Live in a polluted city? Here’s how much that can cost you

Pollution is on the rise in India, specifically in metros like Delhi and Bombay. Read on to find out how it will affect your health.

Live in a polluted city? Here’s how much that can cost you

Jiya was eager to move to Delhi earlier this year. Living and working in a big city had its own charm and Jiya wanted to experience it all. She soon became disillusioned, though. The pollution levels in the city, which worsened after Diwali and because of crop burning in states near Delhi, made it impossible for Jiya to stay there. She developed severe breathing disorders. All the money she had saved over the past few months went towards her medical expenses. Distraught, she trudged back to her hometown.

If you too live in a polluted city, then you must take all steps to prevent being in a situation like Jiya’s. While you can do little to change the atmospheric conditions, you can stay safe yourself. For example, invest in a good health insurance plan to help you if the need arises. Read on to know more.

Related: Health Check Ups At Different Stages Of Life [Infographic]

Aftermath of Diwali

The air becomes polluted every year after Diwali, but this year things got out of control. Thick smog engulfs the streets of Delhi and many other cities in North India. The condition is so grave that schools are being shut. The pollution levels are more than 300% above average and by some estimates, inhaling Delhi air is equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes.

Even if you are careful about covering your nose and mouth while you travel or stay away from firecrackers, there’s no guarantee you won’t fall ill, or suffer from itchy skin, or develop a breathing disorder. So, you need to ensure that in case something happens, you don’t have to spend thousands and lakhs to get cured.

Your best bet is to buy a robust and comprehensive health insurance policy. With this in hand, you can afford the best possible healthcare. Choose a plan that covers all kinds of eye disorders and breathing troubles. Many plans may include asthma and other lung disorders in the list of exclusions for pre-existing illnesses. So, look for plans that have provisions for such illnesses and stay protected.

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

Here is a list of the common health problems that crop up during Diwali, the treatments needed and how insurance can help in each case.

Common illnesses and the cost of treatment  

  • Breathing trouble:

Breathing in the polluted air causes throat and lung problems in adults and children. And for many, this breathing issue develops into full-blown Asthma. To treat this, you would have to run chest X-rays and buy inhalers. In some serious cases, you may even need to get hospitalised.

But did you know that asthma treatments can cost you up to Rs 5,000 every single time? Now, in case of hospitalisation, you can rely on your health insurance. Every regular health insurance can cover the hospitalisation charges, medical expenses from 30 days before the hospitalisation and 60 days after, ambulance charges and even the cost of medical tests.

Related: Health insurance for dummies: 7 essential questions and answers

  • Eye problems:

The fumes and the smog can also result in eye problems like blurred vision, burning sensation in the eyes and in some cases, temporary blindness. A single comprehensive eye check-up, excluding surgeries and further complicated procedures, can cost about Rs 2,500 in reputed hospitals across India. The cost can shoot up drastically in case a surgery is involved. If that is not enough to make you cry, here’s the kicker: your regular health insurance may not cover eye-related issues unless a hospitalisation is involved.

Related: Is your Health Insurance plan adequate to cover critical illness?

  • Hypertension:

People living in polluted cities often develop issues such as hypertension, nausea and vertigo too. Hypertension and vertigo can be quite costly in terms of diagnosis through investigative tests. And then the treatment can easily climb to Rs 5,000. In case there are day care procedures or hospitalisation included, most of these costs are covered by a regular health insurance. However, you may need a Critical Illness cover in case the hypertension leads to more severe heart problems.

If you have been affected by any of these diseases, you will know exactly how expensive it is to get them treated and how deep a hole they burn in your pocket.

Related: Insurers are now rewarding you for being in good health

The bottom line

Insurance is an investment you make for the future. So buy a good health policy and plan ahead. This Diwali is over, but the next one will be here before you know it. And if we go by the trends, we can only stare at some even murkier pollution levels next year. Speak to your insurance advisor or do your own research and get the best possible plan that not only covers you, but your whole family too.


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