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Importance of health insurance for asthma patients

Team AckoNov 12, 2021

In recent years, there has been a spike in respiratory problems due to increasing air pollution and bad lifestyle choices, asthma being one of them. If you or a loved one suffer from asthma, you must be aware that frequent medical attention is common and these events can be pretty expensive. Dedicated health insurance for asthma patients can be really helpful here. So, let's learn more about how health insurance can help asthma patients get quality treatment without a load on their wallets.

Importance of Health Insurance for Asthma Patients

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic medical condition where the air passages narrow in the lungs due to inflammation and tightening of the muscles, which leads to recurrent wheezing and breathlessness. Here is more about this health issue.

Effects: Asthma, if left untreated, leads to poor concentration, exhaustion, and disturbance in sleep. In critical cases, it can be fatal.

Symptoms: Symptoms include cough, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Smoke, fur and feathers, fumes, weather change, strong soaps and perfumes, and viral infections can trigger asthma attacks.

Statistics: As per The Lancet Global Health Journal, 300 million people globally have asthma, out of which 37.9 million reside in India. That means every 8th person in the world who has asthma is Indian. Asthma-affected Indians exceed those affected with HIV infection and tuberculosis.

How does health insurance coverage for asthma patients help?

Emergencies may arise requiring sudden hospitalisation and medical attention. Therefore, asthma insurance can help patients in the following ways.

Cover frequent hospitalisation costs

Respiratory tract inflammation can cause sudden asthma attacks in patients requiring urgent medical intervention and even hospitalisation. Such cases are usual, and one cannot neglect its probabilities. Critical asthma treatment can be costly. Therefore, leaving asthma uncovered by any insurance can create a heavy burden on your finances.

Coverage for diagnostic test

Various diagnostic tests are conducted during the treatment of asthma, especially if hospitalised. From chest X-rays to pulmonary function tests, these tests can inflate medical bills in no time. You must check the availability of this coverage with your health insurance company.

Fact - There is a constant rise in air pollution, not good news for asthma patients. Per IQAir, 22 out of the 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India is worrisome. Additionally, digitisation and the advent of work-from-home culture, has increased a sedentary lifestyle.

Allergies covered under asthma health insurance

The reason behind asthma can be either due to genetic predisposition or exposure to allergens. These allergens can either be indoor allergens or outdoor allergens. 

  1. Indoor allergens may include house dust, mouldy, dusty carpets, furniture, house mites, etc.

  2. Outdoor allergens include pollution, smoke particles, chemical effluent fumes, pollen, etc. 

When exploring an asthma policy, ensure that it covers these allergic reactions.

Should asthma patients buy a separate health insurance policy?

If you or a loved one suffer from chronic asthma, then buying a separate policy makes more sense. Why? Because you will have a dedicated sum insured to cover frequent hospitalisations and it will not affect the family’s health plan

Your insurance company may also provide additional features like less waiting period, free teleconsultations, coverage for medicines, etc. under the asthma policy.  This narrows it down to two major benefits —  dedicated sum insured and additional services. Thus, buying a separate health insurance plan if you or a loved one has asthma, will be pretty useful.

Questions to ask while buying health insurance for asthma patients

Here is a list of things to look for if you wish to buy a better health insurance plan, especially for asthma patients.

1. What does the plan cover?

Coverage is one of the most important factors to consider while buying health insurance coverage for asthma patients. The coverage should be such that it minimises financial burdens to the maximum extent possible. 

The coverage should also include Out Patient Department (OPD) expenses as asthma patients usually have frequent OPD consultations that standard policies refrain from covering. Also, various diagnostic tests, medicines, inhalers, etc., should be covered in the policy.

2. How much do I need to pay?

Check the amount of premium that you will end up paying. The thumb rule is, as the age increases, so do the medical insurance premiums. Apart from that, if you opt for add-ons and riders, this will further increase your premium costs. However, do not refrain from adding riders to save nominal premium costs. Add-ons provide additional cover, otherwise excluded from base policy.

3. What will be the renewal process?

Check for the term of the insurance policy. In most cases, there are annual renewals. You can also opt for other renewal options as provided by your insurer.

4. What is not covered under my health plan?

The consequences of exclusions from the policy come to light at the time of claim settlement when certain expenses are disallowed. This increases your out-of-pocket expenses. Therefore, go through the exclusions thoroughly before finalising a policy. For asthma patients, ensure that the coverage is as exhaustive as possible.

5. Is the insurance company reliable?

An insurance company that provides optimum services and an easy claims journey becomes a preferred choice for all those scouting for a health insurance plan. The claim settlement ratio is the result of the number of claims settled by the insurance company against the total number of claims received. A company with a higher claim settlement ratio is more beneficial for the policyholders.

Also, read: Incurred Claims Ratio for Health Insurance

Health insurance add-ons that can come in handy for asthma patients

For asthma patients, the following additional coverages can be helpful.

  • Room rent waiver: Normal insurance policies usually come with a cap on room rent. With this add-on at your disposal, you can increase the sub-limit of your policy or opt for no sub-limit on room rent as well.

  • AYUSH cover: Treatments for asthma are not limited to allopathy. Some people respond to Ayurvedic or other types of unconventional treatments as well. It is fairly uncommon knowledge that such treatments can be covered under your health insurance policy. This is called AYUSH coverage. It covers treatments like Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy.

  • Personal Accident Cover: This is a universal cover that must be included with every type of health insurance policy. It majorly covers accidental disability and death.

  • Hospital cash: It is a cash benefit provided by the insurer to the insured person during hospitalisation for a fixed number of days. The amount can be used to meet additional expenses such as daily travelling for the companion, cost of expenses, food, etc. for a predefined number of days during hospitalisation.

Takeaway

Asthma is a rising concern amid the increase in pollution levels and our sedentary lifestyle. Over time, the cost of asthma treatment can be exorbitant; therefore, leaving the disease uncovered by insurance can burn a deep hole into your pocket. Consequently, it is beneficial to have comprehensive medical insurance for asthma. 

If asthma falls under a pre-existing disease category for you, then you should specifically consider the waiting period clause. Otherwise, it may remain uncovered for an extended period. Nowadays, it's relatively easier to buy health insurance online in just a few steps.

Frequently asked questions

Here are some questions that might help you understand asthma health insurance better. But if you have any specific queries that we can answer, then do write to us at [email protected]

Is asthma considered a pre-existing health condition while buying health insurance?

Yes. Ailments like diabetes, blood pressure, asthma, thyroid, etc., are considered pre-existing diseases.

How can insurance companies know about my pre-existing health condition?

Insurance companies ask for a self-declaration for pre-existing health conditions. Apart from that, they may ask you for a pre-insurance medical check-up and go through your old records to determine your health condition.

Is asthma considered a disability in India?

In India, asthma is not considered a disability unless the body undergoes severe damage.

Is asthma covered under normal mediclaim policies?

Asthma is covered under standard medical policies. However, as it is a chronic ailment, common policies may be inadequate due to their limited cover and various sub-limits and disallowances applicable.

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