Give Your Loved Ones the Best Family Healthcare

There are many times when despite all the precautions, you fall ill. It is therefore important that people have the ability to get treated at such times. Family healthcare is one of the most basic needs of man. People need to seek treatment as soon as the first signs and symptoms of an illness show up. It is important that people are able to get the required medication and cure for their problem as soon as it starts lest it should turn into something far worse. Often minor problems could lead to major ones. When family members try to avoid going to a doctor, or getting treatment, it is mainly because the cost of treatment is too high for them to bear.

Family healthcare is one of the most important thoughts on the minds of the elders in the house. When it comes to children, the numbers of problems they can face by just going out of the house to play are countless. Since there are numerous infections in the air, it is difficult for anyone to stay protected from all illnesses. It is the same with adults in the house, when you are in office, at the market, or just at a neighbor’s house, you are vulnerable to a large number of illnesses. Family healthcare does not just mean that when a member is sick, he/she gets treatment. It rather means that when a person is hale and hearty, he/she should get regular check-ups to stay the same.

Whether it is the kids in the family or the adults, treatment for medical problems is seldom cheap. Everyone wants the best family healthcare for their family. But this means that people have to spend a lot of money on the same. This can easily be avoided with a medical insurance plan. The policy would pay for all the healthcare problems undergone by family members. At the same time, if the members use the plans wisely, then they have a better chance of staying healthy and leading a happy life.

People thus have the chance of staying healthy without having to pay much. The health insurance plan would take care of most aspects of family healthcare-inpatient treatment, day-care procedures, and other such problems. However, most such plans do not cover outpatient treatments. But there are plans that cover outpatient consultations, dental treatments, spectacles, etc. also. These are known as outpatient benefit plans.

All healthcare problems that a family faces can be dealt with. But the cost of doing so makes it difficult to get the right quality of treatment for individuals. There is the option of availing health insurance policies to cut the cost of family healthcare. But the problem is that people have the inclination to get the right health insurance plan for family members but they just get confused in selecting the right one.

When selecting the plan, one should remember that the policy is meant to get the family all the healthcare assistance it needs. This means that even pre-existing and hereditary diseases should be covered. However, it is not necessary that they be covered from the very first day. Such illnesses are often covered after a waiting period. One should be well aware of the waiting period before buying the policy.

A family is meant to share everything-happiness, sadness and problems. However, in most families, there are few earning members and more dependents. This means that while there are some members who earn money, there are more who spend the same. Thus the fiscal strain that is felt by the earning member can be easily understood. He/she has to provide for the needs of the whole family. However, when the cost of nearly everything around us is increasing, there is seldom any means by which all the ambitions of a family can be fulfilled. Family healthcare is one of the most difficult aspects of a family budget.

There are times when a person has the option of getting treatment that he/she needs, but in order to save money they avoid the same. This leads to further problems. Since there is no means of predicting the problems faced, one cannot tell the cost needed to deal with the same. The cost of healthcare is ever increasing. As time goes by this cost is going to go up manifold. It is important to stay protected against such high costs, so that there is no compromise on family healthcare and at the same time no stress on the earning members.

There are insurance plans that can come to the aid of a person at such times. However, the problem is that people often feel that they do not have the means of buying a health insurance plan. This is contrary to the reality. When a person cannot afford a mediclaim plan, there is no means by which he/she can afford the cost of treatment. Thus it is best to save money enough for a health plan and then buy the same. Also, one must be able to understand the offerings of the plan one is purchasing. The insurance plans are available with variety of offerings and in different values of sum insured. First, one needs to select the cover of benefits he/she is looking for and then accordingly he/she can choose a plan.

Apollo Munich offers comprehensive plans that are designed to take care of a family’s healthcare needs and give them adequate coverage for all medical problems that are likely to arise. It puts up the policy wordings on the website of the company in very transparent and simple terms. One can also buy and renew plans on its site. All the plans are designed t provide all-round family healthcare coverage. Apollo Munich offers mediclaim policies that are designed to give all-round protection to families. There are a variety of policies which are designed for the same.

Health Insurance Providers Are Changing the Face of Healthcare

There are many times when a person needs medical attention but is unable to get the same. The simple reason for this is the lack of money that is available for healthcare in the country. Illness can rarely be predicted. One can say that an ailment may occur given the medical conditions or the lifestyle of an individual, but nobody can predict the exact illness that you can face. When a person does not have the money to pay for treatment, he/she tries to figure a cheaper treatment. However, given the increasing cost of healthcare, this is a difficult task. This further leads individuals to just avoid the treatment unless it is extremely needed. Health insurance providers have come to the rescue of people in the country.

