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Health Insurance Coverage Against Pollution-Related Health Hazards

Published On Jul 30, 2019 5:30 AM By Rupanjali Mitra Basu

Today, the two major causes for an increase in the number of medical emergencies in India are the rise in the spread of lifestyle ailments and the deteriorating environmental conditions. Deteriorating environmental conditions refer to the degradation of atmospheric conditions, resource depletion, deforestation, pollution, global warming, etc. Amongst all these, the burning factor which is affecting our environmental conditions is environmental pollution.

Types of Pollution:

Environmental Pollution is the addition of some contaminants or harmful substances into the environment leading to adverse changes and effects. There are mainly four types of pollutions which are proving to be highly hazardous for human society i.e. Air pollution, Water pollution, Soil pollution and Noise pollution. All of these forms of pollution are together known as environmental pollution.  All of these forms of pollution have been adversely affecting mankind.

Health Hazards Due to Pollution:

Environmental pollution has led to the spread of dangerous diseases amongst human beings, acid rains, wildlife destruction, depletion of aquatic life, destruction of vegetation, etc. There has been a widespread impact of environmental pollution on the health of human beings.  Heart attacks, respiratory problems, sneezing, coughing, allergies, birth defects, reproduction problems, skin diseases, cancer, etc. are some of the harmful impacts of environmental pollution on human health.

In such a scenario, when we are surrounded by numerous health hazards; it is quite natural for a medical emergency to arise suddenly at any point in time. With the inflating cost of medical facilities so rapidly, it has become quite difficult to bear the expenses of medical facilities even. So, health insurance with adequate coverage would be highly essential to protect us against the dangerous consequences of environmental pollution.

Statistics on Pollution and Health Insurance Claims

According to various surveys and analysis, in the year 2015, there have been 9 million premature deaths across the world due to air pollution. Amongst these 9 million, more than 2.5 million are from India. A very recent example of hazardous environmental condition due to air pollution is that of Delhi, where terrific smog was created due to the contaminants present in the atmosphere. This smog almost choked around 19 million people creating some serious health hazards.

According to CPCB i.e. Central Pollution Control Board, there are 41 cities in India where the air quality has been declared as poor. This poor air quality has been resulting in numerous health hazards in these cities leading to financial emergencies which can be dealt with health insurance only.

According to the authorities of different Health insurance providers in the country, the number of claims related to health issues due to air pollution and water pollution has increased tremendously. There has been an increase in diseases and the number of hospitalisations needed.  

In between the period between 2015 and 2016, the cost of hospitalization has increased from Rs. 41,391 to Rs. 45, 104. This data of 2015-16 can be represented in a tabular form giving us an idea on the increase in number of diseases and increase in medical expenses for these diseases.

Reason for disease 

Total Number of claims in 2015

Average Claim Amount in 2015

Total Number of claims in 2016

Average Claim Amount in 2016

Air pollution





Indoor air pollution





Pollution of drinking water










Water pollution





Major environmental component










These increasing numbers clearly state the underlying reason behind the purchase of health insurance policies to fight against health hazards caused due to pollution.

Why do you need a health insurance policy?

As said earlier, the number of health hazards due to environmental pollution is on an increase. In order to face these medical emergencies, people are opting for the purchase of more and more health insurance policies.

A health insurance policy provides certain basic benefits which help common people to fight against dangerous illness caused by pollution. Some of these benefits which are extremely helpful in fighting against pollution-related hazards can be listed below.

1. Cashless hospitalization

Cashless hospitalization is an important and helpful feature of health insurance policies. By cashless hospitalization, a policyholder does not need to worry about the settlement of the medical bills or payment of the expenses. The policyholder will just need to visit a network hospital of the insurance provider and inform the insurance provider about the situation. The due settlement will be done between the hospital and the insurance provider.

2. Pre-hospitalization and post-hospitalization expenses

Health insurance policies which provide coverage for pre-hospitalization and post-hospitalization expenses are helpful for those patients suffering from diseases like respiratory or cardiovascular diseases. Before the actual hospitalization, there would be a number of medical tests, specialist consultation, etc. These expenses would be of high cost and the coverage by a health insurance policy would be quite helpful. 

Similarly, even after the discharge of the patient there happens to be a number of expenses like medications, consultations or further medical check-ups and tests, etc. These expenses are covered by health insurance policies reducing the financial stress on the policyholder.

3.  Domiciliary expenses

Even after the discharge of the patient, there are quite a lot of medicines and therapies which need to be done by the patient diligently. The expenses of these medications and therapies can become a cause of financial stress for the patient and his family. But, a health insurance policy which provides coverage against these expenses can be really helpful in such a scenario.

4. Ambulance expenses

Health insurance policies also provide coverage against ambulance expenses as well.

You may also like to read Top Health Insurance Plans with Ambulance Cover

5. OPD Coverage

There are many health insurance policies which provide Outpatient Department coverage i.e. OPD coverage. This is an important benefit from health insurance policy for those patients suffering from pollution-related illnesses.  OPD coverage includes the coverage of hospitalization charges along with the claim for reimbursement of additional charges like pharmacy bills, health check-ups, consultation fees, etc. 

You may also like to read Cashless OPD - Your Medical Wallet 

6. Alternate treatment coverage

If a policyholder has included this feature at the time of purchase of the policy, then it will be quite helpful. There might be situations in which the allopathic treatment might be replaced with alternate treatment like AYUSH i.e. Ayurvedic, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy treatment. The expenses incurred in using these alternate treatments can also be covered in the health insurance policy.

In a nutshell:

With the increasing level of pollutants in contaminants in the environment, severe health risks are quite natural. We should be prepared to face such hazards as they are always unprecedented and they tend to drain out all our savings. Health insurance with certain distinguishing covers is a must to fight against these pollutants and the harmful diseases caused by them. 

You may also like to read Health Insurance Plans for People Having Allergies

However, we should always be careful while selecting a health insurance policy and choose it wisely. It is always advisable to get a health insurance policy at a younger age as increased age increases the probabilities of being affected with different illnesses and in turn increases the insurance premium too.  Your health insurance policy should be based upon your requirements only and should be providing maximum coverage to you. The benefits you obtain from a health insurance policy are dependent on how wisely you choose your plan.

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