8 Strong Reasons to Buy Your Own Health Insurance Cover Right Now

Wealth Protection is an area often neglected in lieu of Wealth Creation. Without an iota of doubt, Wealth Creation by doing smart investments is definitely important. But what use is it if there is an imminent risk of losing all that you created over your life time – in a span of, say, a few months?

Health Insurance is one such aspect of Wealth Protection – where most of us feel that either we are already protected enough by our company group insurance policy, or God will always be too kind on us and nothing is going to happen to us while we are in our prime age. Can we be further away from truth? And all of us see and hear enough examples around us everyday, which contradict this basic assumption of ours. Just closing our eyes is not going to make the risk vanish. A smart wealth creator, like a smart project manager, manages the risk of health by ‘adequately’ covering this risk associated with it. Cover your risk before it is too late.

It was a sever heart attack. He was fortunate to have survived. He is 31, my ex-colleague, working in an MNC in Gurgaon, and highly successful – or seemingly so. He has a beautiful daughter and a very caring wife. All his 3 arteries were more than 70% blocked. Bypass was the only option. When he came home, his corpus was down by 25% – this in spite of having a group insurance policy from his employer. Other than the emotional setback as well as lifelong constraints on his lifestyle habits, it is going to take him another 4 years of hard work – just to claw back his portfolio to where it was prior to this incident. You may say he was unlucky. No. He was not a smart portfolio manager. A smart manager will always cover the risks to his or her portfolio.

And if after reading this, you have been thinking that it may have happened with him because of his workplace stress, and that you don’t take that much stress at your workplace, let me tell you that the food you eat, the air you breathe, and the water you drink have become toxic enough to cause such, and many more dangerous diseases even if you are leading an absolutely stress free life. It is unfortunate, but true that we are living and consuming such toxicity. Who will be the next one – is just a matter of chance.

Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst – that is how we used to plan our projects. that is how exactly you ought to deal with your life. I sincerely hope you lead a healthy and prosperous life, but I earnestly urge you to be prepared in case of any such eventuality -for it is a definitely reality in our so called developed world.

Here are 8 strong reasons you must buy your own health insurance policy at the earliest, irrespective of your age or your existing cover:

1) Avoid stringent tests

If you think, you will save some money and take a health insurance cover only when you cross the age of 50, then please be aware that after 50, almost all health insurance companies subject buyers to a slew of medical tests before selling them a health plan. And once you undergo a battery of tests at that age, it is quite likely that you will be discovered with some minor, if not severe, anomaly. Each such anomaly is going to load your premium, apart from the physical pain of undergoing all the tests. You can avoid all these tests if you buy your health insurance policy earlier. Any pre-existing diseases are automatically covered in such a case. Any diseases diagnosed later will be covered – without any additional premiums.

2) Pay lower premium

Health insurance premiums are quite low when the age is less. The lower the age group, the lower the premium. And premiums go up only if you move across age groups. At 25, a plan with Rs 5 lakh coverage would cost you around Rs 8000, at 35 you’ll have to shell out around Rs 11000 and at 45 the cost rises to Rs 18000. So buy it as early as possible to book the policy at the lowest possible premium.

3) Accumulate no-claim benefits

Even if you remain healthy – which we should all hope for – with every such no-claim year, the extent of your medical cover increases. Buying early means you are likely to have more no-claim years, allowing you to accumulate the benefits over time.

4) Get access to cheaper and hassle free online buying

At a young age, you can buy a decent enough health insurance policy online. The online policies are cheaper. Many insurers are not willing to sell online if the buyer is above 50. You will not be able to avail of the ease of online purchase if you wait too long.

5) Your employer cover is just not sufficient

With exponential increase in healthcare costs, the need for health insurance cannot be overstated. Check the cost of a week’s hospitalized for a regular illness and then compare it with your company’s coverage. Most likely you’ll be persuaded to buy a cover immediately. Still not sure? Think about when you grow older and might need more frequent medical attention. What about if you are asked to leave the company – a harsh reality today? What about the period in between two jobs? You ought to cover all these risks to protect your portfolio.

6) Avail Sec 80D Tax benefits over and above Sec 80C benefits

Buying your health insurance early also means better financial planning. You save tax for paying the premium. Under section 80D, you can potentially save taxes upto Rs.40,000 annually. If you take these tax benefits into account, the cost of a health insurance policy is not prohibitive considering the protection you enjoy.

7) Overcome the Waiting Period

When I quit IBM and took financial freedom, I bought a private health insurance policy – just to realise that I have to undergo a waiting period of 2 years for specific treatments. And, as fate would have it, my wife had to be operated for one such disease during this 2 year period. Who paid? I did. Do not do the same mistake that I did. Do not wait to buy a health insurance policy till it becomes a definite necessity.

When you buy a health plan, you have to serve several waiting periods-for certain surgeries, special treatments, pre-existing illness coverage, etc. If you buy it now, when do not need it immediately, it would mean you would have served the requisite waiting periods and be able to claim all full benefits later.

8) Cover your ‘to be born’

Today’s health insurance policies covers much more than just hospitalization. New health plans cover you for day care procedures and OPD, not just serious hospitalization. Even vector borne diseases are covered. Most plans also have maternity benefits, which may be relevant at this stage of life. Also, your new born will be covered from birth without any additional premiums.

As with wealth creation, taking action early works with wealth protection too.

Travel Health – Leishmaniasis

There are dozens of countries in the old world and the new where you could get this disfiguring and potentially fatal disease. However in the past 2 decades most of the press has been on soldiers returning from the Middle East with this disease.

Leishmaniasis is not a single disease, but a group of syndromes due to a variety of species of this parasite. The affect different populations and are related to a characteristic vector, the sandfly.

