Women across the world are experts at multitasking, as they manage work and household together and with perfection. However, the juggle often makes them neglect themself as individuals, putting their wellbeing at risk. One of the important aspects of self-care and planning is investments and insurance to avoid financial strain during a critical situation. Whether working or not, every woman has the right and responsibility to buy health insurance to be better prepared for issues that may arise in the future, near or distant.
According to a study, women account for only 40 percent of the health and life insurance Policyholders in India; among them, only 22 percent have independent health insurance.
- Only 40 percent of women have life or health insurance policies, while only 22 percent of them have individual health insurance.
- Women are mainly dependent or clubbed under group health insurance policies, held by their husbands, parents or employers.
- About 38 percent of women are at the risk of chronic illness as opposed to 30 percent of men.
- Reproductive health issues, ovarian, cervical, and breast cancer are becoming a primary cause of concern to women.
- If women have independent health insurance policies, they can avail better and hassle-free medical services.
- Group or family health insurance policies have a limitation of period and services provided as compared to individual health insurance policies.
- Individual health insurance policies for women have specific providence for reproductive and maternity issues with regular check-ups.
But the reality is the opposite. According to a study mentioned by Tomorrow Makers, women account for only 40 percent of the health and life insurance Policyholders in India; among them, only 22 percent have independent health insurance. Men are traditionally the insurance holders in most Indian families. Women are either dependent on their husbands or parents or do not consider health insurance as important enough. Financial security to face any critical health issue is the basic groundwork for buying health insurance. But, the importance of individual health insurance for a woman alone, not as a part of a family or firm, is rarely understood. Following are some of the important reasons why a woman, whether a homemaker or working, needs to health insurance for herself, and often more than men:
According to a study, on risk factors causing heart disease has revealed that out of 51.7 thousand urban Indian women, three in five are at a higher risk of Cardiovascular Diseases.
Critical Health issues:
With the changing environment and lifestyle, there is an increase in the number of women facing critical health issues compared to men. According to the Tomorrow Makers report, 38 percent of women are at risk of chronic health issues as opposed to 30 percent of men. Besides, since women live longer than men, they are at a higher risk of health problems and require more medical services.
Women at a higher risk of heart diseases
According to a study on risk factors causing heart disease has revealed that out of 51.7 thousand urban Indian women, three out of five are at a higher risk of Cardiovascular Diseases. Furthermore, 69 percent of housewives and 67 percent of professional women between 35-44 years of age are at risk of heart disease.
Breast, ovarian and cervical cancer on an increase
While men are affected mostly by lip, neck and lung and oral cancers, women are at the risk of breast, ovarian and cervical cancer. A report by Live Mint reveals, "According to the Union health ministry, breast cancer ranks as the number one cancer among Indian females with the rate as high as 25.8 per 100,000 women and mortality of 12.7 per 100,000 women." It further states that "At least 17,97,900 women in India may have breast cancer by 2020."
Reproductive Health Issues
Reproductive health issues are one of the common and major problems among women. Around 1, 36,000 women in India die every day due to pregnancy-related issues. Besides, according to the Tomorrow Makers report, five to 20 percent of women suffer from polycystic ovary disease in their reproductive age that causes complications during pregnancy. 153.7 percent increase in Ovarian cancer has also been recorded between 1990 to 2013.
Health insurances will provide them with better and hassle-free medical services. Some insurances also come with women-specific policies, providing for reproductive and maternity-related issues with regular check-ups. These can be helpful for both women and her family in the long run.
Group or family health insurance are not sufficient
Women have been brought up with the attitude of not taking part or contributing to the financial decisions and investments in a household as it is traditionally considered a man's duty. According to a report mentioned in Tomorrow Makers, only 13 percent of married working women and 18 percent of single working women take charge of their investments and financial decisions. On the other hand, the financial security of housewives is completely ignored or clubbed into the family’s security. A single woman who is divorced or unmarried and not working, either do not have individual health insurance or are dependent on their future husbands for their health expenses.
If a woman's health insurance is clubbed in her husband’s group medical-claim, she loses her insurance once the husband loses his job. Besides, such group medical-claims do not account for all the health-services like independent health insurance. According to Economic Times report, family health policies fend children only till the age of 21-year-old, after which a girl is either dependent on the future husband or the group medical-claim provided by the firm she works at. Hence, all the group health insurances have their own limitations and women need to have an independent health insurance policy to fend for themselves in any situation.
Rudrani Kumari is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.