Why women in India should be encouraged to take individual health plan ?
While happily wrapping up work on a Friday evening, Nisha Jain, a bank professional complained of severe chest pain for which her colleagues had to rush her to the nearest hospital. To her surprise, at the young age of 38, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nisha and her family had to bear hefty expenses incurred during the course of treatment as she was not insured under any health insurance plan.
Women health issues are different as compared to men. But sadly, very few women focus on the importance of good health in their lives. For majority of their lives, they remain ignored, dependent or busy playing hide and seek between home and office.
Top reasons why women in India need insurance
Increasing heart related diseases
The general belief is such that men are more prone to catch heart diseases, on the contrary lately it has been seen that women are also getting prey to the deadly effects of these diseases. As per the three-year long Saffolalife study, which is India's largest study on risk factors causing heart disease, revealed that three in every five women out of the 51.7 thousand urban India female respondents are at a risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is astonishing to note that this high risk of heart disease sets in as early as 35 years of age in women. Even women as young as 35-44 years have the high risk rate of CVD. CVD risk is as high among housewives as it is among working professionals. 69 percent of housewives and 67 percent of working professionals over the age of 35 in India are at the risk of CVD.
Gestational diabetes, is equally affecting the lives of women across the globe, particularly Indian women. “Earlier, one out of every 10 women I treated had the condition. Over the past decade, that number has gone up to 4 in 10 women,” says Dr Pradeep Gadge, a consultant diabetologist at Mumbai’s Seven Hills hospital. “As lifestyle issues such as disrupted sleep-wake cycles become more common, and the average age of the pregnant woman rises, these numbers are set to rise further, since women over 25 are already at higher risk of gestational diabetes.”
High blood pressure or hypertension kills nearly 1.5 million people every year in South-East Asia, says Dr Panda, senior surgeon. Further elaborating the point, he says, “Hypertension is likely to end up being an epidemic in the near future, and approximately one-third of our population will suffer from it by 2020. It has been increasing consistently since 1980. Currently, estimates put the incidence of hypertension to 20 to 40% in urban areas and 12 to 17% in rural areas of India."
Annually, closely 500,000 people die of cancer in India. The WHO said this number is expected to rise to 700,000 by 2015. "The number of cancer cases in India is increasing every year," P. K. Julka, head of the oncology department at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, told us. According to WHO, lung, oral, lip, throat and neck cancers are the most common among men while women suffer more from cervix, breast and ovarian cancers. Aggravating the cause, according to health ministry data, out of more than 300 cancer centers in India, 40 percent are not adequately equipped with advanced cancer care equipment. India will need at least 600 additional cancer care centers by 2020 to meet the requirements.
Lack of nutrition, sex education, dilapidated rural health care infrastructure, sanitation, transport facility, and no new government initiatives in the medical field has badly affected the reproductive health of the Indian women. India's maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is highest in South Asia: 540 deaths per 100,000 live births or one woman dying roughly every five minutes. An estimated 1, 36,000 women die in India every year due to pregnancy related setbacks. Shockingly the number of maternity -related deaths which occur in a week in India is equivalent to what occurs in a whole year in Europe.
Women as compared to men are highly prone to depression that indirectly contributes towards health issues and even increases the risk of developing suicidal tendencies. Depression as a whole remains one of the biggest challenges to mankind because of its high prevalence. According to the WHO; Indians are among the worlds most depressed. In a meta-analysis of 13 general population epidemiological surveys that covered a total of 6550 families with 33572 persons and used common methodological parameters (face to face interviews with each subject, coverage of all age groups, availability of separate prevalence reports for rural and urban sector and for males and females) done in the period between 1967 and 1995 in India, Reddy and Chandrasekar (1998) found that anxiety and depressive disorders were significantly more common in women.
What is the solution?
The intensity and the speed at which these diseases are increasing its time that women take charge of their health and timely invest for its overall well-being. Most women in India still remain ignored when it comes to seriously taking charge of their health. They are either dependent or too busy daily chores to even think beyond that periphery. Most of the rapidly spreading diseases are a result of unhealthy lifestyle, but can be corrected if managed with little care and precautions. A Conscious effort towards adopting healthy lifestyle along with an independent health policy can really benefit women in the long run.
Benefits of independent health policy
Under the income tax rules, women in India pay less tax as compared to men in India. This helps them in saving more on their disposable income.
Typically, as women have more longevity than men; these days insurance policies are designed addressing this cause as well as with a motive to encourage more women to invest in health insurance plans. Less premium along with discounts up to a certain age limit are enjoyed by women at large.
Women across the globe play a crucial role in managing and bringing up a family. Whether you are a breadwinner or not, medical insurance for women offer adequate cover and many other advantages related to maternity, critical illnesses etc.
Options are many when it comes to purchasing a health insurance policy. There are various health insurance companies like HDFC ERGO that provides various kinds of policies that are highly beneficial for the women of today.
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