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Health In The Times Of Corona – How Prepared Are You?

As the coronavirus epidemic rages we look at how prepared we are to tackle it health-wise.

  • 03 Apr 2020
  • 2 min read

If you’re reading the news, chances are it reads like the storyline of an apocalyptic movie scripted by a sadistic writer. We’re living in the times of hair raising headlines. Cases in point:

COVID-19 cases cross 700,000 globally…
Number of cases in US surpass that of Italy…
130 new COVID-19 cases across India…

Midst all the gloomy headlines that are dominating the front pages we’d like to draw your attention to another statistic that you may have completely missed or just skimmed over:

More than 1,51,000 people recover from coronavirus globally.

That’s right! 21.6% of those infected with the virus so far have recovered. We’re not buoying your hopes here as a matter of responsible editorial policy. The above data supports what ICICI Lombard in-house medical experts too have to say.

Based on our conversation with them, following are information nuggets we’d like to highlight:

According to Dr.Rambabu Sankurttula and Dr.Vinod Rayala, most of the cases are curable. It’s not necessary that acute respiratory problems will arise in all the cases. Some COVID-19 positive cases only experience mild symptoms of the infection. Ergo, social distancing.

The ones most susceptible to the virus are children below the age of 10 and adults above the age of 60.

What compounds the severity of the symptoms in an infected person are pre-existing medical conditions like diabetes, hyper-tension, kidney ailments, etc.

But do all of us know if we have a pre-existing medical condition? How many times have we chalked up headaches, fatigue, weight gain, etc. to our lifestyles or the 9 to 5 grind? How many of us go for a thorough health check-up once a year? If the answers scare you then it’s time to re-think your #healthgoals. If your interjection is that healthcare is expensive then perhaps it’s time to put health insurance or rather the need to buy health insurance into perspective. Which brings us to another headline…

India is among the cheapest health insurance markets

As per the findings of this particular report vis-à-vis India, “one can observe that compared to the numerous benefits being offered by health insurance policies, the premium liable to be paid by the insured is quite affordable and easy on the pocket, especially when compared to other countries.”

After reading this heartening piece of news one would think that almost every individual in India would have health insurance. Sadly, that’s not the case. Health insurance penetration in India is miniscule. Only 34% of the country’s population is covered by health insurance of any kind. Whether it’s due to the lack of accessibility, awareness or the perception that it’s a money guzzling scheme, general insurance penetration in India remains incredibly low.

You don’t have to look far and question widely to ascertain this. Just ask those nearest or closest to you if they have a personal health insurance, not one provided by their employer. The answers might surprise you. Or not.

Kudos! You have a job that provides insurance benefit! But that is what the company is doing for you. As an individual how have you taken charge of your health?

The tendency to rely only on the group insurance cover can prove to be costly. For starters, it may or may not cover your family. Even if it does, is the sum insured adequate?

Here’s how personal health insurance or the lack of it factors in to our COVID-19 riddled world.

Cost of testing – The government has issued guidelines to private testing facilities that the cost of testing for coronavirus should not exceed Rs 4500. But say, you’re a family of four that needs to be tested. The cost immediately quadruples. In such a scenario if you and your family have health insurance, your insurer will cover the costs.

Health check-up – If you were to read on the benefits of complete health insurance you’d discover that most health insurers provide for free health check-up once a year, per policy. This is exactly what the doctor ordered! And we’re not speaking figuratively here. This, once again, brings us around to the conversation we had with our in-house experts – about the fact that COVID-19 is more fatal for individuals with underlying health issues. But how many of us would know if we had one? That’s right, if we got a health check-up done regularly!

Online consultation & chat with a medical practitioner – yes, it happens. Yes, health insurance provides for it. Most health insurance providers offer online consultation as a value added service.

The jury is not out on it, it has decided – buying health insurance and making sure your family is covered too is the need of the hour. No doubt we’re coming out on the other side of this pandemic as bona fide chefs and spiffy homemakers; let’s also emerge as more health-conscious individuals, those who know that taking all the right steps for their health also means insuring it. On that note, and you can put this down to heightened optimism and wishful thinking, here’s a headline we can’t wait to read in the papers – “India leads in health insurance coverage.”

Also read:

Disclaimer: As this a developing situation, statistics mentioned in the articles are subject to change and only convey numbers at the time of writing


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