A study by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has identified 41 Indian
cities where the air quality is poor. Coupled with water pollution, the resultant health hazards are many. The
cost of treating respiratory, cardio-vascular and waterborne ailments can be high and the need of the hour is
"We have seen a 15-18% rise in water pollution-related claims and 12-15% rise in air
pollution-related claims on a CAGR basis for the last three years," says Abhijeet Ghosh, Head, Health Insurance,
Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. The average claim size varies between Rs 25,000- 28,000 annually. At Future
Generali India Insurance, respiratory/pulmonary disorder-related hospitalisation claims have risen from 4.30% to
7.5% in three years. ICICI Lombard General Insurance has also seen an increase in claims, mainly related to
complications arising from consuming contaminated water. "Pollution has led to increase in diseases. The average
cost that one incurs due to hospitalisation has increased from Rs 41,391 in 2015 to Rs 45,104 in 2016," says
Sanjay Dutta, Chief, Underwriting and Claims, ICICI Lombard.
According to Nikhil Apte, Chief Product Officer, Royal Sundaram General Insurance,
the claims reported for communicable diseases are more than lifestyle-related diseases. "Severity and incidence
have both gone up. Many diseases that could earlier be treated on OPD basis now require hospitalisation," adds
Mukesh Kumar, Executive Director, HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company.
You can opt for a comprehensive standard policy or an OPD cover. OPD cover wortks
for patients who require frequent visits to doctor. "OPD cover is a better way to deal with pollution-related
diseases because in this the patient need not necessarily be admitted to hospital," says Dutta. For most cases,
however, it is advisable to take a comprehensive, adequate standard plan for whole family.
HEALTH UNDER ATTACK
Air pollution: The fifth leading cause of death in India. It
results in about 620,000 premature deaths triggered by stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD),
ischemic heart disease, lower respiratory infections and trachea, bronchus and lung cancer, among
Water and sanitation: About 37.7 million Indians are affected by
waterborne diseases annually. Around 1.5 million children die due to diarrhoea alone.