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Why is Health Insurance Necessary for Asthma Patients?

There are 30 crore asthmatic patients across the globe and what’s more surprising is that a tenth of that population comprises of Indians. If we go through clinical statistics, asthma is one of the most common lifestyle diseases in India. Due to the ever-rising air pollution levels and deteriorating climatic conditions, every 10 seconds someone is bound to experience a potentially fatal asthma attack.

So first, let’s understand what is Asthma?

Asthma is a condition in which an individual’s respiratory tract (the passage that carries air to & from the lungs) is inflamed or swollen, which makes it extremely sensitive to any type of irritant and hence, increases the risk of allergic reactions. As a result of the inflammation, the patient’s respiratory tract contracts which in turn restricts the passage of air and eventually leads to difficulty in breathing, a feeling of tightness in the chest, and coughing.

What can you do Personally to Handle your Asthma Attacks?

If you are an asthma patient, you must have heard about the Asthma Action Plan. This plan not only helps you tackle your own condition, but also your child’s asthma (if s/he is also afflicted) by keeping a track of what to avoid, which medicines to take, and when to take them. An Asthma Action Plan has three different zones:

  1. The first one is Green Zone: In this zone you can breathe normally without any difficulties and no symptom of your asthma arises.
  2. The second one is Yellow Zone: In this zone, you start experiencing some asthma symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, problems breathing, etc.
  3. The third one is the Red Zone: Your asthma symptoms and attacks start affecting your day-to-day life and normal activities, as breathing becomes extremely difficult.

You can always create an asthma plan with the help of your doctor or health care provider.

There are various tests performed to measure your lung functions and the severity of your asthma:

  • Spirometry: It estimates the narrowing of one’s bronchial tubes by checking the volume of air, and how fast s/he exhales after taking a deep breath.
  • Peak Flow: The Peak Flow meter is used to measure your breathing flow. If your peak flow meter readings are lower than the normal rate, it signifies the deteriorating condition of your lungs and your worsening asthmatic condition. Your doctor will guide you on how to deal with your low peak flow readings.

When it comes to diagnosing the disease, there below mentioned tests can be used:

  • Nitric Oxide Test: In asthmatic patients where they have an inflamed/swollen respiratory tract, they might have higher than normal nitric oxide levels. This test can measure the amount of nitric oxide gas in a patient. However, this is not a widely practiced method.
  • Methacholine Challenge: It is also known to be an asthma trigger and if it causes any mild constriction in your respiratory tract, you most likely have asthma. This test is performed if your initial function test report is normal.
  • Allergy Tasting; For this test, a skin/blood test is performed to identify any allergy to dust, pets, mold and pollen. In case there are any allergy triggers identified in your case, you may be recommended to go for allergen immunotherapy.
  • Imaging Tests: An X-ray image of your chest and a high-resolution CT (computerized tomography) scan of your nose cavities and lungs can be used to identify structural abnormalities/diseases that be the cause of or aggravate your breathing problems.
  • Sputum Eosinophils: Eosinophils are a type of white blood cells that are present in the saliva & the mucus you discharge, if you are suffering from asthma. These white blood cells can be found when the symptoms develop, and are visible when mixed with a rose-colored dye (also known as eosin).

Patients who are suffering from asthma are well aware of how expensive the treatment for this disease can be. Investing in a health insurance will help them significantly by reducing their out-of-pocket expenses.

Here are few of the important points you need to consider while looking for such health insurance plans:

  • You should look into the cover size of the plan as the inflation rate is rising steadily and so is the medical cost associated with your asthma care. You won’t want to burn a hole into your pocket while paying your medical bills. Buying a health insurance plan will keep your covered against any such an eventuality.
  • Although asthma has certain standardized procedures that must be followed, your medical coverage might have different conditions associated with it. So, it’s always better to consult your doctor before buying an insurance plan for your asthma. It’s always a wise decision to understand these conditions and interpretations clearly before signing the final deal.
  • Most of the times, asthma insurance plans are renewed on a yearly basis. Few insurance plans also come with lifelong renewability, depending upon the insurance provider.
  • You should also look into the plan and check its exclusions. This is will ensure that you can make an informed decision and won’t end up paying for procedures you thought were covered under the health plan.
  • Your age plays an important role in calculating the premium of the insurance plan. Simply said, the premium amount you need to pay is going to increase with your age. Hence, the sooner you buy the plan, the better it will be for your finances.
  • You should also pay attention to the ratio of claims approved by the insurance company you are planning to buy your plan from. Therefore, make sure to ask the insurer to provide you with its CSR (claim settlement ratio) over the years, enabling you to fairly estimate your chances of a successful claim settlement.

Here are few of the important reasons why you should buy a health plan if you are an asthmatic patient:

  • The changing lifestyle and climatic conditions are only a few of the major factors instigating asthmatic conditions. Lack of healthy habits and regular exercise also hampers one’s health.
  • Asthmatic attacks can also be severe and may also require extensive hospitalization. Hence, they also result in a severe financial liability that can eat into all your savings, unless you have invested in a health insurance plan.
  • Rising treatment expenses is something we are all constantly worried about. To recover from your asthmatic attacks, you will need to take leaves from work, which will also hamper your professional performance. In such scenarios, it will become further difficult to meet your household expenses if there is no health cover to rely on.

Conclusion:

Our advice is to make the smart decision to invest in a health insurance plan to cover your asthma attack expenses. Additionally, make sure to provide your provider with your complete medical history, because insurance companies are often concerned if you are taking proper precautions to keep your ailment and attacks under control. So make sure you take all the proper precautions and stay healthy.