World Heart Day is observed on the 29th of September every year to raise awareness of cardiovascular diseases (CVD). CVD is a major concern for people across the globe. As per WHO, an estimated 17.5 million deaths happen every year due to CVD worldwide, which represents 31% of all global deaths. Diseases related to the heart are becoming common among people across different life stages, which is a major health concern. 1 in 10, aged 30 to 70 years of age die from CVD. Earlier Coronary artery disease was labeled as a disease for senior citizens. But now as many as 4% to 10% of all heart attacks occur before the age of 45.
Multiple reasons lead to heart diseases like hypertension, diabetes, high blood cholesterol, genetically inherited conditions and lifestyle choices like cigarette smoking, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity. While the novel coronavirus is spreading like wildfire and everybody is more concerned about Covid-19 symptoms, people with weak heart conditions need to be extra cautious now as they are at high risk of developing COVID-19.
With the increasing medical inflation and apprehensions about hereditary and lifestyle-related medical conditions, taking health insurance that covers cardiovascular diseases (CVD) is important.
Diagnosis and treatment can be expensive for any medical condition related to the heart. While a standard health insurance is helpful in most of the cases, some critical health conditions demand more than what is covered under your health insurance.
Most common heart-related diseases like stroke and heart attacks are considered as critical illnesses and they will be only covered if you opt for a critical illness cover under your health insurance. A critical illness is referring to severe health conditions that require extensive medical attention and a longer period of treatment. Hence, the expense involved with treatment for critical illnesses is generally higher when compared to the treatment for other diseases. It can lead to a financial burden that requires to be supported by financial protection offered by the critical illness plan.
For instance, a standard health plan will fail to provide adequate protection if diagnosed with a block in the heart, which requires coronary bypass surgery. The treatment will involve considerable costs that will be beyond the sum insured in a typical health insurance plan, and it is where a critical illness plan comes in place. Critical illness covers kick in when one is diagnosed with any critical illness. It does not cover against other diseases and hospitalisations, which are usually covered under standard health insurance.
With regular health insurance, the treatment and hospital expenses can only be reimbursed. But considering the severity of the disease, under a critical illness insurance policy, one can receive a lumpsum amount of sum insured, which can be utilised to cover treatment expenses when diagnosed with any of the critical illnesses. Many conditions are covered under critical illness plan like an organ transplant, kidney failure, brain surgery, etc. Cardiovascular conditions that are generally covered under critical illness cover include myocardial infarction or heart attack, cardiomyopathy or heart muscle disease, heart valve surgery, open-chest CABG or bypass surgery, etc.
Now, it is important to cover yourself with a critical illness cover. However, the number of diseases covered under a critical illness policy can vary from one insurance company to the other. Hence, it is important to consult with the insurance provider to understand what is covered.
Views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of Dr. Sudha Reddy – HEAD – Health and Travel – Digit Insurance