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  • 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

    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

    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

    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


    Norovirus

  • 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.

  • Have You Purchased Health Insurance For Your Parents? Look At These Benefits

    by Rajendhar Thogari | Aug 18, 2021

    A comprehensive health insurance plan will help cover your parents’ medical expenses as they age.

    As your parents grow older, they become more prone to illnesses and infections, and hence health insurance becomes a necessity.

    Your parents strive hard throughout their lives to provide a comfortable lifestyle and quality education to you. However, in their quest to provide for the family, they may end up ignoring their own needs. As a result, they may be left with minimal savings during the golden years of their lives.

    Therefore, as a responsible son/daughter, it becomes your duty to purchase a reliable health insurance policy for your parents. Many insurance companies in India offer dedicated health insurance plans for senior citizens, keeping in mind the unique medical needs of older people.

    So, if you haven't yet purchased health insurance for your parents, you should do so without any delay. Let's have a look at some of the benefits of procuring health insurance for parents.

    Tackle the increasing healthcare costs

    As the medical inflation rate goes up globally, healthcare costs are rising every year in India too. It means that in case your mother or father falls ill in the near future, you may incur greater expenses for their treatment that what you would assume as per today's treatment rates.

    However, a health insurance policy for your parents may help you tackle these costs. It typically covers healthcare expenses such as hospital room-rent, doctor's consultation fees, costs for buying medicines and other medical supplies, ambulance charges, etc.

    Medical coverage for elderly people

    Most standard health insurance policies provide medical coverage for people only up to the age of 65. It means that after this age, your elderly parents may be left without any medical coverage, which can be very risky.

    By buying a senior citizen health insurance policy, which offers coverage for senior citizens even after the age of 65, you can ensure optimal health coverage for your elderly parents. Some insurers even provide health insurance for senior citizens with an option of lifetime renewability.

    A high sum insured

    The healthcare needs of your parents might be very different from yours. They usually require some extra medical care since their bodies are more prone to infections and illnesses. Therefore, a sum insured sufficient for younger people might not be enough for their older counterparts.

    A senior citizen health insurance policy generally comes with a high sum insured, keeping in mind the additional healthcare needs of older adults. It allows the policyholders to get coverage of up to 25 to 30 lakhs. Some insurers even allow their customers to top-up their sum insured to ensure adequate coverage all the time.

  • How Family Size Affects Health Insurance Cost

    by Rajendhar Thogari | Aug 18, 2021

    You must take your family size into consideration, to get a health insurance plan that suits best.

    Hectic professional schedules, lifestyle, pollution and accidents are few of the several grim factors that can affect your family's health. The continually rising medical inflation and skyrocketing healthcare prices have made health insurance a must-have for everyone.

    Family health insurance plans protect you from high medical expenses you may incur due to unforeseen hospitalisation of any of your covered family members. Such plans typically take care of hospital bills during medical emergencies or planned medical procedures.

    However, before buying a health insurance plan for your family, you must know the impact of a family's size on the cost of the medical insurance policy. Although a larger family size may escalate the health insurance cost, it does not necessarily mean you will spend more to secure your loved ones.

    How to secure your family's health

    Below are the ways through which you can get your family's health secured:

    Buy individual health insurance plans for different family members

    The first option is to buy separate individual health plans for different family members. Below are the features of such plans:

    • The medical coverage is steady and well-defined. It will not be affected by the claims made by other family members.
    • Coverage is based on the age, health and habits of each member of the family.
    • You can avail medical coverage for anyone in your family with individual policies.

    However, having a separate health insurance plan for each family member can break your bank. Here, your family size directly impacts the premium amount as the number of policies you need to buy increase.

    Buy a family floater plan

    The other and more prudent option is to buy a family floater plan for your entire family. Below are the features of a family floater plan:

    • The medical coverage of other members can change in a particular policy term if one member claims expenses.
    • Children above a certain age cannot be included in family floater plans.
    • The premium is based on all the members covered in the plan.
    • New members can be added to a floater plan with at the time of renewal.

    Impact of family size on the cost of health insurance

    Larger family size does not necessarily mean higher medical expenses. A family of six people may incur lesser medical costs than a family of two, depending on the individual's current health condition. It means a healthy family of six people may utilise its health insurance only once during a year, whereas, a family of two people with existing health issues may need to use their health insurance multiple times.

    However, the size of a family does indeed impact its health insurance premium. The cost of a family health insurance policy goes up every time a new member is added.

