, as much as 2,16,828 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in India on 15th April 2021. This was the highest number of cases recorded in our country in a single day till date. As a result, many state Governments including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Punjab, Delhi, and West Bengal announced either complete lockdowns or night curfews.

    A negative COVID-19 report obtained within 72 hours was also made mandatory by many state Governments for air travellers from other states of India. In this article, we have explained how this second wave of coronavirus in India has been different and more severe than the first wave. Continue reading.

    First wave vs Second wave

    The surge in COVID-19 cases during the second wave in India has been more rapid than the first wave during August to October last year. The cases rose at double the pace in the second wave of coronavirus in India. While it took 32 days for cases to rise from 18,000 to 50,000 during the first wave, it took only 17 days for the cases to rise from 18,377 to 50,000 during March 2021.

    The total number of cases being recorded in a single day was also much higher during the second wave. During the first wave, the highest number of cases recorded in a single day stood a little over 1 lakh. However, the number of cases in a single day during the second wave had touched the figure of 4 lakh.

    India becomes second worst-hit country in the world

    After the onset of the second wave of coronavirus, India overtook Brazil to become the second worst-hit country in the world. So, far the country has recorded around 3 crore COVID-19 cases, which keeps it only behind the USA (3.27 crore cases). India surpassed Brazil in terms of total number of COVID-19 cases only in April 2021 after staying at third position for several months.

    When it comes to the total caseload, Maharashtra remains the worst-hit state during the second wave as well, followed by Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Chhattisgarh, and Kerala. Along with the number of active cases, the fatality rate has also gone up during the second wave of coronavirus in India. The death count on 14th April stood at 4.22 lakh.

  • Room Rent in Health Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Oct 12, 2021

    A health insurance policy has become imperative for everyone today. Not only does it provide thorough coverage against the healthcare expenses the policyholder may incur during a medical emergency, but also it allows the insured person to avail free health check-ups and timely treatment for illnesses.

    However, you should remember that most health insurance plan comes with lots of terms and conditions. And you should be knowing these terms and conditions before buying the policy to avoid any rude shocks during the time of claim settlement. One such term associated with health insurance plans is “room rent limit”.

    Room rent limit is a common sub-limit found in many mediclaim policies. Before knowing more about health insurance room rent limit, let us first discuss what is room rent in health insurance.

    What is Room Rent in Health Insurance?

    When a person gets admitted in a hospital, he/she has to pay a daily rent or per day room charges to occupy a room or bed in that hospital. Room rent in health insurance refers to the coverage for these boarding charges or per day room charges that the policyholder may have to pay while he/she remains admitted in a hospital.

    Room rent largely depends upon the type of room and hospital a policyholder opts for. For example, room rent for a single or double occupancy room is more than a ward or a multiple-occupancy room. Similarly, room rent for private hospitals are much higher as compared to the same type of rooms at government hospitals.

    What is Room Rent Limit?

    Now that you know about the room rent, it would be fairly easy for you to understand the concept of room rent limit in health insurance. It is the capping or limit imposed on the coverage of room rent of a hospital by a health insurance policy. The room rent limit can either be expressed as an absolute amount or as a fixed percentage of the sum insured.

    In other words, room rent limit in medical insurance policy is the maximum amount of per day room charges a policyholder can claim when he/she gets admitted to a hospital. Any amount above this sub-limit will have to be borne by the policyholder himself/herself.

    For example, if your health insurance room rent limit is ₹ 5,000, then the maximum room rent you can claim under the policy is ₹ 5,000. In case the limit is expressed as “2% of the Sum Insured”, and you have chosen ₹ 5 lakhs as the sum insured, your room rent limit will be ₹ 10,000.

  • All You Need to Know About Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana

    by Almog Ramrajkar | Oct 04, 2021

    Time and again, the Government of India has taken steps to ensure optimum care and protection of its citizens. From bringing about developmental and infrastructural changes in the healthcare industry to providing social security through various subsidised health insurance  schemes, the Indian Government has left no stone unturned in showing concern for its citizens.

    Back in the year 2015, the then Finance Minister of India – Late Mr. Arun Jaitley – launched three social security schemes during the Budget Speech. All these schemes were aimed to provide social security to those working in the unorganised sector in India. One of these three schemes was Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY).

    Through this article, we have tried to throw some light on PMSBY scheme and what it is all about. Continue reading to know more.

