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How should a Diabetic be financially prepared to fight the disease?

Updated: Mar 19

Diabetes has become one of the biggest health threats in India today and perceived to be a silent killer. As per media reports, presently, about 70 million people are affected by this disease, mostly in the age group of 30-60 years. Stressful lifestyle, poor diet, obesity, heredity, etc., are known to be the common causes of Diabetes. If not taken care, diabetes can cause a lot of health complications. Excess sugar levels can severely damage the eyes, kidneys, etc., and even double the risk of a stroke or a heart attack. Having a certain lifestyle for diabetes care can be lifelong demanding like controlling diet, regular exercise, periodic monitoring of blood glucose levels, etc.

It is not just these protective measures but also financial safeguards which a diabetic need to take care of. This is because diabetics need to spend money regularly for keeping the disease under control. Buying health insurance is thus the most important step a diabetic should take.

Health insurance options for a Diabetic:

For a diabetic person, it can be difficult to find a suitable policy that adequately covers their medical condition. Diabetes falls under the high risk-category in the health insurance industry. There are some health plans where diabetes features as an exclusion and is not covered at all. In some regular health plans, diabetes is classified under pre-existing ailment and there is a waiting period of 2-4 years. This means a diabetic cannot claim any hospitalisation expenses during that period. Further, if he/she goes for an upgrade in the future, the insurer might reject the application too depending upon the health condition. So, a regular health plan is not the ideal option for someone who is already a diabetic.

So, what can a diabetic do in such cases?

Fortunately, many insurers today have come out with policies specially designed for people with diabetes. Such policies offer specialised cover for diabetes-related complications like kidney and heart problems which otherwise a regular indemnity plan will not cover. There is no waiting period too in such plans and a diabetic is covered from day 1 of the issue of policy. Hence, the premiums on diabetes insurance plans are expensive compared to a regular health policy. Although the premiums are expensive, the financial burden related to the disease can be reduced to a great extent through health insurance. And with the extent of coverage (including the related complications) the specialised diabetes plans offer, it is worth the money.

Note: Most insurers offering health plans – regular & specialised, commonly cover Type 2 Diabetes. Also known as Diabetes Mellitus, it is a common form of disease which strikes the middle aged and elderly people. Type 1 Diabetes is rare which strikes the young and even kids and there are very few insurers which offer cover for Type 1 Diabetes.

Here is a brief table on the various diabetes insurance plans offered in the market:

There are many other companies like National Insurance and Religare Health Insurance which cover diabetes as a pre-existing condition and after a stipulated waiting period but they are more of regular health covers than specialised diabetes plans. These do not cover a diabetic for all related expenses.

Would health insurance be sufficient for a Diabetic?

Diabetes treatment on a regular basis can be expensive. The routine costs spending on insulin, medicine costs, regular lab checks, etc., starts from a minimum Rs.5,000 per month. Besides the regular expenses, delay in claims or even in the event of rejection of claims, a diabetic person would need more than health insurance to avoid financial stress at the crucial hour. Relying just on health insurance will not be enough. A dedicated medical fund will go a long way in financially supporting the required treatment. A medical fund should be maintained and regular sums should be contributed in it every month. A diabetic should have a medical fund of at least Rs.5 lakh at any point of time.

Managing your lifestyle can benefit your finances:

Your entire life style undergoes a major overhaul once you are diagnosed with diabetes. Regular exercise, check-ups and a healthy diet, can go a long in controlling this disease. The more it is in control, the lesser you will have to spend on its treatment. As mentioned in the table, ICICI Prudential and Apollo Munich offer discount on renewal of premiums and health check-ups if the test results show your diabetes in control.

To conclude, Diabetes can be an arduous struggle who suffer from it. The specialised plans can at least reduce the financial burden to a great extent. Look for a comprehensive cover with less restrictions and lifelong coverage. Read the policy details carefully including information on premium loading, extent of coverage, etc. before buying a specialised diabetic plan. A personal medical fund has to inevitably complement your diabetes insurance. With the right insurance plan and a medical fund, you can be financially prepared for the uphill battle to fight Diabetes.

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