    For a better understanding of how family health insurance works, let's study an example.

    Mr X wants to take a health insurance policy that gives coverage to himself, his spouse and two minor children. He gets an insurance coverage of ₹50 lakhs for the four family members combined. The insurance premium is based on Mr X's age since he is the oldest member of his family. It also factors in the other three members he is adding to the plan.

    Suppose, during a policy term, Mr X's wife requires a gall bladder stone removal. She utilises the family medical insurance policy, and the insurance company pays the bill of ₹3 lakhs for it. For the rest of that particular policy term, all Mr X's family members will be eligible for medical claims of up to Rs. 47 lakhs.

    During the same policy term, say Mr X experiences a cardiac event and has to undergo an operation. The insurance company pays the hospital bill of Rs. 7 lakhs for it. So, for the rest of that particular policy term, Mr X's entire family remains eligible for medical claims up to ₹40 lakh.

    In this way, the remaining sum insured continues for the family on floater basis.

  • Everything About COVID-19 Vaccination

    by Rajendhar Thogari | Aug 18, 2021

    India has started its COVID-19 vaccination drive on 16th January, with healthcare workers getting the first jabs.

    2021 started on a promising note with the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approving two vaccines for coronavirus for restricted emergency use. This news brought a sigh of relief, given the virus's toll on all of us last year. With India starting one of the biggest vaccination drives globally, here are some of the finer aspects that you should know.

    Who Will Get Priority in the COVID-19 Vaccination Drive?

    Given our country's vast population, administering the Covid vaccine to all is undoubtedly a challenging task. However, the Government had set its priorities as per the following vaccination sequence:

    Healthcare Workers

    As per the National Expert Group for Vaccine Administration on COVID-19, public and private healthcare workers will get the vaccine first. These workers have been further divided into several sub-categories such as frontline healthcare workers, nurses and supervisors, support staff, paramedical staff, medical officers and students.

    The Government has collected and fed data on all these workers on its CoWIN platform, which it seeks to scale up in the coronavirus vaccination drive.

    Workers Associated With Armed Forces

    Next in the vaccination line come the workers associated with armed forces, state and central police department, municipal workers, revenue officials, home guards, disaster management, and prison staff. Note that all these officials are associated with the containment of COVID-19 and its surveillance.

    Vaccine for coronavirus will also be administered to workers associated with ministries of home, defence, housing and urban affairs.

    Population Above 50 Years

    Next in the line for COVID-19 vaccination comes people above 50 years of age. This group has also been sub-divided into two categories – above 50 and 50-60 years. The Government will use electoral rolls for identifying people in this age group.

    High COVID-19 Infection Areas

    States and union territories will have the flexibility to administer vaccines among identified priority groups in geographical areas with high COVID-19 infection prevalence.

    Rest of the Population

    After covering the above categories, the rest of the population will be inoculated. To avoid overcrowding, everyone will receive the vaccine in a staggered manner.

    Registering for Coronavirus Vaccination

    In the later phase of the vaccination drive, mainly while covering the rest of the population, a self-registration module will be available. To self-register, you need to:

    • Register yourself on CoWIN app
    • Authenticate using any Government ID proof or Aadhaar
    • Once you register, you will get a time and date for vaccination

    Note that there will be no spot registration. Only, if you are a pre-registered beneficiary, can you proceed for vaccination.

    COVID-19 Vaccination Sites

    Depending on the priority groups, sites have been identified where you will receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The sites are:

    Fixed Session Site

    This is a health facility (Government or private) where a medical officer or doctor is present.

    Outreach Session Site

    Session sites other than health facilities, such as community halls, schools, etc., fall under this category.

    Mobile Teams

    Several locations in India are remote and hard to reach. Special mobile teams, planned by the district administration, will reach out to such areas.

    Three Rooms of Vaccination

    There are three dedicated rooms for COVID-19 vaccination. They are:

    Waiting room

    You need to wait your turn in this room.

    Vaccine room

    You will be given the vaccine in this room.

    Observation room

    After receiving the vaccine, you will be kept under observation in this room for half an hour, post which you can go home.

    5-Member COVID-19 Vaccination Team

    A five-member vaccination team will conduct the vaccination process. The team includes:

    • Officer 1: This officer will be in charge of pre-checking registration.
    • Officer 2: This officer will be responsible for authentication.
    • Officer 3: The third vaccination officer will be in charge of administering the vaccine.
    • Officer 4 and 5: These two officers will be in charge of managing the crowd and observation.
  • Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana: Benefits and steps to enrol

    by Rajendhar Thogari | Aug 18, 2021

    With an aim to provide social security to the people belonging to the low-income groups, the Government of India launched AABY on 2nd October 2007.

