Some Hard Bills To Swallow!
Updated: Jun 21
If your medicines, doctor fees, lab tests and hospital charges were people, they would probably be partying at a pub, raising a toast to each other’s pay hikes! Sounds confusing? Well, that’s how the medical inflation picture looks like.
How grim is the picture? Why are medical prices rising? What can you do to protect yourself against this trend? Let’s find out:
For medical costs, the only way is up!
If your regular strip of multivitamins costs you 100 bucks in 2020, it would probably cost you nearly 150 bucks in 2025 if the price remains at the current rate. This is because the health inflation rate touched a high of 8.4% last May and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.
What’s more, from paracetamol to basic antibiotics, prices of about 800 essential drugs are all set to rise by over 10% as per very recent developments in early March 2022.
And price rise is not just limited to medicines. It’s also affecting doctor fees, lab tests and hospital charges, medical equipment, thermometers, consumables and more.
Why are the prices going up?
There are a bunch of reasons driving this surge in medical prices.
Whenever there’s a lot of demand for something that is in short supply, the prices for it rise. With more people consuming medical services post the pandemic , the demand has gone up with the supply failing to catch up swiftly.
Then there’s a shortage of medical professionals required to deal with the rising healthcare needs of people in the country. It’s not very reassuring that we only have 1 doctor for every 834 people in our country.
Also, for special drugs related to cancer, diabetes, etc. price rise can happen to compensate for the extensive research and development that goes into making these drugs.
Add to it the higher amount of taxes on medicines or great charges for transporting medical goods and equipment, and it all begins to make sense!
Wait, prices rise all the time. So, what’s the big deal?
True, inflation is a fact of life. But medical price rise is slowly overtaking price rise for normal commodities. The retail inflation rate i.e. price rise for grocery and everyday items that we commonly buy was around 6% this January. Contrast this with the expected rise of 10% for your medicine costs in the coming year.
In times when our healthcare needs have risen and our healthcare systems are more stressed than before, this is something that will affect us all.
Okay, this sounds concerning. What can I do to protect myself?
Of course, you can’t skip medical care just because it’s getting costlier. Cutting down on other kinds of costs might help a little but given that prices for all kinds of things are rising, it may still not help enough.
This is where the concept of getting a health cover comes in. With your health cover, you get your treatment and other medical costs covered in return for a sum of money you pay monthly or annually.
This will obviously help you save money when medical expenses occur. But it will also shield you against medical price rise because you get savings on medical expenses which will be higher tomorrow in return for premiums that you will pay today!
What’s the kind of health cover I should look for?
Here’s where it gets tricky. Most health covers offer protection only for hospitalisations and emergencies. But what good is it when up to 65% of our medical costs are on non-hospitalisation expenses (‘OPD’ expenses) like medicines, lab tests, doctor fees, at-home care, masks, thermometers, etc.?
This is where new-age health-tech startups like Kenko step in!
Kenko’s health plans cover regular doctor visit charges, medicines, lab tests and lots more. And not just that, with the Kenko app you can simply book all your doctor consultations or tests and order medicines at the tap of a finger!
And the best part is there is no maximum price cap on the benefits you can avail as part of your health plan. Many health plans come with the rider that you can seek cover for your expenses only up to a certain limit. Kenko’s health plans come with no maximum price caps on OPD expenses.
All you have to do is get a monthly health subscription (our plans start at just Rs. 299) and in return for it you can rest assured that you don’t have to worry about the rising medical prices in the future.
Doesn’t that sound super-comforting? Then, why wait? Get a health plan best suited for you and shield yourself from the onslaught of medical price rise now.