Saturday, September 1, 2007

Having a Medical Insurance pays

My daughter had to be hospitalized after her viral fever went out of hand. That was five years ago.

I had taken a sabbatical from work and my husband was supporting a family of old parents with expenses on the higher side, our two school going kids and my back-to-college sojourn. So naturally, finances were running low.

He tided over the crisis somehow. But the kid was treated in the best hospital in our district, my husband did bear a big dent in his pocket on account of the medical bills. With no insurance to fall back on, he had to bear it all by himself.

But that was a lesson to him. He learned that one cannot take health for granted and a medical insurance cover is the safety blanket to cushion you from rude shocks of the monetary kind. It also ensures timely and proper/recommended treatment.

So he quickly approached a few medical insurance agents. Before ICICI could spring an offer to him, their regular savings bank customer and investor, a government insurance company of decades of standing made the kill.

For three years almost we paid the insurance premium without any usage. We even earned a no-claims bonus.

Then suddenly the boy came down with a bad case of fever and dehydration. Emergency hospitalization followed and I only told the medical team at the hospital that we have an insurance. Hours after admission I submitted the photocopy of papers that my agent faxed me.

The insurance guys went out of the way to help. I call it out-of-the-way as I was afraid they would not bother. Thankfully, it was done without a hiccup and after a week's stay we left the hospital with no dues on us and yet poorer by not a penny as the Insurance guys had paid the bill.

More medical mishaps were on the way. My eyesight had begun playing truant with me. An ophthalmologist gave me a shocking verdict.

"You have cataract."

I must have jumped out of my skin, almost. The doctor tried to reassure me that it is not such a rare condition and surely treatable. A few newborn babies too have the condition. It is after all nothing but the opacity of the lens...etc.

Surgery is the only cure at advanced stages. Once I fell down at twilight hours and was almost run over by on-coming traffic on Delhi's Ring Road. I knew it was time to think of surgery.

But it was my precious eye! I could not trust it to any doctor down the lane. It had to be the best one whose previous success stories were before me.

So I zeroed down on Centre For Sight in Delhi. But the package they spoke of threw me out of gear.

Rs 30,000/-! Goddamn it, that's almost 732 USD, a small sum for someone in the USA but in India, that is a TV Correspondent's average take-home salary! I wavered, but damn it, it was my eye that I was talking about.

With trepidation, we called our insurance agent.


With no ifs, buts or any corners cut, the amount was sanctioned in full and presto! After a week, I walked out of surgery with an intra ocular lens fitted inside the operated eye and no bill to shed tears on.

That's why, I am glad we did not take for granted that accidents, hospitalization and health setbacks cannot happen to us.

Have you had any bad or good experiences with insurance agents? I would love to feature them here. So people, do write your comments and check out the insurance ads that I have here to let you chose.

No comments: