The author is Srinath Mukherji, co-founder of SANA Insurance Brokers.
Amid the daily stresses of work, family and life, the modern and independent woman should look after her personal well-being, which is best covered by comprehensive health insurance that takes her healthcare needs into account.
Today’s modern Indian woman juggles multiple roles: that of professional, carer, responsible daughter, housewife and many more; sometimes even that of the main breadwinner. In the midst of multitasking and wanting to succeed in each of these roles, their own health and personal needs are often relegated to a lower priority.
Much like the announcement we hear on board an airplane, “Put your own oxygen masks over your mouth and nose before helping others,” women should ensure they secure their own health needs and personal finances so they can remain safe and healthy excel in all their duties.
Below are five main reasons why women should have health insurance.
Protection against rising medical inflation: The cost of hospitalization is sky high these days, be it for Covid treatment, a horrific accident or a critical illness. And all of these situations can happen anytime, anywhere, and at any age. Without health insurance to cover hospital costs, women and family members are at great financial risk in the event of hospitalization.
Growing Health Concerns Among Women: Women are becoming increasingly vulnerable to numerous lifestyle diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart disease due to work-related stress, poor eating habits, sleep deprivation, hormonal imbalance and sedentary lifestyle. Anxiety and psychosomatic disorders are also on the rise, largely driven by isolation during the pandemic. Female-centric cancer cases such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer and uterine cancer to name a few are among the top concerns among women across the world and not just in India. Given the precarious and unpredictable nature of life, it would be wise for women to maintain comprehensive health insurance (including critical illness plans) that covers hospital expenses related to these serious medical conditions.
need for maternity leave: Women who are on the family planning journey would need to prepare themselves mentally, physically and financially to welcome their bundle of joy into their lives. Financial preparation would be safer if you invested in a health insurance company that offers maternity benefits for a shorter waiting period and higher coverage for normal or caesarean section costs. Some insurers even extend this coverage to couples who have chosen the option of a medically induced pregnancy, ie in vitro fertilization (IVF).
More than group health insurance: All members of Indian families must be insured by an individual or family floater policy even if they are also insured by a group medical insurance provided by their employer. There are two reasons. First, family members should remain covered by health insurance during this time of increasing job insecurity, even when breadwinners are between jobs. Second, it will be very difficult and expensive to get health insurance after retirement due to likely pre-existing conditions. Therefore, individual or family health insurance should be taken out when members are young and healthy.
Additional security in times of personal adversity: Many women in India tend to rely on either their father or husband to make key financial decisions, including those related to health insurance. However, should an unfortunate event occur (e.g. death, loss of job or in the event of a separation/divorce), women and family members can remain protected from hospital expenses with the help of an individual/family floater policy that provides adequate coverage and sufficient sum insured. This important investment protects you and your loved ones in a situation where you must assume the role of primary caregiver.
Women in India are urged to ensure they and their family members are covered by a comprehensive health insurance plan that provides financial security in the event of medical emergencies.