Ranjeet, a 28-year-old ambitious young sales manager from Allahabad, was preparing for the approaching presentation for a month. He was excited as much as he was anxious and was waiting to get up and present his report. Just then, Ranjeet, unfortunately, suffered from a heart attack and what followed was an emotional, physical and financial downturn for him and his family. He had never thought much about his health and never even imagined that such a tragedy could befall him. Thankfully, he had a standard health insurance policy that would cover his hospitalization charges. But given the long break that he had to take from work, other bills were piling up too. What could have rescued him in this testing situation was a critical illness insurance cover that would have offered him a lump sum payment to take care of his other treatment expenses apart from household bills.

An increasingly sedentary lifestyle coupled with other external factors like excessive stress can lead to the onset of a critical illness like a heart attack in Ranjeet’s case. Non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular, diabetes and cancer can cost the Indian economy a whopping $6.2 trillion during the 2012-2030 period, a UN report has said. The report further warns about the rampant spread of such diseases in rapidly urbanising countries like India and China. For India, the economic implications of cardiovascular diseases during this period stands at $2.25 trillion, the same as that of diabetes.

The treatment of chronic diseases like coronary heart disease (CHD) is expensive and can consume a significant portion of a household’s income, leading to catastrophic effects on families, particularly those of low socioeconomic status. To gain a better understanding of how critical illnesses can wreak havoc in the lives of the middle class and those below, let’s get an idea of the approximate expenditure incurred in various heart surgeries.

In a regular private hospital, the cost of an open heart surgery ranges from Rs 1.75 lakh to 4.25 lakh. Coronary angiography is likely to cost one around Rs.10,000 to Rs. 15,000. Moreover, valve surgeries could easily cost you between Rs 2.5 lakh- 4 lakh. The cost of heart stents have also catapulted over the years with prices soaring in lakhs. Coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) is a major cardiac surgery conducted on patients with severe coronary heart disease. A bypass surgery in India is likely to cost you approximately Rs 4 lakh. That said, the cost of treating such heart conditions in India is relatively lower than the western countries and with the medical advancements over the past decade, India has become an attractive destination for patients from various countries.

The difference is really stark when one compares the cost of treatment here with say the US or the UK. A heart patient coming to India for a heart bypass surgery is likely to pay less than half the amount of what he/she would have had to shell out in their home country.

However, it must be noted here that the cumulative cost of such surgeries should also take into account various other factors like the cost of medicine, tests conducted before and after the surgery, the doctor’s fees, other consultations, hospital charges, etc.

Given the high cost of treatment and associated charges, it is crucial to invest in a suitable financial instrument that assures you financial stability while dealing with the disease and its treatment process.

For instance, with the Future Generali Heart and Health Insurance Plan , the benefits of having health insurance are proven through cover starting from Rs. 5 lakh. This type of insurance plan ensures coverage right from the time of diagnosis, regardless of the stage at which the disease was detected. Moreover, another major benefit of this health insurance plan is that after you are diagnosed with a critical illness, the payment of premiums is also waived off for a period of 5 years. You can also avail tax benefits for this type of insurance under Sections 80C, 80D and 10 (10D).

The Heart Cover with Return of Premium option allows the insured person to recover all the premium payments at the end of their term. The benefits of having health insurance are many, but it is essential to pick a plan that meets individual requirements. Since several types of insurance offer different benefits, one can choose a cover keeping in mind their own medical history including terminal illness, if any.