Why medical insurance is necessary? Do we need health insurance?

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Most of us come from the middle class family where we have limited source of earnings but expenses, as usual, are unlimited. We middle class people spend most of the money on basic needs i.e food, shelter or house, and clothes but we have started to include education in it as well. But still we do not consider medical expenses as basic need. Here I will try to explain why we should include our medical expenses as basic need and why it is important. Being from middle class family is not wrong but the way we manage our life and expenses is a serious concern for us. For some reason we do not look beyond food, house, clothes and studies.

One of my friend working in an MNC, got married two years ago. I went to his home when as he was back from his honeymoon and I wanted to pull his leg, and after a while we started to discuss whether we should have the insurances or not? We both agreed on life insurance as it is a good way of investment and securing our future but for medical insurance he presented some good points against it (or I thought those were good points). He said, health insurance is a scam, they take money from by scaring you (so does life insurance company too but at least you get something after maturity) but In health insurance you pay every year and how many times you get sick or how many times you claim the medical expenses? May be once in 40 years, now calculate yourself how much you pay and how much they cover, instead invest that money, yield good returns and save it for future contingencies. We as Indians our mind work faster when it comes to the money, so I did the calculation and surprisingly I found his point very legit. Now here is the thing, he completely forgot or omitted to tell me that the company for which he is working has already given him the cover of health insurance, which covers his family too. I had no idea about this, I was foolish to not to think thoroughly and I didn’t take the insurance because I thought I would save the money, yield some good return and after 20-30 years I can spend it on my medical emergencies.

Here is the interesting part, emergencies do not see time, and they emerge out of nowhere that is why they are called emergencies. After two years I found myself in a situation, my father went to village with mom to see my grandparents, he was there for 15 days and everything was going fine and one day he complained about pain in his chest while walking, he was having hard time to breath, pain in knees, was feeling dizzy and head was spinning. My village is in very remote area and hospital is like 30-40 kms away, my dad called me in the evening and I picked the phone but there was some network issues so call dropped. I did not call him back as I thought I would call him in the morning. Somehow he spent the night and next day mom and dad went to the hospital, shockingly hospital refused to admit him after initial check-ups. They told my mom to send him to Delhi as soon as possible for better treatment as they do not have means to provide good treatments. It was 10 a.m. my dad was sitting outside on the bench of the hospital, my mom was tensed and had no idea what to do. They decided to come back home (village) and pack the bags to return to Delhi, but situation became worst, my dad could not lift his legs, he was again having breathing problem. My mom started crying, she called my grandpa and told him everything, he booked a taxi for Delhi but unfortunately it could come next day only. Few people helped my parents, and dropped them to the nearby hotel. My mom called me and first thing I heard was her crying, she was crying continuously. It was one of the toughest call of my life, I asked her what happened, and she told me her ordeal and all she went through. Now in my mind several things were going, I was angry why I didn’t call him back yesterday. I was upset but I knew I have to pull myself together because my mom was alone there and I have to support her. Being the eldest child of the family, makes you responsible for taking care of your family by default, and this was the first time I was feeling the burden of responsibilities on my shoulders.

My parents spent that tough night in that hotel, I did the video call to make sure if they are fine and surprisingly we have good networks over there but no good hospitals. I guess internet is more needed than hospitals in today’s time. I remember it was 2nd night since his condition became worst. Finally next day they took the taxi in the morning but it was a long 10 hours journey. I, my younger sister and brother were waiting for them restlessly, they arrived in the evening. I saw him for the first time in last 15 days, He was walking but with difficulty, breathing difficultly, he was talking irrelevant and wobbling like he was drunk. We rushed him to the nearest hospital, doctor did his check-up and blood tests (CBC – Complete blood count) and MRI of his brain. Within the couple of hours we got the report which made my night darkest and longest. Luckily it was not a heart attack, but his hemoglobin for unknown reason fell from 16.5 to 4.5 grams per deciliter, doctor also found clots in his brain. Doctor told me that my dad condition is too critical, there is only 25% blood left in his body and they would refer us to the big hospital. The next thing he asked me do you have a mediclaim or health insurance? And I was completely blank for couple of seconds and then I said ‘No’.

He referred two hospitals 1. Max Hospital 2. RML Hospital

And I chose RML for a). It was near to my house and b). I had only 20k in my hand so I couldn’t go the Max Hospital even if I wanted to. Doctor also told me that go with 4 friends or relatives as my dad needed the blood immediately. I went to the RML Hospital and entered to its emergency OPD room, the scene was very grisly and horrifying. There were literally hundreds of patients in that one big room, someone crying, shouting and all lying on stretcher. They admitted my dad into emergency ward and that room was really more depressing than the emergency OPD. Room was too big but there was not enough space in it because number of patients were too high. I was shocked, speechless and helpless to see my dad in such room. My dad was in semi-conscious mode, he was speaking irrelevant, I asked nurses to do something but in vain they neglected me like they did not hear me or I do not exist.

