Health insurance is insurance against the risk of incurring medical expenses among individuals. By estimating the overall risk of health care and health system expenses, among a targeted group, an insurer can develop a routine finance structure, such as a monthly premium or payroll tax, to ensure that money is available to pay for the health care benefits specified in the insurance agreement.
In a recent survey covering 1,100 mothers conducted by Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, it was found that when looking to purchase women-specific health insurance plans, these women gave maximum priority to preventive health-check-ups, followed by maternity cover and lifestyle diseases’ cover.
This proves that of the above three features, women give top priority to preventive health check-ups in their health insurance policies.
A regular medical insurance plan does not include preventive and diagnostic services, however, preventive healthcare is designed to specifically cover preventive and diagnostic services.
Importance of preventive health check-ups
Ensures early detection
With progressing age, we need to be screened regularly for various age and lifestyle related diseases, even if we feel fine.All diseases and health disorders have a better prognosis when detected early, and this is particularly true for chronic and terminal illnesses like cancer.
Further, family history of health disorders (diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, etc.) puts one at greater risk of suffering from the same diseases as their immediate family, at some point in time, and here, preventive check-ups play a rather crucial role.
Regular health check-ups help identify diseases at a very early stage, so the treatment can begin at the earliest, making it more likely for you to bounce back to good health.
Fights the perils of a sedentary lifestyle
Getting regular health check-ups is more important today than it was earlier, because most contemporary jobs involve being sedentary. Added to that are lifestyle factors like drinking, smoking, irregular schedules, lack of exercise etc. All these elevate the importance of preventive health check-ups even more.
Section 80D of the Income Tax Act offers tax benefits on preventive health-checkups. Apart from other benefits,tax deductions up to INR 5,000 are available for preventive health checks-ups for the policyholder as well as his/her immediate family.
What women’s preventive health check-ups include
In preventive health check-ups, personal and family medical histories play a key role.Regular check-ups include a full general body examination,blood pressure,respiration and heart rate, preliminary heart exam,blood and urine tests, ECG, lipid profile, etc.
Apart from the above, examinations in connection with a woman’s specific family medical history are conducted. Previous surgeries, procedures, tests, immunisations, etc. are taken into consideration, along with lifestyle factors like smoking, drinking, exercise, sexual health, and other bodily functions. Specific tests for women include screening for ovarian, breast, and cervical cancer,mammogram, pap smear, CA-125 blood test etc.
Along with the popularity of preventive healthcare check-ups, there has been an increase in “master health check-ups” offered by different insurance companies. However, such activity is still unregulated in India, hence one needs to exercise caution in picking the service provider.
For a preventive health check-up to be really useful, one must know that there are no standards tests. The tests and their frequency vary as per one’s age, gender, previous medical history, family health history, and various lifestyle related factors.
Packages including a higher number of tests are not necessarily proof of better services. Some tests are unnecessary given the person’s age. For instance,mammogram and pap smear are recommended for women belonging to a particular age group, at a given frequency. Such things need to be borne in mind.
This makes it vital to approach a reputed, reliable medical service provider.Most importantly, you must purchase an excellent, all-inclusive health insurance policy that will support you and your family in times of emergency.
Eligibility for health check-ups
Regular health check-ups could be free if you have a health insurance policy from a general or a standalone health insurance company. Health insurers offer free health check-ups to policyholders usually after two years, and in some cases, after four years.
To qualify for free check-ups, a four-year block needs to be claim-free. In addition, the benefit here is capped. In case of a family floater plan, health check-ups are provided up to 1% of the total sum insured and only one member can claim it, after which, the benefit becomes invalid. If the hospital package costs more, the policyholder may need to pay the difference.
However, this process varies across insurers. Some insurers have empanelled hospitals where the policyholder can have the health check-ups done. In case the hospital where the policyholder decides to take the preventive tests is not on the empaneled list, he/she will need to bear the costs initially,but the insurer will subsequently reimburse it. Before proceeding to do preventive tests in a hospital that is not empaneled, it is important for the policyholder to confirm with the insurer if they permit it.Since the preventive check-up is a renewal incentive, there may be a chance that in order to avail the benefit, the policy holder has to necessarily visit the insurer’s network hospital only.
If you have not yet reached the four-year block condition or have made a claim on your health insurance policy already, then you may avail of the deductions under section 80D – it offers a maximum deduction of INR 25,000 per annum, and for senior citizens the allowed deduction is INR 30,000. Within this limit, preventive check-ups have a benefit of up to INR 5,000 – however, this amount is within the allowed INR 25,000 or 30,000, not additionally.
Preventive healthcare has multiple benefits and giving it high priority in a health insurance plan is only logical. Investing a nominal sum on preventive health check-ups covered in your insurance plan, makes more sense than spending huge amounts when an actual health problem arises. Most health insurance companies offer medical insurance policies with a cover for the cost of preventive healthcare. Making this small extra investment to buy such a policy will alleviate the stress of suffering through an illness, while also helping save huge amounts that would otherwise be spent on doctor’s fees, diagnostic tests, and hospital expenses.
The most crucial reason why preventive tests are important for women is because if detected early, all the health disorders are fully curable. This is the main reason why women prefer purchasing a health insurance plan that offers preventive health check-ups at an all-inclusive cost.