India is often hailed as the ultimate destination for Medical Tourists, considering the reasonable cost of managing various healthcare issues, when compared to the sky-high cost of healthcare services in developed countries. However, there has been a rising concern about a steady, steep rise in medical costs across the board, which is gradually becoming unaffordable for the average Indian household.
The Rising Medical Costs in India
The rise in medical costs in India is disproportionate to the pace of growth, outpacing the inflation in both rural and urban India over the past decade. The quality of healthcare provided by Government Hospitals in India is often dismal, which has led to its citizens thronging various private hospitals and clinics who fulfil this need for quality medical care, albeit at an exorbitant cost. Of course, this cost is partly due to the cost of super-specialty equipment and robotics being passed on to the patients, partly due to patients utilising higher category facilities for extended periods depending on the condition of the patient and co-existing illnesses. The proportion of people who visit private hospitals has risen by nearly 6 percentage points to 68 percent over the past decade, which is a solid figure. But, most often, the common man in India struggles to meet his/her medical expenses as the rising costs of quality healthcare far exceeds his/her paltry means. The high cost of healthcare is also to blame for the lesser number of people seeking medical attention if at all, at an earlier, treatable stage.
A Growing Need for Health Insurance
Developed countries have circumvented this unnecessary financial burden caused by rising medical costs by putting in place strong and effective health insurance or medical insurance systems, that cater to majority of its citizens. In comparison, the penetrance of health insurance schemes in India is abysmal. A recent study showed that 86% of rural Indian patients and 82% of urban Indian patients do not have access to any form of employer-provided or state-funded insurance. The burden of healthcare lies on the average citizen who has to bear the expenses of his own healthcare. Hence, the dire need for private players in India to provide affordable health insurance schemes that cater to the vast majority of its citizens, in various parts the country, cutting across various social and financial stratifications.
The Doctor’s Prescription
The fact that medical inflation far outpaces overall inflation, particularly in India, is well known. Medical inflation in India is currently pegged at about 15 percent a year as compared to overall inflation of about 6–7 percent in the past few years.
The only reasonable advice a doctor can give in the present scenario is to get yourself a comprehensive health/medical insurance plan that will cover for your unplanned medical expenses, while also acting to cushion compounding medical costs over the years. Health insurance provides the much-needed financial support at your most vulnerable moment – during ill-health.
The vast majority of Indians still do not have any medical insurance. So, should you get Medical Insurance? You betcha. If you are an average Indian citizen, you will need it to tide over not only your illness, but the financial burden that accompanies any illness.
Bharti AXA GI provides Comprehensive Health Insurance plans that address not just your health insurance needs but the needs of your entire family. You can choose from any of three affordable plans that provide you with the flexibility to suit your needs and budget.