Out of nowhere like a miracle I got the much needed help, I found that one of my relative was working there. I was little relieved but not settled. He helped me a lot, he was there whole night (and was there to help us in coming days) to make sure my father is shifted to hospital ward. In the morning he was shifted to the ward and at 9 am doctor visited, my mom and brother was still there, doctor restated to me that my dad’s condition is critical and I should arrange donor for blood, they gave 2 units of blood on that day. Very next day when I took him to the toilet for defecation in the evening, I saw blood everywhere in commode. I immediately informed nurse but doctor would not come till the next day, I did not tell any of this to my mom for next three days, I informed her very less, all I said he is doing fine, I also asked her not to come to the hospital as she is too emotional to grasp all this thing happening around her. For the first three to four days we were running from one laboratory to another for his tests and check-ups. Those who have gone to the government hospital know how difficult it is to get the work done and it is not even their fault, total number of patients out run the total number of staff (doctors, nurses, admin staff etc.).

My brother was giving me much needed support, he is in his early 20s but he was behaving like a mature man. My sister too was taking care of our mother, relatives were visiting hospital and home frequently. I and my brother was in hospital for 5 straight days and nights without shower and changing the clothes. There was no sign of improvement in my dad’s health so far. On 5th day a senior doctor came asked nurse to give my dad anti coma injections, I was scared to death when I heard about that but still I held myself. On the same day I went back to the home to take shower and some rest, meanwhile few relatives joined my brother in the hospital. After coming home I went straight into my room and locked it from inside and cried for next 10 minute like a 5 years old. I was disappointed in myself, as a son I’ve failed in my responsibilities miserably. I didn’t take care of my family and I can’t see in my mom’s eyes because it was my responsibility to make sure they live healthy and happily. I was cursing myself for not taking that health insurance which could have provided my dad a better treatment but it was too late for me. I came back to the hospital and sent my brother to take rest for the night. Next morning doctor came and checked the report and said my dad is suffering from severe anemia and internal bleeding is the reason for that.

So far my dad had clots in his brain and now internal bleeding, things were not looking good for us. Doctor asked us to go for endoscopy urgently but the doctor at endoscopy department refused to accept our request. He told us that hemoglobin is too low to do endoscopy, so he gave us 5 days later date. We were there for 6 days and now we have to wait for 5 more days, I had very limited options. One of my uncle was asking me to shift him to another hospital, I was too having the same dilemma. I called one of the renowned private hospital, I was not happy with the speed of the treatment RML doctors’ were providing, no doubt they were giving us the best medical treatment but the speed was too slow (I had wait for a whole day to fix his cannula (through which they transfuse blood and other medicine) of his hand), I provided them all my documents and asked them about the cost and they told me around 7-8 lakhs but more they confirm only after they see the patient. I could not sleep that night, I was looking at my dad’s file turning pages continuously and was lost in my thoughts. Thinking about how I will arrange the money, maybe I have to sell the house or take loan from someone. Several other thing was going through my head, was thinking about my mom, brother’s studies and sister’s marriage. That night two people in my ward died, one was in coma from last 30 days (ICU bed was not available so staff decided to keep him in the ward with ventilator) and second was a chronic alcoholic patient, his liver was totally damaged and doctor clearly told his son that he is not going to survive for long. I wished even more that I had taken the health insurance that could have solved my most of the problems. Next morning I asked one of the doctor if we should move to other private hospital or not?

As they say doctors are god, for me that doctor not only gave the hope in the dark but he guided me through it. He said they are giving the best treatment that any private hospital could give and even if I shift him to the private hospital I would still have to wait for hemoglobin to reach at a certain level for endoscopy procedure and waiting in private hospital would cost me fortune. I trusted the doctor’s advice as I had very limited choice. Meanwhile total 8 units of blood was transfused in my dad’s body since he was admitted and still hemoglobin was 5.

Day came for endoscopy and doctor performed EVL (Endoscopic Variceal Ligation), thank god they found the leak, his liver became fatty and it caused swelling in the veins which increased the blood pressure and punctured the intestine (that is what they told me), they blocked the leakage with the bands, procedure is called EVL banding. They asked me to observe his bowel movements for one to two days and check if blood is still leaking. After one whole day bleeding stopped and after couple of days they discharge my dad with certain advises and medications. He is still recovering, his hemoglobin is around 9, still a long way to go, doctor told me that damage to the brain is irreversible and he may still will have speech problem or memory problem for life. But I thank to all mighty that and my dad survived, he is with us safe and his condition is improving since his EVL banding is done.

May be I am that unlucky one who did not take the health insurance and suffered this much but why to take any chances on your loved one’s life? Even if you are alone I would strongly advice to take it for yourself, I have seen in RML hospital old women dragging stretcher with their husband or son on it, going from department to another, it breaks you from inside. I would strongly advise you to eat little less for couple of days or do not go on vacations but make sure you have health insurance or mediclaim insurance. I almost lost my dad, every single day I regret not taking the health insurance for my family and believe me just a thought of losing someone you love is the worst feeling you could ever have. I urge you, learn from my mistake, after all whatever you are earning is for your family. I am not doing it for any paid sponsors, you are free to choose any insurance you want to but please make sure you have one. I have seen pain and fear of losing dad in my mom’s eyes and I do not wish to see that kind of fear in anyone else’s eyes. TAKE THE HEALTH INSURANCE.

Always remember nothing is better than going home to family and eating good food and relaxing but most importantly you need the family first, secure their health.


Here  I am sharing his reports ( of course few things I do not wish to disclose so I have removed them)

His discharge document and blood test report summary on right side.

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