Sandeep H Lodaya
We, the citizens, have been following lockdown rules since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the ignorance of a few has led to a large-scale spread of infections across the country, especially in cities.
The question now is which are the ways in which you can safeguard yourself and your family from this extremely contagious virus and what will happen if your loved ones get infected.
As per our estimates, if a person with moderate/severe symptoms tests positive for Covid-19, he/she may require 14-30 days of hospitalisation. This alone is scary for any individual, irrespective of his/her financial health.
As you read this piece, government agencies, NGOs and large companies are engaged in finding a cure or vaccine for Covid-19, but if multiple reports are anything to go by, all these efforts are still under trial. It will be months, if not years, before we find a definite vaccine or cure.
Until then or even if there is a cure in the near future, we may still have to keep your guard high as developed countries like the US, South Korea, etc. are looking at a second wave of infections. In India, on the other hand, the first wave has not peaked yet.
So how do we safeguard ourselves? As the famous saying goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure,’ we suggest the following things:
A) Health protocol: maintain social distance, hygiene and sanitise your hands and the surroundings as much as possible while wearing masks wherever you go and as much as possible.
B) Financial protocol: Yes, this is something many people seem to ignore. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you or any of your family members is unfortunately diagnosed with Covid-19? Are you aware that in spite of the government capping the Covid-19 treatment charges, your bill in a well-equipped private hispital could be in the range of Rs 3-15 lakh per person, depending on the case, the nature of treatment, etc. That is not to forget the prospect of losing business/jobs/salaries during that period.
So if this unfortunate but probable incident were to happen to you, it will potentially upset or destroy your financial position and the savings of a lifetime.
There may not be an easy fix to help you in all of the above situations, but the most important thing you can do is to get yourself and your family a health insurance policy, which covers the treatment costs, medical bills, hospitalisation charges, doctor fees and ambulance charges. This will certainly solve many of your problems and instil a sense of comfort in your family members.
The most important things to remember before choosing a health insurance policy are the limits, sub-limits, coverage and whether your insurance is adequate enough to cover the costs of Covid-19 or other such costly treatments like cancer, heart disease, etc. Will the coverage be sufficient if more than one person in your family is infected and needs hospitalisation? What are the exclusions and the waiting period for the coverage of existing and potential lifestyle diseases such as diabetes?
Dr. Kiran Kattimani, the famous oncologist from Tatwadarsha Hospital, Hubballi, opines:
“In our culture and traditions, life is considered invaluable. When someone in a family or colleague is sick or meets with a medical emergency, everyone becomes emotionally involved, leaving behind whatever work they were doing, and urgently seek medical attention. They seek quality care and treatment in hospitals. However, the public needs to realise that anything of high quality incurs high costs, too. Why has medical treatment become costly?
“Gone are the days when a physician used his simple stethoscope, examined the pulse of patients and prescribed simple medication. Today, the medical practice is totally dependent upon technology. To diagnose complex diseases, we need to take the help of a multitude of pathological and radiological investigations. These equipment are all imported at high costs, hence the tests are costly, too.
“The treatments also involve a lot of new medicines which are also costly. If the treating doctor doesn’t diagnose and prescribe the standard treatment, he/she is liable for punishment under the Consumer Protection Act.
“Historically, people relied on out-of-pocket expenses for medical care. This is no longer feasible today, because of the exponential rise in the cost of medical care in the modern world.
“The only solution is to buy appropriate medical insurance. Even a small percentage of the money spent on tobacco abuse and alcohol can get you good health insurance.
“People coming to hospital with insurance can definitely afford far better treatment and are emotionally stable, compared to those who pay out of their own pockets.”
Health insurance is no longer a luxury or just investment. It’s a necessity for your financial freedom.
Want any help to financially safeguard yourself and your family? Or want to know whether your existing policy is good enough for you? Or feel your premium charges are higher or your health insurance agent is misselling it to you? Please feel free to contact us for FREE advice.
WhatAapp/message/call with your queries to 7899721444. We will REPLY to you at the earliest. We at www.theequityschool.com are the only SEBI-registered advisory in the Hubballi-Dharwad region.
(The writer is the promoter of www.theequityschool.com and is the first SEBI-registered investment advisor in the Hubballi-Dharwad region.)