    As per the Ministry of Labour and Employment data, approximately 93% of India's total workforce is employed in the unorganised sector. Workers belonging to these occupational groups often shy away from buying health insurance coverage due to their poor financial state. However, in case of accidental injuries, illnesses, or death, their families may have to face the excessive financial brunt.

    To provide social security to this section of the population, India launched "Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (AABY)" on 2nd October 2007. The literal translation of the name is the common man's insurance scheme. It provides coverage against natural or accidental death and disability to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families' breadwinners.

    What is the AABY scheme?

    As specified above, the Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (AABY) is a social security scheme, launched on 2nd October 2007. It provides health insurance coverage against contingencies such as death or disability. It is targeted towards the breadwinners of low-income families in India, and benefits those working in the unorganised sector, such as daily wage labourers, fishermen, cobblers, auto drivers, etc.

    The AABY scheme started operating successfully from 2013 under the supervision of the Finance Ministry of India.

    Features & benefits of the AABY scheme

    The scheme covers family heads or lone earning members of the families belonging to the low-income groups.

    The coverage amount remains fixed throughout the policy period. The policyholder gets a lump sum in case of a claim.

    In case of the insured person's natural death during the coverage tenure, the nominee or surviving family members will be paid ₹30,000.

    In case of accidental death or total permanent disability (loss of both eyes or both limbs), the policyholder or his/her nominee gets ₹75,000.

    In case of partial permanent disability (loss of one eye or one limb), the policyholder or his/her nominee gets ₹37,500.

    The scheme is designed to cover the members of 48 occupational groups identified by the Government.

    The premium amount that's charged to provide the benefits of AABY scheme is ₹200 per annum. While 50% of this premium will be subsidised from the Social Security Fund, the State Government or Nodal Agency will bear the remaining 50% amount.

    The AABY scheme also offers a free scholarship of ₹100 every month to the eligible children (maximum of two children per person) to ensure that they receive uninterrupted education. The children must be studying between class 9th to class 12th to avail of this benefit.

    By availing the AABY scheme's benefits, the insured person will also be eligible to claim certain tax benefits under Section 80(D) and Section 10(10D) of The Income Tax Act, 1961.

    Insured members can approach their nearest Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) branch to solve their queries or issues regarding this scheme.

    Eligibility criteria for AABY

    As mentioned above, the AABY scheme is meant to benefit the low-income families of India. Below is the basic eligibility requirement for an individual to avail the benefits of this scheme:

    • The applicant should be between 18 to 59 years of age.
    • The applicant should be the head of the family or its lone earning member, belonging to the EWS, i.e. Below the Poverty Line (BPL), or slightly above the poverty line.
    • The individual must belong to a rural landless household.
    • The individual must belong to one of the 48 vocational groups, identified as beneficiaries under this scheme.
    • Only one member per family can be covered under the scheme.
  • 7 New Year Resolutions for Better Health

    by Rajendhar Thogari | Aug 18, 2021

    The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to make some changes to your lifestyle. By making the right health resolutions and sticking to them, you can stay fit all year long.

    Finally, 2020 is gone, and 2021 is here. You must have welcomed the new year with lots of hope and vigour. Keeping behind the sufferings endured by the world due to the pandemic, it's time to be optimistic and think about the future. A new year signals a new beginning and provides an opportunity to take firm steps for a better tomorrow.

    One of the ordinary things that most of us do before starting a year is making new year resolutions. After all, each one of us wants to improve our lives in the upcoming year. However, it's essential to keep our new year resolutions manageable and strategic so that we can strictly follow them.

    According to Nielsen's survey, new year resolutions are mostly centred on staying fit and healthy. So, if you also want to improve your health in 2021, here are some practical new year's resolution ideas you can actually follow:

    Make exercising a daily routine

    There is no better way to stay fit than through daily exercise daily. It will not only help you in keeping your muscles active but in reducing your stress levels. It would help if you made it a habit to exercise daily for at least 40 minutes. What you can do is block a time in your daily calendar, possibly in the morning or evening, to tackle some fitness activities.

