Health Insurance Coverage for Cancer Survivors or Cardiac and Diabetes Patients in India

Introduction:

The basic health indices in India have widely improved since we became independent in 1947, the average life expectancy has gone up, the infant mortality rates and maternal mortality rates have improved a lot but we still have a long way to go before we achieve developed or European standards.

These improvements happened because of improvement in education, sanitation, health care facilities and increase in disposable income resulting in general improvements in living standards across the board.

Today we are producing more cereals, pulses, fruits, poultry, fish and also consuming more as a result the availability of protein in our diet has improved very much resulting in taller and healthier Indians.

But along with increase in disposable income and increasing living standards there is increase in consumption of alcohol, tobacco, red meat and fatty foods.

The increase in affluence and affordability of new technological gizmos has made us more sedentary and dependent even for smallest and easiest of the job; today we tend to use mobile phone from the comforts of our home to contact grocer, pharmacist, maid, electrician, mechanic, etc.

And instead of walking to nearest convenience store, we tend to use vehicle and instead of walking or cycling for moving-around in our neighbourhood we take motorised vehicle.

Many of us will have trouble remembering last time we walked a distance to catch an auto rickshaw or taxi today we tend to book taxi and it picks us up from our door step.

Which along with unresponsive or indifferent civic management has resulted in unplanned development across most of the urban centres where availability of potable water, sanitation services are under stress along with increased and unmanaged vehicular, industrial, ground, noise pollution.

In 2012 GOI with Indian council of medical research released an updated definition of overweight and revised the figures to:

If BMI (Body Mass Index) is between 18-22.9kg/m2 person is of normal weight

If BMI is 23-24.9kg/m2 the person is overweight.

If BMI is more than 25 kg/m2 the person is OBESE.

In 21st century obesity has taken epidemic proportion in India and more than 5% of population comes under definition of OBESE.

While studying of 22 SNP ( single nucleotide polymorphism) near to MC4-R-gene, scientist have identified a SNP 12970134 to be mostly associated with waist circumference. In this study nearly 2000 people of Indian origin participated and this SNP was found to be most prevalent in this group.

Hence genetically we are predisposed towards abdominal obesity and this is one of the biggest morbidity factor behind diabetes type 2 and cardio vascular disease.

Globally 3-5 million deaths are because of obesity, 3.9% years of life lost and 3.9% of years lost to disability adjusted life years.

All the above has increased the number of Indians suffering from non-communicable lifestyle induced diseases like Cancers,Cardiac Vascular diseases, Diabetes, Hypertension, Mental Illness, breathing disorders like Asthma etc.

What is the disease burden for non-communicable prevalent disease like cancer, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases in India? (Reference: Background papers on Burden of disease in India published by National commission on macroeconomics and health)

The figures for Diabetes, CVD (Cardio vascular disease) and cancers are alarming and the biggest percentage of new cases are being reported from Urban areas and the younger men and women are as vulnerable as middle aged men.

Diabetes:

India is projected to become diabetes capital of the globe, it is estimated that in 2015 approximately 4.6 crore Indians were diabetic.

The prevalence is estimated as:

In 30-39 years age group around 6% of population is estimated to be diabetic.

In 40-49 years age group around 13% of population is estimated to be diabetic.

In 70+ years age group around 20% of population is estimated to be diabetic.

Diabetes has been recognised as one of the major contributing factor towards increase in numbers of Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD) patients in India.

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD):

It is estimated that around 6.4 crore Indians had one or the other condition which can be classified as CVD.

Coronary Heart Disease is a mix of conditions that include Acute Myocardial Infraction, Angina Pectoris, Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and inflammatory heart disease.

It is increasing in rural areas it is estimated to effect 13.5% of rural population in age group 60-69 years.

More and more cases of CVD are being diagnosed among young adult in age group 40 and above.