There are many people who do not understand the importance of medical insurance. Health insurance providers in India are growing fast. Several insurance companies dealing in other kinds of insurance have also set foot into the health insurance market. The sudden growth of this market can only be attributed to the increasing realization of the importance of healthcare in the real world. Mediclaim providers aim at offering comprehensive policies that would cover an individual in their hour of healthcare crisis.

The medical insurance providers in India now offer plans that cover nearly any kind of medical problem that a person faces. With the increase in the number of insurance plans available, the competition is growing too. There are medical insurance plans that provide coverage for inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, day-care procedures, and several other such facilities. All new medical insurance providers try to offer plans that can be used either on a cashless hospitalization basis or a reimbursement basis.

Medical science has made tremendous progress over the years. Unfortunately, the cost of this progress needs to be shared by the common man who most often cannot afford it. The main problem is that most major healthcare treatments are very expensive. People do not have the funds to pay for the same. There are numerous options of getting around this problem. But the main one is that individuals can easily get a health insurance policy which would enable them to get the treatment that is needed by them. The plans make sure that customers do not need to be worried about the payment of the treatment.

Health insurance providers bear the cost of treatment in exchange of a small sum of money known as the premium. The main point is that people need to become more aware of health insurance and the benefits of buying a mediclaim policy. There are numerous campaigns and steps that have been taken to promote this awareness. At the same time, it is also important that customers read and understand the plan before buying it. One should always be aware of the coverage provided by the policy.

Health insurance providers are also trying to change the way people perceive mediclaim plans-that they are of no use when the time comes. They have to make sure that customers can contact the company with ease regarding any grievance. This confidence has gone down and therefore insurance providers have a problem in gaining the trust of customers.The routes to access health insurance providers should be simple-calling, mailing, e-mails, SMS, etc. Customers should have the confidence that the insurance providers would help them whenever needed.

Health insurance providers try to create and improve their plans so as to meet the expectations of their customers. They not only bring changes but also make additions in their plans. The additional and optional covers help people in availing more benefits while undergoing treatment. Gifting your near and dear ones with a medical insurance plan is a good choice. It is better if people start early with their insurance plans.

With the festive times creating a lot of hustle-bustle, people are looking for the most innovative gifts that they can give. One of the finest choices is that of gifting a health insurance plan. The fact that you are looking for a gift and taking so much pain means that the person means a lot to you. A medical insurance premium is a small price to pay for the kind of value the gift has. When you gift an insurance policy, the recipient would not have to worry about handling healthcare costs at all. It is a fine choice and at the same times a different and innovative one.

The saying, what goes around comes around, is quite befitting here. The premium that you pay to buy this gift is actually exempted from taxes under section 80 (D) of the Income Tax Act. This means that while you have bought a special gift for someone, you also save on taxes payable for the same. The individual does not have to worry about spending too much money on the gift. One would have spent money in buying a gift. But with a health insurance plan, the gift has a lot more meaning to it.

There are a lot of people who think about investing money for tax benefits. You can actually club the gifts and get tax benefits for the same. Buying an individual or a family floater health insurance plan makes more sense when you know the kind of problems that the person may face. There are countless benefits of the health insurance policy. Securing a person’s medical future is perhaps the best gift ever.

Apollo Munich provides customers with the facility to buy health insurance plans very quickly over the Internet. You can also check the premium of the policy thereon.

Offshoring U.S. Patients No Cure for Ailing Healthcare System

For several years now, American healthcare consumers, including many from other western industrialized nations, have heard about elective surgeries being performed in lesser-developed nations and due to cost and denial of coverage by health insurance providers have opted to go there. However, surgeries in the past were truly elective and not medically necessary procedures that largely consisted of face-lifts, tummy tucks and gastric bypasses for cosmetic purposes.

But just in the past two years, American patients are being wooed to make decisions on serious medically necessary surgeries due to their fears of excessive healthcare costs. And the decision involves traveling abroad primarily to India and Thailand in order to receive such hospital care which they require.

For those self-insured, underinsured, or not insured at all, the desperation of receiving medical care without sacrificing homes or assets in the process is plausible, since costs of similar procedures in South Asia range from 75% – 80% less than in the United States. But now U.S. based corporations have entered the arena as well by encouraging employees to go to India and Thailand via cash incentives, free airfare and hotel stays with no co-pays due on the final bill.