    What is PMSBY?

    As mentioned above, the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) is one of the social security schemes which was launched by the Government of India during the 2015 Budget Speech in the Parliament. The PMSBY scheme is a Government-backed accident insurance scheme which provides protection against accidental death and disability to individuals between 18 to 70 years of age.

    This scheme is highly helpful in preparing an individual for unexpected emergencies by providing an accident insurance coverage of up to ₹2 lakhs at a highly affordable premium of ₹20 per annum.

    Key Highlights of PMSBY scheme

    The primary features of the PMSBY insurance scheme include:

    • Coverage for a year and is renewable on annual basis
    • Indians as well as NRIs can avail the benefits of this scheme
    • Provides coverage of up to ₹2 lakhs against death and full or partial disability caused due to an accident
    • The annual cover will remain valid from 1st June till 31st May
    • To avail the benefits under this scheme, each member will have to pay an annual premium of ₹20
    • Annual premium of ₹20 will be auto-debited from the beneficiary’s bank account

    What are the inclusions and exclusions under the PMSBY scheme?

    Here is what will be covered and what won’t, under the PMSBY insurance scheme:

    • Accidental death of the applicant will be covered by the scheme.
    • If the applicant dies by suicide, it won’t be covered by the scheme.
    • If the applicant dies because of murder, it will be covered by the scheme.
    • Permanent total disability, i.e. loss of both eyes, hands, or feet will be covered.
    • Permanent partial disability, i.e. loss of one of the eyes, hands, or legs will also be covered.
    • A compensation of ₹2 lakh will be paid in case of accidental death or permanent total disability. Whereas, in case of partial disability, a compensation of ₹1 lakh will be paid.

    Eligibility criteria for availing the benefits of PMSBY scheme

    All individuals belonging to the age group of 18 to 70 years can enrol themselves to avail the benefits of the PM Suraksha Bima Yojana. Both, Indians as well as NRIs can avail these benefits. However, the claim amount shall be paid in Indian rupees only.

    Below are the key points to remember regarding an individual’s eligibility for this scheme:

    • He/she should have an individual or a joint bank account in his/her name.
    • Aadhar number is mandatory for KYC purpose.
    • If an individual has multiple bank accounts, her/she can join from only one bank account.
    • In case of joint account, all account holders can join the scheme from the same bank account.
  • Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Leprosy

    by Santosh Kevale | Aug 30, 2021

    Leprosy, also known as Hansen disease, is a bacterial infection affecting a person's skin, nasal lining, and peripheral nerves. This disease has prevailed across the globe but commonly affects the residents of warm tropical and subtropical regions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are around 2,08,000 leprosy patients worldwide, mostly from Asia and Africa.

    One of the oldest diseases existing since biblical times, leprosy was always considered a highly infectious and dangerous condition. Till date, many leprosy patients across the world are forced to live in isolation and suffer social stigma. This article will talk about the causes and symptoms of leprosy, its treatment, and eliminate misconceptions surrounding the disease.

    What causes leprosy?

    Leprosy is caused by Mycobacterium leprae (M. leprae) or Mycobacterium lepromatosis (M. lepromatosis) which affects the skin, eyes, respiratory tract and peripheral nerves of the infected person. Skin lesions appear mainly in the colder areas of the body. The disease can spread through cough or sneeze droplets from an infected person or direct contact with an untreated leprosy patient.

    A person with a weaker immunity can get infected with the disease quickly. Children may be more susceptible to this disease than adults.

    What are the types of leprosy?

    There are several classifications of leprosy. The two main categories are the Ridley-Jopling classification and the World Health Organization (WHO) classification.

    Ridley-Jopling classification identifies the following five gradations of the disease:

    • Tuberculoid leprosy: Fewer lesions; some are large and numb with nerve enlargement
    • Borderline tuberculoid leprosy: More but smaller lesions with more nerve enlargement
    • Mid-borderline leprosy: Reddish plaques with moderate numbness and swollen lymph nodes
    • Borderline lepromatous leprosy: Many lesions with raised bumps, plaques and more numbness
    • Lepromatous leprosy: Several lesions, disfigurement, limb weakness and hair loss

    The number of skin lesions defines world Health Organization (WHO) classification:

    • The first form is paucibacillary; wherein there are fewer skin lesions with no bacterium seen on the skin smear.
    • The second form is multibacillary; wherein there are multiple skin lesions with bacterium seen on the skin smear.