Cancers:

It is estimated that nearly 10 Lakh new cancers wold have been diagnosed in 2016 and 670,000 deaths were expected because of cancer in 2016.

Across the globe Cancers account for 5.1% of disease burden and 9% of all death, in India cancers account for 3.3% of disease burden and 9% of all deaths.

Response of health insurance companies towards the increased disease burden:

Looking at the large number of people being diagnosed and being affected by increased disease burden, it is a fact that all these diseases or conditions are rejected as preexisting conditions and risks are not accepted by any insurance company.

The best response has been benefit policy from Life insurance companies which offer fix term plans for cancer or cardiac disease but for paying the benefit the diagnosis has to be during policy period.

The survivor benefit plans popularly known as critical illness benefit policy pays only when the disease becomes critical particularly in cancer today many cancer cases are diagnosed and treated completely during the early stage and do not become critical hence most claims under the Critical Illness can only be made once disease reached 3rd or 4th stage of manifestation.

Presently schemes for people diagnosed by or surviving these diseases are bare minimum some insurance companies have tried to launch products catering to people with some preexisting condition or survivors but the effort seems halfhearted.

New India assurance have launched Cancer care policies with Indian cancer society and CPAA but both these policies exclude existing cancer patients or Cancer Survivors and only enrol people who have no sign of cancer.

Health Insurance Policies for Cardiovascular Disease Patients:

Start Health and Allied insurance company has launched Star Cardiac care policy for people who have undergone PTCA, CABG within 7 year period prior to the commencement of the coverage under this policy.

Few features of Cardiac Care insurance policy:

There are 2 sections of the policy section 1 is normal health insurance with PED covered after 48 months, 2% limitation on room, doctor fee and nursing charges subject to max of Rs.5000 per day and liability in case of package rates is limited to 80%of package rates.

But section 2 covering giving coverage to known cardiac cases there is no limitation other than SI.

There is a waiting period of 91 days before a person can claim for any complication because of preexisting cardiac condition under this policy

Health Insurance plans for people with diabetes:

In Diabetes space there are two products Diabetes safe from Star Health and Allied insurance company and Energy Health insurance plan from Apollo Munich Health insurance company:

A comparison between the two products is as:

Insurance Company: Star Health Insurance

Product: Diabetes Safe Insurance Plan

Who is covered?

Patients suffering from Type 1 and type 2 diabetes

Number of plan:

2 plans in plan A pre-acceptance medical test must, in plan B no pre-acceptance medical tests

Waiting period: In plan A no waiting period, in plan B 15 months waiting period for coverage of disease related to CV system, Renal System disease of eyes and diabetic peripheral vascular disease, foot ulcers

Family floater option: available,both plans have 2 section one section covers

benefits under family floater and section 2 is specific to diabetes care.

Sum Insured Rs. 300,000, to Rs. 10,00,000

Income Tax Benefit: Under 80(D)

Limitation:

For Cataract the limitations are defined as :

For SI 3-500,000 liability to Rs.20,000 per eye person and Rs. 30,000 per policy period

For SI Rs. 10,00000 liability limited to Rs. 30,000 per eye person and Rs.40,000 for policy period

For diseases of cardio vascular system the limitation are defined as:

For SI 300,000 liability limited to Rs.200,000

For SI 400,000 Liability limited to Rs.250,000

For SI 500,000 liability limited to Rs. 300,000

For SI 10,000,00 liability limited to Rs.400,000

Cost of artificial limbs limited to 10% of SI if amputation is related to diabetes.

Insurance Company: Apollo Munich health insurance co. Ltd

Product : Energy Health Insurance Plan

Who is covered?

Patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes, impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance and or Hypertension are covered.

Number of plan: Single plan

Waiting period : No waiting period, day 1 hospitalisation arising out of diabetes and hypertension

Family floater option: No, policy available on individual basis

Sum Insured : Rs. 200,000 to Rs. 10,000,000

Income Tax Benefit : Under 80(D)

Limitation: No limits

VAS (Value added services): Health coach, telephonic consultation, health line, discounts, access to wellness portal that conducts HRA, stores medical record

Optional VAS services: diagnostic monitoring program to monitor and manage health).