Yet, just as with any large purchase consumers must look beyond the fancy advertisements and read the fine print with a Buyer Beware mentality. Americans have become quite adept at learning what to look for when dealing with car dealerships when purchasing an automobile and with computer retailers when purchasing a new computer. But it has taken many years to educate consumers as to their rights and protections under the law and what to do when something does go wrong.

The term “medical tourism” has been inaccurately applied to what is essentially the offshoring of patients of the U.S. healthcare system to foreign countries, in order to appeal to potential customers who are really medical patients. The term was invented by the media and it stuck and is now being used as a marketing tool. Deceptive in its concept, it is an implication that a patient can go sightseeing before or after a serious hospital procedure in that foreign country. But for those who are more scrupulous it remains difficult to get the necessary information needed to make a reasoned decision on whether to have surgery performed, let alone halfway around the world.

There are now organizations being touted as medical tourism agencies that have cropped up throughout the U.S. in order to facilitate such care overseas for individual patients as well as to serve as a clearinghouse for corporations wishing to outsource their employees’ healthcare with them in tow. These groups include MedSolution, GlobalChoice Healthcare, IndUShealth, Planet Healthcare and Med Retreat, to name just a few.

And with more and more corporations adding select foreign hospitals as Preferred Providers to their employees’ health insurance plans, medical tourism companies handle the paperwork and travel arrangements for their employees. Other countries of destination include Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, the Philippines, Panama, Mexico, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Turkey and South Africa.

However, it is at this point that the patient needs to start their own due diligence. There is usually a requirement by most U.S. healthcare insurance providers for patients to get second opinions for most complicated surgeries in the U.S., but not so for offshore surgeries. And the list of surgeries which are being sent offshore are indeed medically necessary but confusingly being reported to the media as elective. But you can determine for yourself whether or not the following are elective procedures: cardiac bypass, cardiac stent implantation, cardiac angioplasty, knee replacement, hip replacement, mastectomy, hysterectomy, chemotherapy, eye surgery, vascular surgery, among others.

And as the medical tourism agency is only an intermediary between the client and the hospital as well as between hotels and airlines they do not provide any liability in the event that there is a medical complication or there is a mishap at the destination hospital. Furthermore, there are fees which could arise not documented by an employer nor agency which could require additional expenses upon the patient’s arrival. And as a conduit between patient and hospital, the medical tourism business remains an unregulated industry in the U.S., without licensing requirements and with most managed by non-medical personnel.

Similarly, and unbeknownst to most U.S. patients is that the healthcare industry in India is highly unregulated. It was only in 2006 that regulations regarding the medical device industry, which includes surgical devices such as cardiac stents and orthopedic implants for use in hip and knee replacements, was mandated. Such call for regulation from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) only came about as the result of discovered defective drug eluting cardiac stents in 2004. And although hospitals have the option of applying for accreditation through the Joint International Commission established in 1999, a subsidiary of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, used for hospitals in the U.S., there is no such requirement to do so.

As of 2006 there are five hospitals in India which have JCI accreditation, renewable every three years. They include the three facilities of the Apollo Hospital group, the Shruff Eye Hospital and the Wockhardt Hospital. The Bumrungrad International in Bangkok is Thailand’s sole JCI hospital. Singapore has over a dozen JCI hospitals however, and the Philippines has one. But the JCI accreditation only applies primarily to hospital management which although includes procedures to reduce risk of infection and disease and to ensure patient safety, it has no jurisdiction over the actual physicians performing surgical procedures.

The patient is provided limited information other than an introductory phone call to the intended physician and having medical records electronically sent to the doctor or hospital via the internet by the medical tourism agency. The patient has a choice of physicians, but unlike in the U.S. where there is easy access to a doctor’s medical status by medical boards and organizations, other than knowing whether the doctor may have practiced medicine in the U.S., there is little information to come by. Without standardized protocols it is difficult for the patient to make a correct assessment.

When decisions on a patient’s health is driven primarily by cost it can impair the decision making process. There is little argument that healthcare costs in the U.S. are bankrupting corporations and labor unions and deceleration of escalation is nary in sight. With the healthcare industry being 15% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product and having risen in cost 75% for employers and 143% for employees since the year 2000, the system is broken. High malpractice insurance fees required by both employers and physicians, hospital deregulation and class action medical litigations have only exacerbated the problem.