    What are the symptoms of leprosy?

    Leprosy doesn't show immediate symptoms. The infection gradually develops into the disease, and it may take between one to 20 years for the infected person to show the first signs of leprosy, which include:

    • Skin lesions paler than the person's normal skin tone
    • Skin lesions with reduced sensation
    • Foot ulcers
    • Dry and cracked skin
    • Muscle weakness
    • Numbness in the hands and feet
    • Curled fingers
    • Facial disfigurement
    • Hair loss
    • Dry eyes, ulcers and maybe blindness

    Diagnosis of leprosy

    The doctor will first examine the patient for physical signs of symptoms of leprosy. Based on this, the doctor will conduct a biopsy on a small skin sample. This may be followed by a skin smear test to identify paucibacillary or multibacillary leprosy.

    The doctor may also conduct a lepromin skin test to diagnose the type of leprosy further. In this process, the patient is injected with a small dose of inactive leprosy-causing bacterium on the forearm. The skin patch will be observed after a few days. A patient infected with tuberculoid or borderline tuberculoid leprosy will show a reaction to the injection.

    Treatment of leprosy

    Leprosy can be cured if detected early. In 1995, the World Health Organization (WHO) introduced Multi-drug Therapy (MDT) to combat it. And this treatment is available for free across the world. Depending on the type of leprosy, the doctor may prescribe treatment for six months or longer, in case of severe leprosy. A combination of the following antibiotics is used for leprosy treatment:

    • Dapsone (Aczone)
    • Minocycline (Minocin)
    • Ofloxacin (Ocuflux)
    • Rifampin (Rifadin)
    • Clofazimine (Lamprene)

    For nerve damage, the doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as prednisone (Rayos), aspirin (Bayer), or thalidomide (Thalomid). However, since thalidomide leads to a congenital disability, it should be avoided by pregnant women or women who plan to have a child soon.

    Breaking the stigma

    For decades, leprosy has been considered a highly contagious disease and the patients are banned from society. Many are denied employment opportunities and thus lead a life in financial struggles and emotional turmoil. The social stigma associated with the disease prevents patients from getting treatment at the right time.

    In 1954, French humanitarian Raoul Follereau started the World Leprosy Day to honour Mahatma Gandhi's compassion towards leprosy patients. Across the world, the last Sunday of every January is observed as the World Leprosy Day to create awareness of leprosy. Besides, WHO has been working towards public awareness about leprosy and removing this social stigma.

    However, leprosy is not highly contagious. The disease is transmitted through direct physical contact with an infected person. Sitting next to an infected person or shaking hands doesn't spread the disease. Also, the condition isn't transmitted from pregnant lady to her unborn child. Contrary to the misconception, animals like armadillos, chimpanzees and mangabey monkeys may rarely transmit the bacteria to humans.

  • Health Insurance For Differently-Abled & Mentally Challenged Individuals

    by Santosh Kevale | Aug 25, 2021

    According to Census 2011 there are 26.8 million specially-abled persons residing in India. This essentially means that 2 percent of the population of the country suffers from some kind of disability, be it mental or physical.

    The government of India has taken several steps to ensure that disabled persons have health insurance covers available to fall back upon and to give an equal opportunity for benefits to all. Here is what you need to know about health insurance for differently-abled and mentally challenged individuals.

    Health Insurance Schemes

    If you or your family member suffers from a disability, the medical condition does not necessarily need to be an impediment towards obtaining a health insurance policy. The Niramaya and the Swavlamban Health insurance schemes are here to ameliorate your burden to a great extent. Read on to find out what the schemes are about.

    Niramaya Health Insurance Scheme

    The Niramaya health insurance plan has been introduced by the National Trust to help persons afflicted by diseases such as autism, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and related illnesses. The application fee for the Niramaya health insurance scheme is ₹250.

    When you want to claim benefits under this plan, your reimbursement will be made after the process of review of your application. You will be entitled to get treatment in the hospital of your choice and claim benefits of up to ₹1 Lakh in total.

    Swavlamban Health Insurance Plan

    This plan is a group mediclaim policy meant for differently-abled persons. The objective of the health insurance plan is to provide affordable plans to persons suffering from blindness, hearing disability, loss of motor functions, mental disabilities, leprosy and related severe illnesses.

