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Health Insurance

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A Reliable and comprehensive health policy can peace part of your stress associated with falling disease or getting hospitalized. Insurancerenew’s Health Insurance section offers you with very affordable price and valuable knowledge and information about health insurance plans and the many type of health insurance plans that will suit you best as per your requirements.


Here’s why you need a dedicated cancer insurance plan

 

Here are some cold facts when it comes to cancer: India has around 2.25 million cases with over 1 lakh new cases being registered every year, according to Cancerindia.org. In 2018, the disease led to nearly 7 lakh, deaths. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) estimates that the country is likely to register over 17 lakh new cases and report over 8 lakh deaths by 2020 [1]. In fact, the most common cancers in the country, namely, lung, oral, uterine, cervix and large intestine cancer are linked with having very strong lifestyle risks. However, it is important to remember that cancer can affect anyone, regardless of age, lifestyle, health condition and it is critical to have protection against the same. Diagnosis of cancer doesn’t only take a toll on your mental and physical health, but can also burn a hole in your savings due to the exponential cost of treatment associated with the same.

Given the exact nature, type, stage, the treatment can cost lakhs of rupees. In short, one family member suffering from cancer can derail the entire family’s short-term and long-term financial goals apart from causing severe emotional trauma. Mediclaim plans will provide reimbursements for expenses incurred while regular critical illness covers will provide a lumpsum payout generally at the most severe  levels of cancer. A health plan, specifically designed for cancer ensures that the payouts happen at even the early stages of cancer, limiting the financial impact  on the family. 

Also, remember that cancer care and treatment are long-term which makes it a recurring expense and an extremely painful procedure especially mentally. Cancer costs are also not limited to mere hospital bills. A number of other expenses may be incurred during the course of treatment The payouts in a cancer specific insurance plan can be used to cover all such expenses  

A number of cancer plans also offer some cover variants where additional benefits like an enhanced cover, income benefit etc are available. Income benefit is another feature that can be of help during the recovery phase, particularly if the health condition is debilitating enough to force a break from employment. This is an extremely important feature especially if a family’s breadwinner is suffering from cancer.

No matter how much care you take, where you live or what your family history is, cancer poses a very real threat to your lifestyle. The only thing that works against it is early detection and extensive treatment. Buying a cancer insurance plan is the one way to protect you and your family from the financial perils that hopefully never follow. 

Sources: 
1 https://icmr.nic.in/sites/default/files/ICMR_News_1.pdf



7 Factors that Affect Health Insurance Premium in India

If you are planning to buy a health insurance policy, there are a variety of plans available. The coverage offered by them and the premium rates to be paid can be confusing in nature at times. Health insurance premiums vary from insurer to insurer and from customer to customer. There are several factors that affect your health insurance premium such as age, income, gender, family history of illnesses. Here are some of the key factors that affect how much health insurance premium you will be required to pay in India:

 

1.    Age
It comes as no surprise that age is one of the most important influences on how much premium you are charged. The younger you are, the lesser premium you will be required to pay. Young people have fewer health conditions as compared to older people and are much less likely to require medical assistance and coverage. Hence, it is advised to buy health insurance policies with good cover when you are younger.

2.    Medical History 
Typically, if you have a family history of certain diseases such as cancer, blood pressure or heart disease, you are more likely to require medical care in future for the same. Hence, individuals with a medical family history of such diseases require more coverage like cancer protect policy and subsequently may be required to pay higher rates of premium to provide them with adequate medical assistance. 

3.    Body Mass Index (BMI) 
People with a higher BMI are usually charged a higher premium than those with a normal BMI. This is because individuals with high BMI are more likely to suffer from diseases related to heart, joint and also diseases such as diabetes and other problems, making it more likely for them to opt for medical care on a regular basis. 

4.    Smoker/Non-Smoker 
If you are a regular smoker you will be required to pay a higher premium for your medical insurance due to significantly higher health risks for smokers. Insurer’s worldwide charge a higher premium to diversify the higher risks associated with insuring a smoker. Regular smokers are more likely to be vulnerable to issues such as lung cancer, stroke, heart disease, asthma, respiratory complications, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and hypertension. 

5.    Pre-existing health conditions 
Health insurance premiums for individuals with pre-existing health conditions are likely to be expensive as you will require more coverage than others. This will be exclusive to your plan as it will provide you with a cover for the pre-existing condition. 

6.    Geographical location
The place of your residence may also affect the rate of premium that you will be required to pay. Certain zip codes demand a higher rate of premium while others do not.

7.    Profession/occupation
Since your occupation plays a key role in your health condition, it also plays a key role in how much health insurance premium you are required to pay. If you have a very stressful job or if you work in a hazardous environment t, you are more likely to suffer from significant medical issues and hence, you may be charged a higher premium. 
Hence it is very important to be well updated with health conditions of self and family. Being aware of your health conditions will assist you in choosing suitable plans and riders. This will make sure that the premiums you pay are not over/under charged. 

