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More young professionals have lifestyle disorders, inadequate health cover

Chronic body pain, obesity on the rise among professionals aged 23-35; many of them depend only on employer-provided cover

Sanjay Kumar Singh  |  New Delhi 

Medical college, Hospital
Photo: PTI

A survey conducted by Company recently revealed a high level of lifestyle disorders among young working professionals. What is even more troublesome is the inadequacy of among these professionals. The survey covered 1,100 aged 23-35 belonging to nine cities. Below we look at the findings of the survey and also offer a few remedies, as suggested by experts.

High incidence of lifestyle disorders

45% of the respondents were found to suffer from one lifestyle disorder or the other. The most common were chronic body pain (40%), obesity (20%), hypertension (18%), respiratory disorders (10%), frequent digestive disorders (8%) and high blood sugar levels (4%).

Heavy reliance on employer-provided cover

While 75% of the respondents had health insurance, 60% of those who were covered had only an employer-provided cover. Experts say that to depend on an employer-provided cover alone is risky. “What if you fall ill when you are in between jobs or get laid off?" asks Ankur Kapur of Ankur Kapur Advisory.

Experts say it is imperative that you buy a personal policy and not depend on the employer-provided cover alone. “Later in life, you may decide to turn into an entrepreneur.

Companies may not be willing to cover you at an advanced age. If you have already contracted some diseases, those will not be covered, or you will have to cross a waiting period before they are covered,” adds Kapur.

Perceive to be expensive

Among those who do not possess health insurance, 46% said that it is an expensive cover. But given the high and rising cost of treatment of major illnesses, the annual premium on is a small price to pay.

Too young to need a cover

22% of those who did not have a personal policy said they were too young to need such a cover. The high incidence of lifestyle disorders among the young, as revealed by this survey, is evidence enough that one needs adequate from a young age.

primarily for tax gain

The Income Tax (I-T) Act provides deduction on for self, spouse and dependent children up to Rs 15,000. 76% of those respondents who had a personal said they had bought it primarily for the tax benefit and not so much for protection against illnesses.

The problem with such tax-saving purchases is that they are typically made in haste towards the end of the financial year to avail of the tax benefit. The buyer often does not examine closely the product he is buying. Instances of mis-buying and mis-selling are common. A person could, for instance, buy a critical illness plan instead of a plan, which should be the first level of cover.

Employer’s cover regarded as sufficient

The professionals who did not have a personal cover believed that the provided by their employer was adequate. This may not necessarily be so. The sum assured may not be adequate, especially if you live in a metro, where health care costs are high. Many companies no longer include parents. More may drop them from the ambit of coverage in the future to curtail costs.

“The employer-provided cover might not meet your individual requirements in terms of coverage, number of dependants, definition of family, and your state of health. It is therefore advisable to always have an individual plan," says Suresh Sugathan, head-health insurance, Company.

If a person does not want to buy a personal policy, one option (which is not optimal, however) is to buy a top-up plan. The employer-provided cover then becomes your base plan, and the top-up plan comes into play when your hospitalisation expenses exceed the cover provided by the employer’s plan. Top-up plans are less expensive than general plans.

First Published: Wed, February 17 2016. 10:16 IST