Rewards: Discounts on premium and addition benefits on good health management

Diabetic Diet: How Lemon and Lemon Water Can Help Cure Diabetes

I started buying fresh lemons by the bag after I found out how they can help cure diabetes. They are quite literally a miracle from Mother Nature! I have always loved fresh lemon but now I make an extra effort to eat lots of them. In fact, I believe lemons should be an important staple in every diabetic diet.

Lemon Lowers the Glycemic Index of Other Foods

Research has shown that lemon lowers the glycemic index of any food it is added to. And… we are not talking a few points here. The drop is very significant! To benefit from this, all you have to do is add a little squeeze of fresh lemon over your food. Almost like waving a magic wand, this will instantly lower the glycemic index of your meal. Best of all, lemon is such an excellent flavor enhancer, it makes many foods taste better too. I often add a squeeze of fresh lemon to a hot bowl of soup (yum!), casseroles, stove top goulashes, almost any kind of salad (including salads containing fruit), and sauteed vegetables (especially greens!). Anything with chicken or fish of course tastes especially good with lemon. Please note that it is best to add the fresh lemon right before you eat the food. If you cook it in soup, for example, it can become a little bitter and the health benefits won’t be quite as great.

Have A Glass of Lemon Water First Thing In the Morning

A glass of lemon water is the perfect way for a diabetic to start the day. Most people start their day with coffee (very acidic) and food that shift the pH of the body toward the acid side. However, if you shift the pH back toward the alkaline side, you will notice your blood sugar will go down. Moreover, your cell membranes will become more sensitive to insulin – i.e. you will be LESS insulin resistant. In fact, this will actually aid your body in repairing those damaged cell membranes.

Although lemons contain a weak acid, when they are metabolized by the body they have an alkalizing effect. If fact, they are the strongest alkalizing food you can eat! This is why adding lemon to your diet can go a long way toward restoring the pH of your body to the alkaline side where it should be. It has been found that most diabetics have a very acidic body pH (as have cancer patients). Bringing back to the alkaline side will go a long way toward helping to cure your diabetes.

Making lemon water is very easy. Just squeeze the juice from a half lemon (or a full lemon if you are a larger person) into a glass of water, swirl it around a little, and drink it up. Do this first thing in the morning on an empty stomach before you have your coffee or breakfast.

Lemons Have TWICE the Vitamin C As Oranges

This was a fact that surprised me as you always hear that orange juice is so loaded with vitamin C. Well, the orange’s citrus cousin has it beat with twice the vitamin C. Most people don’t realize but vitamin C is an extremely powerful antioxidant. It is important to note that vitamin taken in the form of food is MUCH better absorbed by the body than vitamin C taken in the form of a pill!

Vitamin C is at least part of the reason lemons interact with the cell membrane and make it less insulin resistant. However, vitamin C also have other very important benefits to the diabetic as well. For example, it increases the production of collagen which strengthens blood vessels. This is key since many diabetics have problems with circulation and arterial damage.

Aids In Repairing Digestion

Most diabetics have impaired digestive enzymes and lowered acidity in the stomach. This means that they don’t always reap the full benefit from the nutritious food they eat. Lemon goes a long way toward curing this problem as well.

Benfotiamine And Diabetic Retinopathy

Damage from diabetes can occur in different areas of the eye. It can occur to the cornea, nerves controlling the muscles of the eye, the lens, optic nerve and retina. The retina is the complication that most people and medical professionals think of first in terms of diabetic complications.

Diabetic retinopathy is simply damage to the light sensitive retina. This damage is brought about by hyperglycemia, the medical term for high blood sugar. Retinopathy is directly responsible for approximately 12,000 to 24,000 cases of legal blindness every year in the USA alone. It is reported that there are over 200,000 cases each year globally.

