Kofi Asiedu is a bubbly gentleman with a young family of three adorable kids and a wife. Kofi is a chartered accountant with high hopes and an ambition to be successful and give his family a comfortable life. Last October, Kofi fell ill. It was a life-threatening condition that subsequently resulted in a major surgery in one of the hospitals in Accra. The condition drained his life savings and investments. It distorted his financial planning and his future prospects looked bleak.
The situation affected the academic performance of his children and the family had to be sustained primarily on the meagre salary of Ekuba, his wife. This unfortunate incident is a life lesson for Kofi. It was in this situation that he truly understood the need for health insurance. ‘A health insurance plan would have covered part of my exorbitant healthcare cost, at least’ – Kofi exclaimed. Many people have suffered fates similar to Kofi Asiedu. Though this is sad, it is a stark reality.
The popular adage which states ‘Health is Wealth’ is true in this case. If you are healthy, you have the ability to pursue anything that produces wealth. You can survive without wealth but it is impossible to survive without good health. The above scenario shows the need to prioritise good health as a health insurance practitioner, I have come across patients who have developed diseases due to their lifestyles and the work they do. It is believed that people spend most of their time actively working to earn a living, which usually involves sedentary work. Research also shows rising levels of diabetes and hypertension especially for people below the age of 45. Health insurance should be as much of a priority as other insurance policies, as life’s events are uncertain and unexpected. A failed health condition can be physically, emotionally and financially draining if you are not prepared for it. Health insurance companies relieve their customers of these burdens. Considering the rising cost and difficulty in accessing healthcare, securing a health insurance policy should not be an afterthought. It should be pertinent in decisions you take to safeguard your health and future.
Maybe many people have not considered subscribing to a health insurance package, but if you have one, you stand to benefit immensely from it. Some of the benefits are as follows;
- Health insurance companies help their subscribers control their healthcare costs. They do so by negotiating favourable service charges with healthcare service providers (HSPs). This is done on the premise of economies of scale during tariff negotiations. Furthermore, health insurance companies ensure that subscribers receive medically necessary services to avoid under or over billing.
- Being a member of a health insurance company presents you with a large network of health service providers to choose from. They deliver on their mandate through the support and partnerships of health service providers. HSPs consist of hospitals and clinics, pharmacies, diagnostic centres (laboratory investigation and imaging), dental clinics and optical centres. A health service provider undergoes rigorous processes after which they are credentialed by regulatory bodies; a pre-requisite to be accredited by a health insurance company. Subscribers are assured of quality healthcare delivery from accredited health service providers.
- Health insurance companies provide value added services to subscribers besides financing their healthcare cost. Through partnerships with third parties, health insurance companies have facilitated mobile delivery of medications and lab reports. In some cases, insurance companies provide medical emergency services like booking appointments with specialists, medical evacuations, and facilitate ambulance services on behalf of subscribers to save time and cost. Health insurance companies also promote healthy living and lifestyles by organising health talks and free medical screening for their subscribers.
- Companies within the health insurance industry empower their subscribers to take informed decisions for better health outcomes. The health insurance industry has adopted technology and innovation with the introduction of online portals and mobile applications to monitor their health trends, check their utilisation statistics, enroll a dependent, file a complaint, monitor claims trends, locate a service provider and to check fraud. These keep the subscribers informed to enable them make good choices regarding issues about their health. Whenever you plan for your future, consider your health. Do not be like Kofi Asiedu. Be smart with your planning by subscribing to a health insurance policy because your health is worth protecting.
By: Gustav Gyekye Appiah