    You can start with a simple morning walk and evening walk and gradually move on to activities such as weight lifting, squats, push-ups, etc. If you find it difficult to do these exercises at home, you can join a gym near your residence.

    Start eating a healthy diet

    It's one of the most common new year resolutions that most of us take but often fail to follow. Eating a healthy diet is one of the simplest and sustainable methods to keep yourself fit. It significantly reduces the chances of developing heart diseases and keeps your blood sugar level in check. On the contrary, an improper diet can hamper your development and may cause irreparable damage to your body.

    You should strictly avoid eating junk foods such as chips, soft drinks, candies, etc. Instead, go for whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, milk and fish, as they are rich in nutrients required by your body to function at an optimal level. You can also consult a dietician to get a healthy diet chart for yourself.

    Quit smoking and minimise drinking

    You must be well aware of the ill effects of alcohol and tobacco on your health. They can cause some severe health conditions such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, bronchitis, and pulmonary diseases. Hence, if you have a habit of smoking and drinking frequently, you must try to quit it without any delay.

    It may seem like an uphill task in the beginning, but you can start with baby steps. It would help if you aimed to completely give up on smoking and minimise the intake the alcohol.

    Reduce your sitting time and start walking more

    According to health experts, sitting for a prolonged period is considered as bad for the body as smoking. Sitting or lying down for too long can increase the risk of chronic health problems such as heart diseases, diabetes and even cancer. Whether it's because of a sedentary job or inactiveness, most of us prefer to sit more than we should.

    Hence, it would be best if you made it a resolution to reduce your sitting time and instead, indulge in more physical activities. If your job requires you to sit for an extended period, take frequent 10-minute walking or standing breaks.

    Sleep for at least seven to eight hours a day

    Getting adequate sleep is vital for your overall health. Sleep deprivation or inadequate sleep may lead to serious health consequences such as obesity, heart diseases and depression. There can be many reasons for a person not to get enough sleep. It can be due to stress or a sedentary lifestyle. It's crucial to fix these issues and sleep for at least seven to eight hours a day.

  • Need for Buying Health Insurance in India for Senior Citizens

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 18, 2021

    Healthcare costs are constantly rising in India. Reports say India's medical inflation is increasing at 15% every year; almost double the overall inflation rate. It means that a heart surgery that costs ₹2 lakh today will cost approximately ₹5 lakh after seven or eight years.

    Hence, a health insurance policy becomes a necessity for every individual. It protects the insured person from incurring exorbitant healthcare expenditures and ensures that he/she gets necessary medical treatment when required. For senior citizens, a health plan becomes even more crucial since their bodies are weak and more prone to illnesses, infections and injuries.

    If statistics are to be believed, around 47% of India's senior citizens suffer from at least one chronic disease, such as diabetes, depression, asthma, arthritis or angina. To protect the elderly from incurring hefty medical expenses, many insurance companies in India have started offering unique mediclaim policies known as senior citizen health insurance plans.

    These plans are designed to address the precise healthcare needs of senior citizens, i.e. people above the age of 60. Read on to know why health insurance for senior citizens is necessary.

    Tackle skyrocketing healthcare costs

    A medical emergency often comes unannounced. A single instance of hospitalisation can wipe out the entire life’s savings of a person. For example, bypass surgery can cost anywhere between ₹2 to ₹5 lakh, depending upon the hospital. Add to it, the charges for medicines, diagnostic tests, hospital’s room rent, and it can become a mountain of expenses.

    A senior citizen medical insurance policy helps the insured person to tackle unforeseen medical expenditures with ease. It ensures that the policyholder does not have to worry about skyrocketing healthcare expenses and focus only on his/her recovery at the time of a medical emergency.

    Medical coverage for elderly people

    As per the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) guidelines, all standard health insurance policies mandatorily provide medical coverage for people up to the age of 65. It means that after this age, senior citizens might be left without any medical coverage, which can be very dangerous.

    However, a senior citizen medical insurance policy provides coverage for older people up to 85. It means that by buying such policies, senior citizens can ensure optimal health coverage for themselves, even if the standard health plans refuse to cover them. Some insurers even provide health insurance for senior citizens with an option of lifetime renewability.

    Comprehensive medical coverage

    As specified above, a senior citizen health insurance policy is designed to cover the specific healthcare needs of older adults. It provides comprehensive medical coverage by covering various healthcare expenses, including hospital’s room-rent, doctor’s consultation fees, costs for buying medicines and other medical supplies, ambulance charges, etc.