Such high medical costs will only encourage limited access to healthcare for the middle class and ultimately result in less preventative care costing taxpayers more in the long run. The problem is not the medical care in the U.S., still considered the best in the world, but its delivery system. It is when Medicare and the health insurance providers became the decision makers and took that power away from the physicians that the system began to unravel. Added to that is the lack of restraint of costs by the pharmaceutical industry which charges U.S. patients more for its own medications than any other country in the world.

But as expensive as healthcare is in the U.S., there are legal and safety issues which are part of the American fabric which Americans very much take for granted yet expect but are not present in the undeveloped world. For example, there are few regulatory bodies such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, various medical boards, consumer protection laws, available legal experts and the court system. All serve as a net of safeguards offering remedies. But unlike a car purchase, medical care is a complicated undertaking in which there are no guarantees, yet there are areas of compliance which must be maintained.

Once the patient is in a foreign country there is little protection for redress and once that patient leaves the country should they need follow-up care such as therapy or if complications arise even during travel, they must seek medical care in the U.S. Secondarily, if the procedure is performed overseas, insurance providers or Medicare may not honor the additional required care in the U.S. Still, patients may decide to take the risks in addition to the inherent risks of any surgery, but should not be coerced into uninformed choices in order for their employer to save costs under the guise that they are helping to reduce the costs of U.S. healthcare in the long run.

In July 2006 the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging held a hearing called “The Globalization of Healthcare: Can Medical Tourism Reduce Healthcare Costs?” Its goal was to address the subject of medical tourism, its growth, safety of patients and possible regulation of the industry itself. Its Committee Chairman, Senator Gordon H. Smith, has asked that several federal agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Commerce and the Department of State create an interagency task force necessary for lawmakers to reach informed decisions that healthcare consumers themselves cannot accurately make at this juncture regarding offshoring their medical care.

And among the labor unions, the United Steelworkers Union (USW) has publicly weighed in on this issue when it learned one of its union members, employed by Blue Ridge Paper Products, was going to be sent to India for gall bladder surgery simultaneously with shoulder surgery. Leo W. Gerard, USW International President, fired off a complaint dated September 11, 2006 to Congress by contacting the following committees: the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the House Committee on Ways and Means, the Senate Committee on Finance, and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

The goal is not necessarily to create more legislation but to establish guidelines. Perhaps Mr. Gerard puts it best when he states, “The right to safe, secure and dependable health care in one’s own country should not be surrendered for any reason-certainly not to fatten the profit margins of corporate investors.” He also contends to the Congress that “We remain steadfast in our commitment to rebuild a domestic healthcare system.”
Let us hope that our government and healthcare providers can likewise make such a commitment by investing in the health and welfare of the American people.

Healthcare Tourism: An Eye Towards The Future

he healthcare tourism industry has been witnessing a remarkable growth in recent years. There are a number of reasons for the continuous growth of this industry especially in the Asian and African countries. One of them being the lure of affordable medical care, along with the scope of enjoying the scenic beauty of tourist destinations. One of the renowned experts, Marvin Cetron, founder and president of Forecasting International, have marked the growing trend of medical tourism and expect it to pose a serious challenge to the Western healthcare industry in the near future.

It is necessary to have a glance over the Western medical or healthcare scenario in order to have a clear picture of the kind of competition that can crop up between the former and the Third World medical tourism industry. In some undeveloped regions of the world, the medical facilities are hard to come by, whereas in other countries, the public healthcare system is so overburdened that it would take years to get needed care. For instance, in countries like Britain and Canada, the waiting period for a hip replacement surgery can be more than a year; while in Bangkok or Bangalore, a person can find himself in the operation theatre just after landing the very same day! Not only this, the cost involving the total process is much less than that charged in Western countries. For example, a heart-valve replacement that would cost $200,000 or more in the U.S. costs a mere $10,000 in India that includes round-trip airfare and a brief vacation package as well.

Doubts are often raised regarding the quality of service offered by medical tourist destinations. But such arguments have no solid ground as the facilities and services offered by them are almost equal or even better than the Western medical services. There are hospitals and clinics that cater to the tourist market that are often among the best in the world. Most of them staff physicians who have received training from famous medical centers in United States or Europe. Bangkok’s Bumrundgrad hospital has more than 200 surgeons who are board-certified in the US, and one of Singapore’s major hospitals is a branch of the prestigious Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Statistics suggest that the services offered in some of the leading medical tourist destinations often exceed their Western counterparts. As for example, the Escorts Heart Institute and Research Center in Delhi and Faridabad, India, performs nearly 15,000 heart operations every year, and the death rate among patients during surgery is only 0.8 percent–less than half that of most major hospitals in the US. These figures are enough to clarify whatever doubts some skeptics might have on their minds.