  • A Complete Guide to the Benefits of ICICI Lombard Complete Health Insurance

    by Rajendhar Thogari | Aug 18, 2021

    The COVID-19 pandemic has made the entire world realise that medical exigencies can arrive anytime and cause a substantial financial setback that is often tough to handle. The continually rising medical inflation in our country and skyrocketing costs of availing healthcare facilities means that a single instance of hospitalisation can burn a large hole in your pocket and ruin your entire financial planning.

    However, you can prevent all this by investing in a reliable health insurance policy. In case of a medical emergency, it would cover most of the healthcare expenses you may incur, including hospital room rent, doctor's consultation fees, costs towards diagnostic tests, medicines, ambulance charges, and even post hospitalisation expenses to a certain extent.

    Though there is no shortage of health insurance offerings in India from different insurance providers, one plan stands out in the market - Family Health Insurance. True to its name, it can be the complete solution for yourself and your family members' health insurance requirements. Read on to know more about some significant features and benefits of this plan.

    What is ICICI Lombard Complete Health Insurance Plan?

    The Complete Health Insurance Plan by ICICI Lombard is a comprehensive medical insurance policy that can secure you and your entire family against unforeseen healthcare expenses. You can either purchase this plan only for yourself or include your family members under the family floater option. This plan comes with an option of lifelong renewability, and you can add your spouse, kids and parents under the floater benefit.

    You will also have the flexibility to optimise the coverage based on your precise healthcare needs by selecting add-ons such as maternity cover, OPD cover, critical illness cover, donor expenses cover, etc.

    Some other noteworthy features of this plan include:

    No limit on hospital room rent

    When you get hospitalised, you must pay room rent for staying in the hospital room with all medical facilities. Room rent of a private hospital can quickly run into several thousand rupees for each day. Standard health insurance plans usually put a cap on the coverage of room rent. In case your hospital's room rent is above that capping, you will have to pay the difference out of your pocket.

    However, with ICICI Lombard Complete Health Insurance Policy, there will be no capping or limit on hospital room rent. It means that in case of sudden hospitalisation, you can choose to stay in the room of your choice and avail the best possible treatment without worrying about the finances.

    No co-pay clause

    Under the co-pay clause of a health insurance policy, the insured person or policyholder is liable to bear a particular portion of the medical expenses incurred by him/her during a medical emergency. Usually, health insurance plans come with a co-pay clause, and the co-pay percentage is fixed at the time of policy inception.

    However, ICICI Lombard Complete Health Insurance Plan comes with zero or no co-pay clause. It means that in case of a medical emergency, the entire expenses incurred by the policyholder will be borne by the insurance company (except for non-medical costs).

    Coverage for pre-existing diseases

    Many health policies exclude pre-existing diseases from the ambit of their coverage. However, ICICI Lombard Complete Health Insurance Plan covers pre-existing conditions, albeit after a waiting period of two years. By choosing a sum insured of ₹3 lakhs or more, you will be able to get the coverage for your pre-existing diseases after two years of continuous coverage under the policy.

  • 5 Tips to Boost Your Oxygen Saturation Level at Home

    by Rajendhar Thogari | Aug 18, 2021

    The second Covid-19 wave has hit India badly, and it is believed to be more dreadful than the first wave. On May 6th 2021, India recorded a total of 4,14,000 fresh Covid-19 cases, which is the record single-day surge seen by the country. The second wave of the pandemic is spreading rapidly, and the symptoms faced by the infected citizens are much more severe.

    One of the most common and dangerous symptoms experienced by many Covid-19 positive patients is a rapid drop in their blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) level. As a result, they are facing acute breathing problems. Such a drop in SpO2 levels has been the biggest reason behind so many casualties during the second wave of coronavirus in India.

    In case of a positive diagnosis, or if you begin to feel breathless, we recommended frequent monitoring of oxygen saturation using an oximeter. According to doctors, if your SpO2 falls below 94%, it can be a dangerous sign. With or without a Covid-19 diagnosis, this doesn't mean that you should panic. In case you're unable to get a hospital bed and/or oxygen cylinder, you can still take steps to boost your blood's SpO2 level while staying at your home.