Sources: PNBMETLIFE Website


Port Health Insurance: Complete Understanding of Process 

                                             

Excerpt: The insurance industry of India consists of 53 insurance companies of which 24 are in life insurance business and 29 are non-life insurers, according to data provided by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s (IRDA). But how do you know which one of these companies offer the best product to you?

Imagine finding yourself in a predicament, where you had previously opted for an expensive health insurance plan, only to find certain shortcomings in the policy. As you learn more about different plans that are tailor-made for customers, you believe a different insurer would better cater to your existing needs. However, as a policyholder, you might still be hesitant to take the leap, in fear of longer waiting periods, or wasting your accumulated benefits. A bad claim experience or a sudden increase in the premium can make it incredibly difficult for a policyholder to continue with their existing insurer. 

While buying a policy, we often ignore important features such as claim settlement ratio, or the number of hospitals under the insurer’s network, and only compare premiums. With the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s (IRDA) guidelines on health insurance portability, policyholders can now switch to a different insurer, with better add-ons and features.

Benefits which can be ported

Introduced in 2011 by the IRDA, portability allows policyholders to transfer the credits gained for pre-existing conditions, and time-bound exclusions in the existing policy. The no-claim bonus can also be carried over while porting; however, porting of a policy can only be done between similar types of health insurance plans. This would mean that upon completing the waiting period for specific clauses with the existing insurer, policyholders can continue without the waiting periods under the new policy. 


What are waiting periods? 
In a health insurance, you usually find three kinds of waiting periods. The first type is the typical 30-day waiting period, which comes into effect immediately after purchasing the policy. Within the first 30 days after buying the policy, the insurers do not accept claims due to an ailment, and only cover the hospitalization resulting from an accident. The second kind of waiting period is the one on pre-existing conditions, which can go up to four years. The third kind is the waiting period on specified ailments. If a specific ailment is excluded from the policy for a certain period, the policyholder will not be covered if they suffer from that ailment until the exclusion period expires, even if the policyholder develops the ailment after buying the policy.

How portability works 
Policyholders can opt to port their policy from one insurer to the other during the time of renewal. Generally, policyholders are encouraged to apply for portability anytime between 45-60 days before the expiration of their existing policy. 

While filling the portability form, you have to provide details of your existing policy. Once the new health insurer gathers the information required, they will approach the existing insurer, to know about the coverage and claims-related details of the policyholder. Based on this information and underwriting guidelines, the new insurer can either accept, or reject the proposal. Furthermore, the new health insurer only has 15 days, within which they have to decide whether they will accept, or reject the porting of the policy. If the insurer fails to take a decision within this period, they will have no other option, but to accept the application.

Understanding portability of health insurance
One has to remember that while opting for portability, the medical underwriting happens based on the policyholder’s current health status, instead of the policyholder’s health status while purchasing the existing policy. Thus, the insurer may ask the policyholder to co-pay, or increase the premium amount, based on their current health status. 

Porting of health policy generally comes with a lot of benefits, such as avoiding waiting periods. However, submitting incorrect information, or the inability to provide the previous policy documents can lead to the rejection of the application. Furthermore, people in the ‘high-risk’ category (those in the higher age group, or poor health record) might end up paying higher premiums. 

You can opt to port your policy to a new insurer after a bad claim experience, or a sudden increase in the premium amount. Policyholders should also carefully read the fine print, before deciding to switch to a new insurer.

Sources: PNBMETLIFE Website 


World No Tobacco Day 2019: How tobacco affects your lung health and common misconceptions around it




Tobacco use is one of the most preventable risks that many of us take despite its ill-effects on our health and mortality. It is a serious public health challenge which is presently causing over a million deaths yearly in India i.e., one death every six seconds.[1] Yet, Indians are the second largest consumer of tobacco products in the world with nearly 267 million users, right behind China. Even globally, tobacco use continues to wreak havoc on public health, resulting in over 6 million deaths every year, and if the trends continue, the annual mortality will exceed 8 million by 2030.[2]

In order to counter this threat, every year, on 31 May, the World Health Organization (WHO) and various global partners, including governments, observe World No Tobacco Day. The annual campaign, which started nearly thirty years ago, aims to raise awareness on the harmful and deadly effects of tobacco use and second-hand smoke exposure and to dissuade people from consuming tobacco in any form. For 2019, the theme of World No Tobacco Day is "tobacco and lung health."[3] This year’s campaign intends to increase awareness about the negative impact that tobacco has on people’s lung health -  from cancer to chronic respiratory diseases - and the critical part healthy lungs play in our well-being. World No Tobacco Day also promotes effective policies to curtail tobacco use and engaging participants across multiple sectors, including health insurance companies, in the fight against tobacco addiction. 


In what ways tobacco use jeopardise the lung health of people? 

Lung cancer: Increased tobacco use is one of the leading risk factors in the rising cases of lung cancer. In fact, according to the WHO, tobacco users account for over two-thirds of lung cancer deaths globally. 

Chronic respiratory diseases: Once again, tobacco use, especially smoking, is among the primary causes of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Moreover, smoking also aggravates conditions like asthma, pneumonia and allergies. 

