Financial decisions I took to protect my health

TomorrowMakers ™

Financial decisions I took to protect my health

23 April 2018
You care for everyone around you. But do you care for your own health?

I used to be one of those people who didn’t pay much attention to popular advice - ‘your health is the most precious thing in the whole world’, 'Health is wealth' etc. All those were just sayings to me. But that changed when I saw a close friend suffer in a way I could not imagine. Not only did his health deteriorate over time, but it also impacted his finances. It opened my eyes to the importance of protecting my health. That day, I made some financial decisions and started taking my health more seriously.

I bought a health insurance plan

I have always put my loved ones first, but it never occurred to me that I should invest in health insurance for myself. I remember reading an Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) report which said that out-of-pocket medical expenses make up about 62% of all healthcare costs in India. This number spurred me to take action and buy a good insurance plan for myself.

 

After comparing various policies, I opted for a comprehensive health insurance plan that would cover all kinds of medical emergencies, such as hospitalisation due to injury,  illnesses, surgery to treat medical complications and the like. You're probably thinking "can you afford this "additional cost?" Considering our current lifestyles, stress levels and the fact that we aren't getting any younger, ask yourself- can you afford not to have a health plan?

Fortunately, my policy will reimburse these expenses to me in the long run. How? Well, my health insurance covers maternity expenses such as labour, delivery, C-section, pre-natal and post-natal care. This will come in handy a few years from now when I start my own family. Additionally, there are various add-ons - room rent waiver, hospital cash, personal accident cover etc. - that I can make use of based on my needs. My insurance also offers benefits such as cashless facility, pre and post hospitalisation fee, ambulance fee, no claim bonus, medical check-up, co-pay options and more importantly, tax benefits under section 80D. Additionally, I also opted for an additional benefit; waiver of premiums in the event of disability. What's more? I get discounts and benefits for looking after my health, like when I join a gym, go for regular dental checkups etc.

I got myself a gym membership

I know what you're thinking - "you are spending more money, not saving!" Well, truthfully, I have a job which keeps me at my desk for hours on end. This doesn’t leave me with many opportunities to exercise. And a stagnant lifestyle has never done anyone any good.

So, I availed the discount offered by my insurer and got myself a membership at the nearest gym that was not only affordable but had good facilities too. Now, I make it a point to go to the gym daily, even if just for 30-45 minutes if I cannot complete a full workout. Of course, there are times when I don’t feel like going to the gym; I am, after all, human. But the fact that I exercise more often than not has reduced some of my health issues.

Also, did you know that insurance providers offer discounts to people who have a high health quotient? Well, that works as a motivator for me.          

I bought a critical illness plan

Most people do not look into critical illness plans once they have a health policy. But did you know cervix and breast cancers among females account for over 50% of all cancer-related deaths in India? Hospitalization expenses for critical illnesses like cancer are extremely high. And a health insurance plan may not be able to cover those costs entirely since such conditions entail multiple visits for treatment, hospitalisation costs, and other expenses.

To prevent dipping into my savings or investments, to deal with a critical illness, I decided to purchase a CI plan that covers cancer and heart ailments. Not only can I easily fit it into my monthly budget, but it gets me some tax benefits as well. A significant advantage, however, is the benefits it offers - a lump sum payout upon diagnosis and/or coverage of up to Rs. 50 lakh, treatment at any hospital I choose, a hassle-free claim process and many more. 

Not wanting to be in a dire situation convinced me to invest in my health. I want to be adequately covered, and believe that women should put their needs first and ensure they protect both, their health and finances.                         

I stopped eating out

Okay, so I haven't stopped this entirely. Year after year, I made a resolution to eat healthy so that I could lose some weight. But that is easier said than done. You can understand when I say that a fast-paced lifestyle has made us appreciate everything that comes fast, including food. This habit, however, has cost many people their health, in the form of lifestyle diseases like cardiac problems, obesity etc.

So, I curbed my urge to eat out, and now, I cook for myself every day. Every alternate day I spend some time on basic preparation so that I can quickly whip something up when I need to. This is not only healthy but cost-effective as well. Buying and using fresh ingredients to cook costs me much less than what I spend on ordering food.    

Conclusion:

It took me a while to understand why making these decisions was crucial. But as they say - better late than never. Here’s a piece of advice for you - when it comes to your health, ignorance can cost you a lot. 

 
 

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