The menace of dengue is back and in a deadly avatar!
The government is trying to control it and create awareness about it for many years now, but it looks like a Herculean task to completely eliminate mosquitoes from the environment that are the cause of this killer disease.
In recent days, Delhi bore the brunt of it with the most lethal dengue attack in past 5 years and making everyone get panicky from the emerging situation. Not only are the government hospitals found lagging behind in the basic infrastructure required, but even private hospitals have come in the line of fire for declining patients, who are unable to meet the costs of treatment!
One tends to think that it is just a fever caused due to a mosquito bite, but in reality it is more complicated than that. Not only does it require extensive hospitalization, the cost of treatment is also not affordable for most of the country’s population. Apart from medication and hospitalization, the basic costs involved are the test for detecting dengue and then getting single platelet donor (SPD) to replenish platelets for a speedier recovery.
To give you a perspective of costs incurred in treating it, here is a brief about private hospitals and government hospitals:
Private Hospitals Government Hospitals
Cost of Testing Dengue Rs. 3000-5000/- Rs. 300-400/-
Cost of SPD Rs. 14,000-Rs. 20,000/- NIL
Avg. No. of Units Required 4-5 4-5
Total Cost Approx. Rs. 1, 00, 000/- Negligible
It sounds sensible to avoid private hospitals and opt for the government ones, but the problem is there aren’t enough beds available at the government run medical centres. Also, the government infrastructure isn’t top class and trying to arrange platelets will take ages compared to getting treatment at a private hospital. However the monumental cost of treatment is putting patients in a quandary and they aren’t sure how to deal with it. That’s the reason many state governments, including Delhi government have issued guidelines putting the cap on dengue test at Rs. 600 and negotiating with private hospitals to bring down the per unit cost of SDP.
However, these are measures taken to handle the current crisis and this may not become a rule forever. As dengue cases will come down, so will the government regulations.
In that scenario, what are you left with? What are your plans to combat such a disease over which you have no control? Even if you have maintained hygiene where you live and work and ensured that there is no breeding ground for mosquitoes in your area, you can’t be sure of places you visit for work or for shopping or just hanging out. What if you contact the disease and then suddenly have to bear the cost of treatment with no proper planning about it?
The answer is – get a health insurance policy!
Yes, buying an insurance policy becomes absolutely necessary to avoid getting stuck in such unfortunate situations. Even though the companies have started issuing policies targeting dengue, it may not make much sense to have a separate policy only for dengue treatment. Even if the premium is low, it would still be an additional expense.
Instead, the best way to go about is to buy a health policy with a higher coverage! As we saw earlier, the approximate expense to treat dengue is around Rs. 1 lakh in a private establishment, it is better to go for a coverage amount of at least Rs. 5 lakhs. This is because by getting such coverage, not only are you insuring yourself against dengue, but also other diseases covered by the mediclaim policy. In other words, this amount of Rs. 5 lakhs can be used for any medical emergency in your life rather than only targeting dengue treatment.
Buying a health plan from any company with this kind of a coverage amount will provide you with a buffer against several diseases. Unfortunately, if you do suffer from dengue and end up paying Rs. 1 lakh on treatment, you would still be left with the balance amount of Rs. 4 lakh to meet any more medical emergencies. Look for the policies that cover pre- and post- hospitalization costs along with covering for medications post-hospitalization.
It is alright to be allured by negligible treatment costs at a government hospital, but there is no guarantee of treatment there. Private hospitals are your best bet when it comes to saving a life and for that, don’t let money be a deterrent!
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