Across the life-course: According to the American Lung Association, there are close to 600 ingredients in a cigarette, which when burned produce more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 69 of these chemicals are toxic and carcinogenic. If an infant is exposed to tobacco smoke in-utero, either through maternal smoking or secondhand smoke, there is a good chance that they will experience diminished lung growth and function through their life-course. Even young children exposed to second-hand smoke are vulnerable towards asthma, pneumonia and bronchitis, and may encounter frequent respiratory infections. 

Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis (TB), a bacterial disease which damages the lungs, is a grave public health problem in India, with the largest number of TB cases in the world.[4] TB causes nearly half a million deaths in the country with almost a million new patients every year. Tobacco smoking and chewing increase the chances of a person falling will with TB and worsens the condition. As per WHO, people who smoke are twice as likely to fall victims of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria. 

Air pollution: Although it seems slightly implausible, but WHO lists tobacco smoke as a dangerous form of indoor air pollution due to the toxins and the cancer-causing chemicals. While you may think that your air freshener and the fan have done their job, the smoke can linger in the air for up to five hours, putting you and your family at an increased risk of lung cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and cardiac diseases. 

Even though smoking and tobacco consumption is considered to be the bane of lung health there are various myths related to the topic. On this World No Tobacco Day, lets emphasize on debunking some of the myths and misconceptions associated with lung cancer and tobacco use.

Myth 1: Only smokers can get lung cancer 
While there is no doubt that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer, it is not just a smoker’s disease. Air pollution, second-hand cigarette smoke and carcinogenic dust such as asbestos can cause lung cancer amongst non-smokers. In fact, it has been noticed that among the total number of sufferers of lung cancer, 10% of the patients are non-smokers. So, even if you are not a smoker, it is prudent to ensure that your health insurance plan covers critical illnesses like cancer.

Myth 2: There are no measures for reducing lung cancer risk. 
As with everything else in life, when it comes to health, there are some factors that we can control and others that are beyond us. For instance, if smokers or tobacco consumers reduce or stop, it will go a long way in safeguarding them from this deadly disease. In fact, those who stop smoking see their chances of getting lung cancer reduced to half within a decade. Other factors such as pollution and carcinogens in the atmosphere can be addressed through mass awareness and community level commitment. 

Myth 3: “Light” cigarettes are less harmful 
The so-called ‘light’ cigarettes are just as harmful to health as ‘regular’ brands, but most smokers remain misinformed about this fact. Most of us think that the terms ‘light’ and ‘ultra-light’ refer to low-tar/low-nicotine cigarettes. However, there is no standard definition of what constitutes a light or ultra-light brand and mostly these terms refer to the perceived taste and flavour of cigarettes, not their chemical content. For all intents and purposes, remember that one light or ultra-light cigarette provides the same amount of tar as a regular cigarette, and is equally harmful.

Myth 4: Lung cancer is primarily a men’s disease 
There is a common misconception that various forms of cancer are more likely to affect a particular gender, with lung cancer seen primarily as a men’s disease. Earlier, that may have been true, but that's far from the case today. For example, in the US, from 1975 to 2013 the rate of new lung cancer incidents dropped 32% for men, but rose 94% for women, according to the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. [5] With tobacco usage rates in men and women becoming more similar, the fairer sex is equally susceptible to lung cancer. Therefore, whether you are a man or a woman, you must make sure that your health insurance has an inbuilt cancer plan as well.

Myth 5: Lung cancer cannot be treated 
While treatment for lung cancer is based on the stage of the disease and the category, it is certainly treatable. Depending on the category and the stage of lung cancer, treatment may involve various combinations of medication, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, targeted treatments, and immunotherapy. However, these treatments are fairly expensive and must be covered under your health insurance plan or critical illness plan. 

Many of the myths that surround smoking are the result of a misapplied understanding of what might seem to be common sense. It is the need of the hour to find novel ways to both communicate the harmful effects of tobacco, and to counter the various myths and misconceptions that drive people to start smoking or chewing tobacco and reduce their odds of quitting. 

To sum up, there is no safe level of tobacco use. To people who use any type of tobacco product, it is strongly recommended that you quit as those who quit smoking, regardless of their age, have substantial gains in life expectancy compared with those who continue to smoke. Even quitting smoking at the time of a cancer diagnosis reduces the risk of death. As parents and members of the community, not only should we take measures to promote our own health, but also of our future generations by protecting them from the harms caused by tobacco. 

 

Sources: 
1https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/272672/wntd_2018_india_fs.pdf;jsessionid=84DDD0AA7625BB4B730543BFB13293AE?sequence=1 
2 https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/8-million-people-will-die-annually-of-tobacco-related-deaths-by-2030-report/story-nsyCIbj66lXLU1fSy49RaP.html 
3 https://www.who.int/tobacco/wntd/en/ 
4 https://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/global-health/tuberculosis/technical-areas/tuberculosis-india 
5 https://seer.cancer.gov/archive/csr/1975_2013/results_merged/sect_15_lung_bronchus.pdf


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