Plan your health expenses and insurance for eventualities

Actor Shrivallabh Vyas’ demise is a lessonon why it is imperative to set aside a health budget every month

New Delhi, January 10, 2018: Actor Shrivallabh Vyas recently passed away, unable to pay his hospital bills. Late Vyas was known for his prominent roles in Aamir Khan’s Lagaan and Sarfarorsh, movies which performed well at the box office. However, unfortunately, this wasn’t enough for Vyas to consolidate his financial position. He was bed-ridden for few years after a paralytic attack in 2008. During the time he was in the ICU of a Jaipur hospital, his wife and daughters struggled to pay the medical bills. His medical expenses were taken care of by actors including Aamir Khan, Akshay Kumar, Manoj Bajpayee, and Irrfan Khan, among others.

In light of the above incident, it is time to revisit one’s health and plan health expenses. The Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) premium is deducted on a person’s gross salary, which is 1.75% from the employee contribution and 4.75% from the employer contribution — a total of 6.5%.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Salaried people pay 6.5% from their salary for their health expenses. However, it is time to also consider those who are out of the ESI cover, especially the rich. Who is in charge of their insurance? It is imperative for every single person to plan health expenses. All of us should keep 6.5% of our monthly budget for health expenses including the insurance. The amount we spend on the insurance of our body should be double the amount that is spent on our car maintenance. Additionally, the government should ensure a centralized health savings scheme with a centralized fund management. This will ensure access to healthcare services for a larger segment of the society and help in realizing the goal of healthcare for all. This is also one of the issues that will be discussed at the 25th Perfect Health Mela to be held this year by the HCFI. This year marks the silver jubilee celebrations of the event.”

As per another survey, Indians are more likely to have a vehicle or life insurance than health insurance. Even those who have a health insurance, are below 2 lakh, which cannot cover a serious ailment such as a heart transplant.

Added, Dr Aggarwal, Group Editor, Indian Journal of Clinical Practice (IJCP), “As much as it is necessary to have a health cover, it is also important to have a health budget either monthly or build a corpus that will exclusively cater to your out-of-pocket expenses. The amount that one does not spend could be set aside to build a decent bank which can be utilized in the wake of a health emergency.”

Some planning tips are as follows.

  • Set a clear-cut savings goal every month. Use this only for the medical expenses.
  • Keeps these savings accessible and readily available for a crisis.
  • Just as a car needs maintenance, staying healthy requires maintenance too. Make sure you do not skip monthly check ups. This corpus can also aid in that.

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