Why women need a separate health insurance cover & how to go about it

Elizabeth Mathai
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Why women need a separate health insurance cover & how to go about it

Why women need a separate health insurance cover & how to go about it ovarian breast cancer thyroid fertility insurance 30 stades

It is mostly men who take the decision regarding buying health insurance for the family. When they are young, they buy for themselves and post-marriage, they mostly shift to a family floater plan which covers all the family members. While family floater plans are adequate for most of the general health complications, they may not cover the specific health needs of women.

Women face issues like women-specific cancers, reproductive health and hormonal problems etc. But the family floater plans do not cover these adequately as they are oriented towards general diseases.

So it is important for women to have separate health insurance to take care of their medical needs. “There are many health concerns affecting a large number of young women today, including women specific cancers, diabetes, reproductive health, depression, thyroid, etc. Studies indicate that around 67 percent of working women over the age of 35 are at the risk of heart problems,” says Shanai Ghosh, ED & CEO of Edelweiss General Insurance.

Also Read: How to buy health insurance in the post-COVID-19 world

“In an unfortunate situation of having to deal with any of these, the absence of a health plan can lead to large financial stress and eat into savings. Health insurance is imperative as it will provide them with the necessary care, both financially and emotionally, at the time of need,” adds Shanai.

How to choose the right policy?

Your health insurance plan should be assessed based on various factors such as your family history of illness, medical inflation, the city of your residence (Metro, tier 2, tier 3 cities) and age besides others.

Evaluate the several insurance plans available in the market today, make a thorough comparison, and understand what is included and what is excluded. Health insurance policies are easily available online and through mobile apps; they are transparent in their offerings as well as the premium that would be charged.

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“Women should specifically look at policies which can cover maternity, infertility coverage along with female specific cancer conditions like breast, uterus, and ovarian cancer,” says Dr Sudha Reddy, Head – Health & Travel at Digit Insurance.

“The medical costs are steep and new ailments are cropping up every now and then,” says Gurdeep Singh Batra, Head Retail Underwriting, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

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“One must have a basic individual policy with a sum insured of at least Rs5 lakh along with a critical illness policy and/or a super top up policy with a sum insured of at least Rs10 to Rs20 lakh,” Batra says.

A super top up policy is like a top up recharge on your base insurance plan, which gets activated when your base sum insured is exhausted.

In most cases, opting for a super top up insurance proves to be more economical as compared to opting for a base insurance policy of the same amount.

For example, buying a Rs5 lakh insurance policy and topping it up with a Rs10 lakh top up policy is cheaper than a Rs15 lakh base policy. 

Should women invest in a critical illness cover?

A critical illness policy is a benefit policy, meaning that it provides a lump sum amount to the insured if she is diagnosed with one of the critical illnesses listed in the policy. As per Dr Sudha, the most claimed illnesses by women are gynaecological related problems like ovarian disease, critical illnesses like cancers, and planned hospitalisation like hernia hysterectomy apart from maternity related claims.

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If critical illnesses like cancer run in one’s family, it is always advisable to opt for a critical illness cover since it will include not only the medical expenses but also the costs of lifestyle alterations which a health insurance policy doesn’t cover.

“With change in lifestyle, we have observed an increase in the number of women facing various critical illnesses as they multitask in their jobs/homes through highly stressful situations. Hence a women specific critical illness plan over the base policy will assure of a holistic coverage,” suggests Batra.

When to Start?

“It is imperative to have a health insurance policy as early as possible. So for example, if one starts investing in a health insurance policy, ideally in their 20s, then there are several benefits,” says Basu.

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“To begin with the premium is low, one can accumulate bonus points if there is no claim and of course there is tax benefit,” he adds.

Financial independence is one of the greatest pleasures a woman enjoys, and securing your expenses against planned or sudden medical exigencies through an adequate health insurance policy is a right step in that direction.

(Elizabeth Mathai is a Kochi-based therapist and content creator with expertise in insurance)

Also Read: 5 tips to buy health insurance during COVID-19 & beyond

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