The future prospect of healthcare tourism in developing nations thus appears to be bright as it is expected to acquire a loyal clientele in the US and other western countries. With more than 43 million US citizens without health insurance and 120 million without dental coverage, seeking medical aid outside their country would high on their priority list. Besides, there is an ever-increasing demand for cosmetic surgery and dental treatments in European countries. These operations are highly expensive out there and as such, more and more people are turning to the East for an affordable alternative. Thailand and Phuket have emerged as the most popular medical tourism destinations over the years. However, medical tourism in India is quickly catching up with this competition and is on its way to become one of the favorite spots of medical tourists. The Indian medical tourism industry is now being recognized as one of the major earners of foreign exchange and is estimated that India could bring as much as $2.2 billion per year by 2012.

Medical tourism industry is therefore all set to lure patients from all over the world. Many medical tourism organizations have set up alliances with some of the leading medical and healthcare centers like Apollo, Gleneagles Medical Center, Wockhardt, Dentzz, Fortis and so on. With their world-class support, the medical tourism industry is sure to zoom its way to success.

The Importance of Healthcare in Our Life

In our day to day life, it’s our health that gets completely neglected, because we don’t have time for ourselves. We feel that we are healthy and taking proper healthcare measures, but at times this belief turns out to be an illusion. This happens, especially when our hectic lifestyle takes a toll on our health and we fall ill. Sometimes we get diagnosed with such diseases that make us wonder if that could actually happen to us. But then, illness comes unannounced, and this is why we should always be prepared for worst of all situations.

Taking proper healthcare measures is important and that is why it is advisable to take health insurance. Being covered with health insurance proves to be helpful when there is a need of any sort of medical assistance. Health insurance helps in saving a little amount for an individual’s unforeseen future illness. But, people don’t usually think like this when it comes to insurance.

One needs to understand that good health is the real wealth, and this is why it is important to take care of your health. People need to accept the fact that buying health insurance is not an added expenditure; instead it is your own savings that enable you to face a sudden medical emergency with complete ease in future. Buying health insurance secures your future and even keeps the mind at peace.

There are many insurance companies offering different type of plans. But, before heading for any insurance plan, it is important to know which insurance plan shall suit you. This is decided by many factors such as, income group, money spending trend, medical history, premium amount, etc. It is necessary to thoroughly analyze an insurance policy before investing the money. Furthermore, it is important to know the inclusions of the insurance policy that is being offered. After all, it’s health insurance which is being talked about.

At times people feel that they are completely fit and tend to excuse themselves from buying health insurance. But people forget that accidents can also happen. Accidents cannot be predicted and they are the most unfortunate of all medical emergencies. But, having a medical insurance helps a lot, as it eases off the burden of medical expense. However, medical insurance is not all about getting relaxation in one’s medical expenses, but it’s also about being able to avail best possible healthcare treatments at a reasonable cost.

Taking health insurance helps in significantly bringing down the cost of healthcare. In addition to this, healthcare expenses are not just limited to hospitalization; instead it also includes the cost of room rent, ambulance expenses, anesthesia, diagnostic procedures, surgical appliances, medicines, diagnostic procedures, etc.

Having health insurance proves to be beneficial especially when one wants to avail tax benefits; this is the major motivation that pushes one towards buying health insurance. But, this should not be the only reason for purchasing insurance. People should think beyond tax benefits and learn about actual benefits of buying health insurance. After all a healthy person is that, who enjoys life with a free mind and spirit.

Healthy living is leads to a happy life and everyone wants it. So, in our hectic life we must take some measures to secure our and our loved one’s future. Where we save for a vacation, property, education, etc. it is also important to think about health. At times people, buy tend to go for insurance at a later age. But that should not be the case. People, should be well aware of a waiting period that is attached to insurance and thus should prefer buying a suitable insurance policy at a much younger age in life. This proves to be a cost effective decision. The main reason for this is that, the premium amount is lower if a policy is bought at an early age in one’s life. With Apollo Munich one can get hold of comprehensive health plans at an affordable premium. Also, the health insurance plans offered by Apollo Munich provide numerous benefits, such as cashless hospitalization, portability benefit, critical illness coverage, etc.