As per official data from the World Health Organisation (WHO), India is one of the countries with the maximum number of diabetics on a global scale. More than 50 million people in India suffer from Type 2 diabetes and the grim fact is that the numbers are only increasing.
Diabetes Mellitus is a condition in which a person’s body would be incapable of producing or utilising insulin. Although diabetes is linked to genetic predisposition, the disease is increasingly being contracted by people due to lifestyle disorders. The elevated blood sugar levels that accompany the ailment can lead to other health issues, such as cardiovascular diseases in the future.
Health insurance plans for diabetics
Until a few years ago, a person suffering from diabetes would have found it very difficult to buy a health insurance plan. However, the competition in the Indian insurance space has resulted in the introduction of a suite of fresh insurance products that cater to those at a disadvantage as well. So if you are a diabetic, you can get protection from a health insurance policy, provided you are within the age criteria mentioned in the plan.
The key advantages of a diabetes insurance plan are as follows:
● Most of the diabetes insurance plans offer hospitalisation cover for complications arising out of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
● The policy can be bought in the form of an individual plan or as a floater plan.
● Some insurers even have variants of the plan in which the customer is not required to undergo medical examination.
● The waiting period for coverage under such plans is usually 15 months. However, some insurers offer diabetes insurance policies with no waiting period.
● Some diabetes insurance plans offer coverage for outpatient expenses such as diagnostic tests, medical consultations, cost of drugs, etc.
● Some of the policies offer compensation in the event of accidental death of the insured. Hence, this plan can act as a supplement to the Personal Accident cover under your motor insurance policy.
● If a kidney transplant is required, the donor expenses will be covered.
● Usually diabetes insurance policies provide compensation for dialysis expenses up to a certain limit.
● In case the insured had to undergo an amputation of a limb, the cost of artificial limbs will be covered up to a specified limit.
● Some plans allow automatic restoration of the sum assured.
● Several day care procedures are covered under a diabetes insurance plan.
● Some diabetes insurance plans allow life-long renewal facility to the insured.
● Several insurance companies offer diabetes insurance plans online. Policies in electronic format are easy to maintain and more secure than policies purchased through the offline route.
● The diabetes insurance plan offers tax benefits to the policyholder under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act.
● Most insurance companies offer the facility of free-look period for diabetes insurance plans. The customer has the option to review the terms and conditions within the policy document after he/she receives it. In case the customer is not satisfied with the provisions, he/she can return the policy back to the insurance company within 15 days of receipt. The customer should state valid reasons for the cancellation request. The company will then refund the paid premiums after deducting the cost for providing the proportionate risk cover, medical screening, and stamp duty charges. Free-look cancellation facility is not valid for policy renewals.
The cost factor
When you buy a diabetes health insurance plan you will be spending more than what you would spend on a normal health insurance policy. This is because such plans are disease-specific schemes that provide added advantage to a person suffering from the ailment.
Consider a scenario in which a diabetic is insured with an individual health plan such as mediclaim with adequate sum assured. This policy would be enough for him/her to avail reimbursement for hospitalisation expenses arising from diabetes. But the coverage at the time of renewal may be affected. Moreover, the waiting period for getting coverage for diabetes under an individual health plan may go up to 4 years, much higher than that of a diabetes-specific plan. Therefore, after the detection of the ailment, it makes more sense to buy a disease-specific plan for protection.
Diabetes health insurance plans in the market
Here, we take a look at some of the most popular products in the diabetes insurance category:
1. Star Health Diabetes Safe Plan - Apart from the advantages offered by a diabetes-specific plan, this scheme has the special benefits provided by Star Health Insurance:
a. The plan assures quick and hassle-free claim settlement
b. There is no third-party administrator involved in claim settlement
c. The insurance company offers cashless claim settlement facility at more than 8,200 network hospitals in India.
d. The insured can maintain his/her personal health details in an electronic format.
e. This plan has an in-built personal accident cover that offers protection to the insured from injuries/death due to external accidents. This is similar to the coverage offered by Death and Disability riders in life insurance.
2. Apollo Munich Energy Health Insurance Plan - This is a unique health insurance plan that offers coverage to a customer for hospitalisation due to diabetes and hypertension. There is no waiting period under the policy. The plan offers several benefits to the insured:
a. The policy is a combined package that covers the insured for inpatient hospitalisation expenses and a host of wellness programmes.
b. Health rewards are offered under the policy to keep track of the customer’s health.
c. The coverage is offered on an individual basis and can be availed in two variants. One variant excludes the cost of wellness tests while the other includes the same. Both plan variants are available with or without 20% co-payment option.
d. Customers can benefit from the ‘Star Healthy’ package that provides online health assessment facilities and expert guidance on diet and exercise planning.
Diabetes can be controlled to a large extent by eating healthy and engaging in regular physical activity. Maintaining a balanced diet that includes all essential food groups is necessary to avoid the risk of falling prey to lifestyle diseases. However, if you are already suffering from diabetes, appropriate health insurance coverage is a necessity.