    Additionally, health insurance for senior citizens also provides a cashless hospitalisation facility, which means that the insured person can avail of treatment at any network hospital without paying anything out of his/her pocket at the time of a medical emergency. This saves him/her or his/her children from the hassles of paying hefty hospital bills and then seek reimbursement from the insurer.

    Coverage for pre-existing ailments

    As people grow old, their bodies become frail and start losing their immunity power. Pre-existing diseases may be prevalent in senior citizens while buying a mediclaim policy. A senior citizen health insurance policy provides coverage for most pre-existing ailments in the elderly, albeit with a waiting period.

    It means that after the completion of this waiting period, which is usually two to four years from the policy inception date, the insured senior citizen will be financially covered for the treatment of pre-existing ailments, including diabetes, blood pressure, heart diseases, kidney problems etc.

    Coverage for critical illnesses

    Senior citizens are more susceptible to catching life-threatening diseases or illnesses such as cancer, kidney failure, heart attack, anaemia, liver failure, stroke etc. Treatment of such diseases is usually costly, which be sometimes beyond one’s financial capability.

    Health insurance for senior citizens provides financial coverage to them against treating critical illnesses mentioned in the policy document. Hence, it helps them save lakhs of rupees they may otherwise incur in the absence of a medical cover.

  • Health Benefits of Pulses

    by nikesh lakhani | Aug 18, 2021

    The food you eat plays a significant role in your overall health and fitness. Unhealthy fast foods can have a detrimental effect on your body, making it weak and prone to diseases. On the other hand, a balanced diet supplies the required nutrients to your body and mind to keep you strong and healthy. It also helps in maintaining good body weight and improves metabolic functions.

    Various pulses, including lentils, dried peas, kidney beans and chickpeas, constitute an essential part of a balanced diet. They are a rich source of vitamins and nutrients such as protein, fibre, calcium etc. Pulses also supply minerals such as iron, zinc, folate and magnesium into the body and hence, their addition to your diet may help you live a healthy lifestyle.

    The United Nations (UN) has dedicated 10th February as International Pulses Day to make people aware of the importance and benefits of pulses and legumes as a global food. In this article, we have listed down a few nutritional and health benefits of beans and pulses. Read on.

    #1 Pulses are a great source of vitamins and minerals

    By consuming pulses and dals daily, you can get your required quota of essential vitamins and minerals. Pulses are a great source of fibre, calcium, potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium and folate. They are also abundant in Vitamin B, thiamine and niacin. Our body needs these vitamins and minerals to function efficiently.

    #2 Pulses are a rich source of proteins

    Pulses are high on amino acids, which make them a rich source of proteins. Proteins play a vital role in enhancing our body's overall strength and improving its repairing and maintenance power. Hence, if you engage in a lot of physical activity daily, adding pulses to your diet can be very beneficial. You can also combine dairy products, grains and nuts in your meal to ensure the optimum dose of proteins in your body.

    #3 Pulses possess antioxidant effects

    Pulses, beans, and lentils are abundant in polyphenols, making them good antioxidants. Antioxidants are necessary to protect your body cells against free radicals produced as a by-product during metabolism. In the absence of antioxidants, your body may become prone to ill health. This makes the consumption of lentils and pulses all the more critical.

    #4 Pulses are good for the heart

    One of the most primary health benefits of beans and pulses is keeping your heart in good shape. Consumption of pulses reduces your body's cholesterol level and thus helps improve your heart's health. Also, pulses usually contain high potassium and low sodium, which aids in regulating blood pressure.

    #5 Pulses reduce the risk of diabetes

    Pulses and legumes are ranked lower in the glycemic index, meaning they cause a minimal rise in your blood sugar level. Therefore, people who consume pulses regularly may have a lower chance of getting diabetes. And in case you already have diabetes, you can add pulses to your daily diet to regulate blood sugar level.

    #6 Pulses are a good source of folate

    Pulses, beans, and lentils are a rich folate source as they contain Vitamin B, which helps produce new cells. Hence, eating pulses can be very good during rapid growth stages, such as infancy and pregnancy. Growing children and pregnant women should thus include a fair amount of pulses in their daily diet.

    #7 Pulses may reduce the risk of cancer

    As mentioned above, pulses, beans, and lentils act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, reducing cancer risk. Lentils also contain an element known as selenium, which decreases the rate at which a tumour grows. They also boost immunity and stimulate T cells' production, which helps in fighting diseases.

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