Diabetic complications are even more insidious than these numbers because there are several other types of diabetic eye disease created wholly or in part by high blood sugar in diabetics.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Eye Disease?

It stands to reason that the more informed a person is about a particular situation the better equipped they will be to handle it. Diabetic eye disease is just such a case in point. We need to think of the whole person and not just the eyes when discussing diabetic education because diabetic complications run from eye disease, heart disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, etc. Although benfotiamine has been found useful for all of the above, for the sake of this article in terms of prevention, we will discuss diabetic eye disease in terms of diabetic retinopathy.

Diabetic retinopathy is a disease that every diabetic faces the possibility of suffering from somewhere in the course of their disease. The better patients of diabetes are equipped to handle their disease, the lower their risk that they will develop retinopathy. If retinopathy does develop in a patient who is doing all he/she can do to lessen the impact of blood sugar on their bodies, the better chance that they can live productive lives despite the complications and the slower such complications will progress.

What Works Best?

Unfortunately, there are very few options that are showing much promise for the diabetic in terms of diabetic complications. Benfotiamine has been suggested recently to be a strong deterrent against the development of diabetic retinopathy and also shown to slow its progression significantly if it develops. It is showing great promise in the arena of retinopathy, neuropathy and heart/circulatory conditions brought about by excess sugar in the cells.

Benfotiamine, a lipid soluble derivative of water soluble vitamin B1 (thiamine), has been used for the past 12 years in Europe for the treatment of neuropathy, retinopathy as well as heart and circulatory conditions and has shown no adverse effects.

Much of the current research on benfotiamine can be discovered by typing the term benfotiamine into a search engine such as google, AOL, yahoo, etc.

Conclusion

Diabetic complications are a reality that must be an accepted possibility for every diabetic. Diabetic education is highly necessary so that the diabetic community is able to make informed decisions as to their treatment and prevention methodologies. There are few things that show great promise in preventing and/or helping neuropathy, retinopathy, heart and circulatory problems brought about by diabetes. Keeping blood sugar levels close to normal along with adequate exercise in line with the abilities of each individual has shown to help slow the onset of diabetic complications.

Benfotiamine is a nutritional supplement that has shown to be helpful in Europe over the past 12 years in terms of diabetic complications and is now available in the United States, and might be worth the time to investigate further. How about for the diabetic who faces the insidious nature of diabetic complications?

Pau D’Arco and Diabetes

Do you know what the medical condition known as diabetes is? How about the herbal medicine called pau d’arco? In this article, these are discussed. Do bear in mind, though, that this is only general in nature. It is not a replacement for talking with a doctor, and you should not attempt to begin a treatment course based on anything you read in here.

What is diabetes?

There is actually a group of illnesses which is known as diabetes. This includes things such as type 1 and type 2. Those two forms are chronic, although not every other kind of this disease is. In general, diabetes is a kind of metabolic illness. In type 1, insufficient insulin is produced. In type 2, there is a resistance to insulin, although on a relative level the patient can also experience insufficient production.

What is pau d’arco

This herb comes from a variety of places, but is often found in South America. What is known as pau d’arco is actually the inner bark of a particular tree (certain Tabebuia trees). As a medicine, it is often taken as a tea. A bag, or if loose then the amount recommended in the packaging, is added to roughly 8 ounces of water. Aside from this, a person could have it in other forms, such as ingesting it via capsule, or even tincture.

What’s the connection?

Some people claim that pau d’arco is something that can be added to one’s current diabetes management plan as a supplementary way of caring for the individual with the condition. Of course, speak with someone who is a professional to determine whether or not this is verifiable or simply anecdotal, as well as whether or not it would be useful, or even safe, in your own situation. For instance, as only one example, those who are pregnant or breastfeeding ought not to take pau d’arco.