    Check out these easy ways to improve your oxygen saturation level from your home:

    1. Lie down in the "prone" position

    Proning is the best position to increase the oxygen level of your body. It is scientifically proven and recommended by most doctors as well as the Health Ministry of India. In this method, the person has to lie down on his/her belly with his/her chest raised using the support of pillows. You can place one pillow beneath your neck and two pillows beneath your shins and lie down on your stomach or belly.

    You can also lie on your right or left side or sit at a 90-degree angle in the "fowler" position and practice rapid breathing. When you notice a drop in your SpO2 level, we recommend remaining in the prone position for at least two to three hours. This will improve ventilation in your lungs, and hence, your oxygen saturation level should begin improving.

    2. Include more antioxidants in your diet

    Antioxidants allow your body to use oxygen more efficiently, thereby helping your blood's oxygen saturation level. Hence, you can include more antioxidants such as blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, blackberries, kidney beans, plums, and artichoke hearts in your daily diet to maintain your SpO2 level.

    You can also consider having foods rich in fatty acids and Vitamin F. These foods work to increase the capacity of the haemoglobin in your bloodstream to carry oxygen. Iron-rich foods such as green vegetables, apples, legumes, fish, poultry etc. also help by strengthening the red blood cells of your body.

    3. Practice slow and deep breathing

    Your breathing pattern can have a vast effect on your blood's oxygen saturation level. By changing your breathing style, you can provide a significant boost to your blood's SpO2 level. Recently, doctors and scientists have discovered that those who breathe using their upper chest and inhale less air experience reduced oxygen levels in their bodies.

    Therefore, the correct breathing method involves slow and deep inhaling, using your diaphragm and not your chest. This will allow you to inhale as much air as possible, and hence, your body will be able to get more oxygen. Also, it's better to breathe from your nose rather than the mouth.

    4. Drink lots of fluid

    Keeping yourself hydrated is another important method to improve your blood's oxygen saturation level. When you drink lots of water, your lungs remain properly hydrated, which improves their ability to oxygenate and expel carbon dioxide. Therefore, the oxygen saturation level of your body gets improved.

    Also, drinking 2-3 litres of water may improve your blood's oxygen saturation level by up to 5 per cent. Drinking lots of water also helps in regulating body temperature and boosting the immunity of your body.

    5. Try aerobic exercises

    Aerobic exercises not only act as a catalyst for your body's metabolic activities but also help in relieving breathing problems and improving your blood's oxygen saturation level. They help the cells of our body obtain and utilise the available oxygen better, thereby improving the SpO2 level of your body. They also increase your body's endurance and immunity.

    If you're Covid-19 positive, hard aerobic training is not recommended. What you can do is indulge in light exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling etc. If you are getting exhausted, don't fret. Take breaks and do your exercises for five to six minutes only at regular intervals. Sprint and interval training are the most recommended training methods to increase the oxygen level.

  • Things to Know Before Buying Health Insurance

    by Rajendhar Thogari | Aug 18, 2021

    Medical costs have been increasing at an alarming rate in India. As per reports, healthcare inflation in our country is rising at double the overall retail inflation rate. At such times, not having adequate medical insurance cover for yourself and your family members can prove to be a significant financial drawback for you.

    In the absence of health insurance, even a single medical emergency in the family has the potential to wipe years' worth of savings. Health insurance policies provide a protective shield against the hefty medical expenses you may incur if you or your family member needs hospitalisation.

    However, with many insurance companies offering a wide array of mediclaim policies in India, selecting the right health insurance plan can sometimes become difficult. To tell you how to buy health insurance for yourself, we've collated some critical factors regarding health policies in this article.

    By being aware of these factors, you can make an informed decision while purchasing a medical insurance policy. Let's get started.

    Types of health insurance plans

    The first thing you need to know before buying a mediclaim policy is the types of health insurance plans available in the market. Typically, there are two types of health insurance policies:

    1. Individual health policy
    2. As the name suggests, this type of health insurance policy caters to an individual. The premium amount for these health plans is calculated based on an individual's age, medical history, present health condition and inherent risks. You can choose to purchase a standalone individual health policy for yourself or buy separate individual health policies for different family members.

    3. Family floater policy
    4. Also known as a group health insurance plan, this policy is designed to cover the entire family under a single medical insurance plan. The sum insured of a family floater policy is shared by all family members covered under the policy. A family floater plan usually covers the policyholder, his/her spouse, dependent children and parents.