The disease can range from asymptomatic infections to those causing significant illness and death. Disease can appear on a spectrum from a single skin ulcer to destructive lesions of the face to terminal organ disease.

Leishmaniasis is found in 88 countries worldwide and is broken down between Old World and New World.
Old World leishmaniasis is primarily found in parts of Asia, East and North Africa, Soouthern Europe and the Middle East.

New World leishmaniasis occurs from northern Mexico to northern Argentina, with rare cases reported in parts of Texas and Oklahoma. In South America it is not found in Chile or Uruguay.

Leishmaniasis in the US is typically indicative of immigration and travel.

The vector for this parasite is a phlebotomine sandfly. There are a few different species implicated depending on the part of the world.

Sandflies are very small (about 1/3 the size of a mosquito) and make no noise when flying. There bites can sometimes be painless; because of these reasons, many people have no idea they were bitten.

Even one bite of a sandfly can transmit disease, so travelers on short trips can still get infected.

When the female sandfly takes a blood meal it injects the parasite into the wound. Macrophages pick up the parasite and here they multiply until the cell bursts from overcrowding. The parasite goes on to infect more macrophages.

Some of these cells get carried to organs of the body including the liver, spleen and the bone marrow.

There are several species of Leishmania that cause disease in humans. The most common are Leishmania donovani (kala-azar), L. tropica (Baghdad boil), and L. braziliensis (espundia).

After getting bitten by a sandfly, disease may manifest itself from a week to many months later.

It starts out as a papule that enlarges to an ulcer. The ulcer can give the appearance of a volcano crater. Lesions may appear singly or multiple; many heal spontaneously within weeks to months to years.

Certain species (L. braziliensis) can disseminate to the mucosal areas of the face and mouth and cause very destructive and disfiguring disease (espundia) that appears similar to leprosy.

Kala-azar, an Indian name given to systemic type of the disease due to the grayish appearance of the body, can result in enlarged spleen and liver, diarrhea, emaciation, weakness and death.

Laboratory diagnosis I usually based on stained microscopic examination of the infected tissue. More specialized techniques like culture, molecular techniques and antibody detection are available but are not available in most diagnostic laboratories.

If you get leishmaniasis, your doctor should consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for treatment guidelines.

So you plan to travel to a part of the world where leishmaniasis is endemic, what can you do to prevent the horrible disease?

There is not a vaccine available to prevent leishmaniasis. The best way is to avoid sandfly bites. The CDC recommends the following:

Avoid outdoor activities, especially from dusk to dawn, when sand flies generally are the most active.

When outdoors (or in unprotected quarters):
o Minimize the amount of exposed skin. To the extent that is tolerable in the climate, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks; and tuck your shirt into your pants.
o Apply insect repellent to exposed (uncovered) skin and under the ends of sleeves and pant legs. Follow the instructions on the label of the repellent. The most effective repellents are those that contain the chemical DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide).

When indoors:
o Stay in well-screened or air-conditioned areas.
o Keep in mind that sand flies are much smaller than mosquitoes and therefore can get through smaller holes.
o Spray living/sleeping areas with an insecticide to kill insects.
o If you are not sleeping in a well-screened or air-conditioned area, use a bed net and tuck it under your mattress. If possible, use a bed net that has been soaked in or sprayed with a pyrethroid-containing insecticide (permethrin or deltamethrin). The same treatment can be applied to screens, curtains, sheets, and clothing (clothing should be retreated after five washings).

Taking Care of Dog Health Concerns Naturally Without Side Effects

Any pet owner is well aware of all the issues that having a companion can cause. One of the most common problems is the regular worry over dog health concerns. After all, when you have a pet, the responsibility for its well-being also rests on you. A much loved companion is another member of your family, and any illness or health problems they face becomes a matter of concern for the whole family. Since no one likes to see their furry friend suffer, keeping up with dog health issues, and ways to deal with them, is an important part of being a pet owner.

Probably the best known of dog health concerns is rabies. Caused by a virus, rabies is a major concern to public health, as well as to the well being of precious pets, especially in countries in the third world, or the Middle East. It is transmitted through bites, and is fatal unless the dog has been vaccinated. The disease causes their brain to malfunction, and the behavior of the dog changes abruptly. Behavior changes are followed by paralysis of the hind legs, and throat muscles, followed by death caused due to an increasing difficulty in breathing.

Canine distemper is another major item on the list of dog health issues, and although highly contagious, it is not transmitted to humans, and is treatable. Dog health concerns can range from a simple allergy, through cough, cold, and infections, to rabies. Dogs are also susceptible to heart diseases, hepatitis, kidney diseases, and epilepsy. While some diseases and health problems are common to your dog and you, some are unique illnesses that only your companion suffers from.

Age, and genetics, related diseases like diabetes, cancer, and arthritis are the same in you and your friend, and many of the pathogens that make your life a living hell cause problems for your pet too. Viral and bacterial diseases affecting dogs are many and varied, as are vector borne diseases like those spread by ticks, and fungal infections like mange. Hereditary, genetic and geriatric diseases and dog health concerns can also take up a lot of mental space for a pet owner, especially if your canine companion is of a certain age and getting older.

Purebreds are more prone to certain genetic and orthopedic diseases, and some breeds are more susceptible to growths, tumors, and cancers. Older dogs are also a lot more likely to develop heart disease, along with many other age related disorders. Knowing and keeping abreast of all the relevant dog health concern for the particular breed and age group of your companion is a major part of being a pet owner. Managing health issues is as important for your canine friend as it is for you or your family.

Natural and holistic treatment and maintenance regimens like homeopathy can help alleviate dog health concerns by keeping your pet achieve optimal health. In case of disease, daily supplements can help strengthen and bolster the natural biological systems of your pet, giving them the extra nutrients to build immunity and fight health-related problems.