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Why Women Need To Buy A Medical Cover


Women, today, are contributing to their family’s finances as much as their domestic partners. But this is not reflected in the financial decisions they take by themselves. A recent survey found that only 13% of married working women decide on how to invest their salaries. The ratio is not much higher for single working women at 18%. The situation isn’t much better when it comes to insuring a woman’s health – less than 30% of health insurance payouts are for women. This is a huge concern as women have a higher life expectancy and are at a higher risk of chronic diseases compared to men.

The perception of medical cover for women

The reasons for the lower penetration of health insurance for women compared to men are socio-cultural. These include:

The father or the husband is supposed to take care of the woman's financial needs. While a family floater may cover them till the age of 21, fathers hardly ever invest in an individual health cover post that believing their responsibility is to get them married and not beyond. This is especially true for homemakers.

Even working women avoid taking health insurance as they think they don’t yet have “enough money”. This kicks off a vicious circle as the longer they wait, the higher the health insurance premiums get. Further, they also believe that instead of investing in an insurance policy they should save for far more important life events. But this leaves them exposed to financial risks that can wipe away all their savings

The true risks

A persistent misconception is that women are at a lower risk than men when it comes to health issues. This is patently untrue:

  • Various studies show that anywhere between 5% and 20% of women suffer from polycystic ovary disease during their reproductive years. This can lead to complications during pregnancy
  • As many as 18% of women in their 30s have type 2 diabetes, which is higher than the incidence in men in the same age group
  • Obesity in India affects at least twice as many women as men
  • Half a million deaths are caused by each of breast cancer and cervical cancer worldwide
  • Over the last three decades, the incidents of ovarian cancer have increased by over 150%
  • One in every five women are at risk of suffering a stroke
  • Three in every five women under the age of 35 in India is at high risk of cardiovascular disease, as per a study conducted in 2014.

Women are generally covered as a dependent either in a family floater policy or in the group insurance provided by their husband's employer. Given the risks listed above, this is hardly adequate cover. Further, it exposes her to much greater risk any time their husband is between jobs. The fact that 11 out of 12 medical claims paid out by insurance companies for super senior citizens is for men indicates that shockingly few women have medical cover after their husband's retirement.

Therefore, it is imperative that women get individual health insurance for themselves. It will not only provide them access to good healthcare when the need arises, but also provide additional financial security to their families. Further, insurers like Bharti AXA offers you customized insurance policy where in you can customize your policy as per your requirement and pay premiums for the service that you have opted for.

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