    The sum insured

    The sum insured is the maximum amount of money the insurance company is liable to pay to the policyholder in a year. It means that if a health insurance policy offers a sum insured of Rs. 5 lakhs, it's the maximum claim amount that you'll get in a year. In case your claim amount exceeds the sum insured of the policy, you will have to bear the extra expenses out of your pocket.

    It would be best to opt for the right combination of premium and sum insured while buying a health insurance policy. A policy with a lesser sum insured can prove inadequate during a medical exigency whereas, a policy with a very high sum insured may lead to a higher premium.

    The waiting period clause

    Being aware of the waiting period clause can help you make the right decision while purchasing a health insurance policy. The waiting period refers to the period you have to wait for before the insurer can cover your existing health conditions. Usually, the waiting period ranges between two to four years, depending upon the insurer and policy type.

    This waiting period applies to all pre-existing illnesses, including thyroid, diabetes, blood pressure, etc., that the policyholder may have before buying the policy. Some policies may also extend the waiting period clause to certain specific treatments and illnesses such as cataract, arthritis, varicose veins, etc.

    Hence, you must check the policy document's waiting period clause while buying a health insurance plan. It's best to choose the policy with a minimum waiting period.

    Cashless treatment facility

    Generally, all health insurance plans offer cashless treatment facility to the policyholders. The policyholder is not required to pay anything out of his/her pocket during hospitalisation at a cashless facility. All he/she needs to do is show the policy document at the hospital, and the bills are settled directly between the insurance provider and the hospital.

    However, this facility may not always be available at a hospital of your choice. Health insurance companies have tie-ups with the network hospitals where the policyholders can avail this facility. Thus, while buying a health insurance policy with a cashless treatment facility, you should always check for the network hospitals in your vicinity.

    It goes without saying that you should opt for the insurer which has partnered with the maximum number of hospitals and all major hospitals in your city. For instance, you can go for health insurance, which offers cashless treatment at more than 6500 network hospitals across the country.

  • Common Winter Ailments and How You Can Avoid Them 2023

    by Rajendhar Thogari | Aug 18, 2021

    By taking good care of your health and body, you can avoid serious ailments during the winters

    It's that time of the year when you sip hot cups of coffee or ginger tea while enjoying the foggy mornings and chilly evenings. While you look forward to being bundled up in your favourite winter outfits and relishing cosy nights under the blanket, you cannot ignore the fact that this season has a downside to it as well.

    If you fail to take proper care of your health and body, you can end up with severe ailments during the frigid winter months. A sudden drop in temperature can cause significant health issues such as bronchitis, pneumonia etc. What seems like a common cold or flu, in the beginning, can progress into a more severe illness if not taken care of properly.

    Read on to know about a few common winter ailments, their symptoms and prevention tips.

    Common cold

    This is one of the most common winter diseases, and most of us often ignore it, thinking it's due to the changing season. Though we are right to an extent, if this common cold or viral infection doesn't subside in two to four days, we need immediate medical help. Common cold can affect anyone, but children and senior citizens are more vulnerable to severe disease symptoms.

    Symptoms of the common cold:

    The common cold symptoms include headache, sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, and coughing. However, if the condition worsens, you may also experience high fever, chest congestion and breathing difficulties.

    Prevention tips:
    • Drink plenty of water and other fluids
    • Get adequate rest and sleep
    • Wash your hands frequently to avoid infection
    • Avoid outside food as much as possible
    • Wear multiple layers of clothing
    • Gargle with hot water or inhale steam


    Flu is often mistaken for the common cold by most people. However, that may not be the case every time. Flu, also known as influenza, is an infectious health disease that mainly affects the infected person's respiratory tract. The leading cause of flu is the contamination of the body with the influenza virus. It can last from 2 to 7 days, depending upon the severity.

    Symptoms of flu:

    Most of the symptoms of flu are similar to that of the common cold. A person suffering from flu may experience mild to high fever, sore throat, body ache, headache, nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, and cold. In some cases, patients may also experience pain in their ears and redness or itchiness in their eyes.

    Prevention tips:
    • Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing
    • Maintain a safe distance from people showing flu symptoms
    • Wash your hands frequently
    • Maintain respiratory hygiene
    • Exercise daily and consume immunity-boosting food


    Bronchitis is an infection in the person's respiratory tract, caused by Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Children or toddlers below the age of two and people with weak immunity are mainly affected by this disease. Bronchitis causes inflammation of the small airways in the lungs, causing breathing difficulties. If the symptoms persist for more than ten days, medical intervention is required.

