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With medical costs increasing every year, having a chronic illness like diabetes can be quite expensive. But there are ways to reduce the financial burden.

Did you know that India is the diabetes capital of the world? Currently, there are about 7 crore people suffering from this disease in the country. Diabetes is not only passed down from one generation to the next; it can also depend on the lifestyle you live. Therefore, it becomes essential to have a sound financial plan in case you are affected by the disease at any point during your life.

Manage your finances well
Research indicates that middle-aged and older adults have the highest risk of developing Type-2 diabetes. This could be due to various reasons. Bad lifestyle habits and hereditary issues are the primary reasons. As a result, it is essential to have adequate money finances put away to deal with such situations.
One simple way could be to start monitoring your spending habits. Cut down on unnecessary expenses, especially when it comes to items that impact your health. For instance, it has been revealed that consuming even two sugary drinks per week could increase your chances of developing Type-2 diabetes. By cutting down on such unhealthy dietary habits, you improve your health and also save money.

 

Related: Why Insuring your Health is a Smart Decision?

The cost of the problem
The treatment cost for diabetic care has considerably increased in the past few years. Currently, the average monthly expense for a diabetic patient costs anywhere between Rs. 3000 to Rs. 8000. 

Studies conducted in India say that a low-income family (where one adult has diabetes) spends around 20% of their income towards the treatment and care. Meanwhile, families (with a diabetic child) spend about 35% of their income on diabetes care. 

The study also says that if an individual has diabetes for five years, the total sum would be approximately Rs. 1,50,000 on just treatment. However, 10 years later, this same sum would cost about Rs. 4,00,000 and in 20 years, it would probably amount to around Rs. 15,00,000. 

Related: How pre-existing medical conditions affect your health insurance

Buy health insurance
This is perhaps the most important step you should take. While you may not have health issues at the moment, it does not mean you should not add a layer of protection. Diabetes is an expensive disease to treat and live with. In order to stay healthy, you could need regular medicinal supplies such as insulin, oral tablets and test strips if you have diabetes. Additionally, you could also need to get periodic check-ups at the hospital. All this can cost a lot of money. Health insurance is the best way to ensure that these expenses do not dent your savings account.
Without the right insurance plan, it is tough to address the financial needs of those who suffer from diabetes. Fortunately, insurance plans exist to reduce the financial burden of such illnesses, while providing comprehensive coverage of the disease and complications related to it. Listed below are some insurers that provide plans that cover this medical condition.

  • Star Health Diabetes Safe
  • Religare Health Insurance 
  • National Insurance Varistha Medicalim 
  • ICICI Prudential Diabetes Care
  • Apollo Munich Energy Health Insurance Plan

Create an emergency fund
An emergency fund can be a life-saver in times of...well, emergencies. This can help you manage your expenses in case you are not able to go to work for health reasons. That way, you wouldn’t need to take a loan or borrow money to pay your medical bills or meet everyday expenses. Ideally, you should create a fund that is equal to six months of your spending or three to six months of your salary. 
An important thing to remember here is that this fund should be liquid. In other words, it is better to maintain this amount in an investment vehicle that offers withdrawal facility at a moment’s notice. The last thing you want is for your money to be stuck in some investment, which can make it tough to get funds during an emergency.

Related: Kidney Problems: How much do they really cost?

Diabetes as a pre-existing condition
Even if you are a diabetic patient, you can still avail the benefits of an insurance policy. However, you may have to pay a higher premium due to the risk associated with diabetes. While choosing a policy, look for a plan that offers maximum benefits at an affordable rate. 
Generally, insurance policies come with a waiting period clause. This means that you cannot make a claim for a certain period of time if you have a pre-existing medical condition. The waiting period differs from one company to another. So, look out for a policy that has a shorter waiting period.

The bottom line
By 2025, every fifth diabetic patient in the world would be an Indian, according to estimates by WHO[4]. This is quite a serious problem. Luckily, due to the information available, it is now possible to take the best step forward in order to fight this disease. More importantly, with the right insurance plan you can make it a less stressful time for you and your family. 

Related: Best smartphone apps to track your health

Disclaimer: This article is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as investment or insurance or tax or legal advice. You should separately obtain independent advice when making decisions in these areas.

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