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Why Is Preventive Healthcare Vital For Senior Citizens?

Preventive healthcare can help you reduce costs by identifying health conditions before they become serious.

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Versha Jain
January 20, 2024
Why Is Preventive Healthcare Vital For Senior Citizens?

People with low immunity are at greater health risk, whether it is a biting cold, heat wave, or severe pollution. While health insurance is vital, preventive healthcare is equally important, especially for senior citizens, who must be aware of health issues and stay fit.

According to a PTI report, the chilling Delhi winter is forcing the elderly to skip their regular health checkups, and doctors say it may increase their health risk, especially those with chronic ailments like diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases, etc. Chronic health conditions can aggravate during extreme weather conditions; hence, preventive healthcare is critical.

What Is Preventive Healthcare? 

Preventive healthcare is a strategy for identifying ailments before they become severe. It includes health checkups, vaccinations, and tests to detect and treat diseases early. Diseases like diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and cancers are difficult to detect early. Regular health checkups can help identify and intervene promptly.

Why Is Preventive Healthcare Important? 

Dr Santosh Puri, senior vice president of health product & process, health insurance at TATA AIG General Insurance, says, “Early diagnosis helps in better disease management and prognosis. Early detection and treatment can lead to better outcomes of a treatment, as the disease may be in its early stage, making it more responsive to treatment and avoidance of further complications.”

Girish Nayak, Chief Technology, Health UW & Claims, ICICI Lombard, says, “Achieving a daily goal of 10,000 steps lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases, contributing to enhanced life expectancy and diminishing long-term healthcare expenses. Regular health check-ups play a crucial role in early disease detection; further lowering costs associated with major surgeries and rehabilitation.”

Also Read: 3 Insurance Riders That Senior Citizens Should Include In Their Health Insurance Plan

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), early detection reduces medical costs and recovery. A report published by the National Library of Medicine under the National Center for Biotechnology Information also shows early detection of certain cancers and chronic diseases can reduce mortality by 15-20 per cent and the costs significantly.

Recognising the importance of preventive healthcare, the government also offers a Rs 5,000 tax benefit under section 80D for health checkups. Preventive healthcare will minimise physical and emotional trauma attached to health complications, allowing you to enjoy a normal life.

So, why additional spending on preventive measures is necessary when health insurance is in place. 

Nayak clarifies, “Preventive measures offer a shield against catastrophic spending, preventing individuals from increasing out of pocket expenditure for potential health issues. Data by NSSO (National Sample Survey Organization)  in India revealed that out of pocket medical expenses contributed to ~25-30% of annual household expenditure, emphasising the financial burden. Early detection and treatment through preventive measures can avert costly surgeries and rehabilitation, mitigating the devastating financial impact of treatments and medications.”

Puri adds on, “Treatment of early stage of a disease also involves lesser cost, as compared to the cost involved in treatment of the same disease in its enhanced stage.”  

Some insurance companies offer health checkups and outpatient department (OPD) coverage; seniors can avail of them. However, they should check the frequency of checkups allowed.

Also Read: 3 Health Insurance Mistakes That Every Retiree Should Try To Avoid

Preventive care can hugely benefit you in the long run by helping you stay out of danger, reduce medical costs and enjoy life to the fullest. The focus should also be on value rather than costs. For instance, maintaining a healthy diet and undergoing regular health checks and vaccinations can reduce costs in the long run, although they may pinch the pocket in the short term.

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