    Symptoms of bronchitis:

    As mentioned above, the person suffering from bronchitis experience difficulty breathing due to the inflammation of airway passage in the lungs. Other symptoms of bronchitis include mild fever, wheezing, coughing, nasal congestion and dehydration.

    Prevention tips:
    • Get adequate rest and sleep
    • Drink lots of fluids to keep yourself hydrated
    • Wash your hands frequently
    • Avoid smoking and exposure to smoke, firecrackers etc.


    Pneumonia is another common lung disease which can occur during the winter season. Unlike other winter diseases, pneumonia is caused by a bacterial infection. You can usually treat it at home, but hospitalisation is necessary if symptoms get severe. Pneumonia can prove to be a life-threatening disease for children below five years of age and senior citizens.

    Symptoms of pneumonia:

    A person suffering from pneumonia experiences constant cold and high fever for several days. Other pneumonia symptoms include excessive coughing, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, heavy sweating, and shortness of breath. Though pneumonia symptoms can vanish in one or two weeks, weakness and fatigue can last for a month or so.

    Prevention tips:
    • Wash your hands frequently
    • Eat lots of fruits and leafy vegetables
    • Avoid smoking and exposure to smoke
    • Exercise daily to boost your immunity
    • Visit your physician if the symptoms persist


  • Decoding Colour Code in Health Insurance Plans

    by Rajendhar Thogari | Aug 18, 2021

    Among the several bottlenecks that have slowed the adoption of health insurance, complexity of products deserves a special mention. This is because the common man, more often than not, is not aware of the jargons used in health insurance or understands their implications in the working of a plan.

    To bridge this knowledge gap, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) has issued a fresh instruction to insurers, asking them to colour code policies based on their level of complexity. The diktat is aimed to aid consumers to know how easy or difficult it is to understand the policy.

    What is the Colour Code?

    The colour code of health insurance plans will be akin to traffic signals – red, orange and green. While a green colour implies that the policy is easy to understand, orange represents moderate complexity. Red, on the other hand, reflects that the policy is complex. The colours are based on a score ranging from 0 to 6.

    Health insurance plans with a score of 2 or less will have green colour, while those having a score of more than 2 but less than 4 will be coloured orange. A health insurance policy with a score of more than 4 and up to 6 will be red.

    How do Insurers Calculate the Score?

    To calculate the score, insurers take into account seven parameters:

    • Number of optional covers
    • Waiting period
    • Percentage of co-pay
    • Number of treatments where sub-limits are applicable
    • Simplicity of terms
    • Deductibles
    • Number of permanent exclusions

    All the seven parameters mentioned above would get an equal weightage of 14.28%.

    Score for Optional Cover and Co-pay

    A score of 0.6 would be allocated to one optional cover. So, if a health insurance policy has 6 optional covers, this parameter would get a score of 3.6. For co-pay, which represents the percentage of payment that the policyholder has to pay from his pocket, a score of 0.3 is given for every 1% rise in co-payment beyond 5%.

    Score for Waiting Period

    Every one-month waiting period would get a score of 0.15%. So, if the maximum waiting period is 24 months, then the score on this parameter would be 3.6. Waiting period refers to the time where the insurer doesn’t entertain claims for pre-existing ailments.

    Sub-limit Score

    When it comes to sub-limit, a score of 0.6 is allotted for every disease under sub-limit. So, in case a health insurance policy has 8 diseases under sub-limit, then the score allotted for this parameter would be 4.8.

    Scores for Deductibles and Permanent Exclusions

    For deductibles, which is the amount a policyholder needs to pay before the insurer starts paying, a score of 0.3 is given for every 1% of deductible in a policy. Hence, if a health plan has a 5% deductible, this parameter's score would be 1.5.

    A score of 0.6 is given for every permanent exclusion. Therefore, if a policy has 10 exclusions, the score for this parameter would be 6.

    For the final of the score towards a policy, the weighted average score of all the seven parameters would be added.

    The insurance regulator has also said that health insurance companies need to indicate the colour code on their websites for products they are selling and do the same while advertising so that customers can make an informed choice.

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