Pollution-related hospitalisations on the rise in Delhi NCR: Why health insurance is your ultimate safeguard

A recent survey by LocalCircles, a Delhi-based citizen group, revealed that an alarming four out of five families (80 percent) of families residing in the Delhi-NCR are grappling with health problems stemming from the region’s severe air pollution. 

Today, we will explore how health insurance can play a crucial role in preventing financial strain while ensuring access to necessary medical care amid the rising pollution crisis.

The escalation of pollution-related hospitalisations

Delhi residents faced another day of toxic air on Friday as the city’s air quality remained in the ‘severe’ category. The Air Quality Index (AQI) crossed the 400 mark at 9 am, indicating hazardous levels of pollution, according to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data. 

However, the deteriorating air quality has led to an unprecedented rise in hospital admissions due to pollution-related illnesses. 

The surge in out-of-pocket expenses

When these expenses are unexpected and not accounted for in one’s budget. As a result, many individuals find themselves facing financial hardship or even resorting to borrowing funds to cover these expenses.

“In the context of rising pollution-related hospitalisations, having comprehensive health coverage ensures that individuals don’t bear the full burden of emergency medical bills. It provides a crucial layer of financial protection, offering peace of mind and access to necessary healthcare without significant financial strain,” Rakesh Goyal Director, Probus Insurance Broker says. 

The role of health insurance

Health insurance serves as a vital safeguard against unforeseen medical expenses, including those arising from pollution-related emergency hospitalisations. By obtaining a comprehensive health insurance plan, individuals can minimise the financial impact of required medical treatments and hospital stays.

Meanwhile, with the AQI crossing 500 in the NCR region, there has been a 50% surge in inquiries regarding health insurance this month, according to data analysed by Policybazaar. 

Coverage for emergency hospitalisations

Most health insurance policies cover emergency hospitalisations, ensuring that individuals are not burdened with exorbitant expenses during critical situations. These policies typically encompass expenses related to emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, surgeries, and hospital stays.

Access to quality healthcare

Having health insurance provides individuals with the opportunity to seek timely and appropriate medical care without worrying about the associated costs. With pollution-related illnesses on the rise, prompt access to quality healthcare becomes paramount in mitigating the potential health risks. 

“At present, a significant 63% of India’s health expenditures are borne out-of-pocket, signalling substantial financial vulnerability. This high reliance on personal funds underscores the risk of financial strain during medical emergencies. To mitigate this risk and ensure access to optimal healthcare, it is imperative to leverage the advantages of health insurance. Comprehensive insurance plans encompass coverage for hospitalisation, emergency room visits, medication expenses, and surgeries,” Yogesh Gupta, Chief Business Officer, Bimaplan says. 

Additional benefits and add-ons

Beyond coverage for emergency hospitalisations, health insurance plans often provide additional benefits and add-ons that can further mitigate out-of-pocket expenses. These may include coverage for pre and post-hospitalisation expenses, outpatient consultations, medications, and preventive healthcare services. 

Some insurance providers may also offer wellness programs and discounts on health-related products and services, encouraging policyholders to prioritise their overall well-being.

The importance of policy evaluation

While health insurance can protect against out-of-pocket expenses, it is essential to evaluate and compare different policies to identify the most suitable option. Factors such as coverage limits, network hospitals, waiting periods, and premium costs should all be carefully considered. Consulting with insurance professionals or utilising online resources can assist individuals in selecting a policy that aligns with their specific needs and budget.

By securing comprehensive health insurance coverage, individuals can prioritise their health and well-being without worrying about the financial burdens that come with pollution-related illnesses. 

It is imperative that residents of Delhi NCR recognise the importance of investing in health insurance to safeguard their overall health and financial stability amid the alarming pollution crisis.

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Updated: 17 Nov 2023, 12:38 PM IST

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