Roopam Sarkar, a resident of Moghbazar in the capital, was admitted to a private hospital in July last year after contracting Kovid. He didn’t have to stay long, five days.
But that cost him about 60 thousand rupees. And for those who have had to go to the ICU or take high-flow oxygen, the cost is much higher.
In this reality, many people have felt the need for health insurance.
But epidemics are out of insurance. This is the universal rule of insurance. The insurance document mentions that.
However, since the onset of the Kovid outbreak, almost all insurance companies in the country have provided insurance coverage for Kovid-related deaths. MetLife launched a health helpline or particular phone line for customer service.
In the light of that experience, they have developed critical illness insurance or critical illness insurance protection plan.
Out-of-pocket medical expenses in Bangladesh are the highest in South Asia at 82 percent.
In other words, if an average of 100 rupees is spent on medical treatment, the person is spending 72 percent of it.
Among the SAARC countries, the expenditure is 16 percent in the Maldives, 25 percent in Bhutan, 42 percent in Sri Lanka, 48 percent in Nepal, 56 percent in Pakistan, and 62 percent in India.
An analysis of the budget for the last one and a half decades shows that the health sector has always been a victim of neglect. Allocations to the health sector at this time have been limited to 4.2 to 7.6 percent (5.5 percent on average) of the national budget and have always been below 1 percent of GDP.
As a result, about 6 million people go below the poverty line every year to meet the expenditure in the health sector.
Ninety percent of those who suffer from severe diseases in the country are treated in private hospitals. The treatment of serious diseases does not match in the government hospital.
The reality is, any major illness can be a family affair. In this situation, is a possibility of a massive expansion of health insurance in the country, but in reality, it is not reflected.
Keeping in mind the need for human health protection in such a situation, MetLife Bangladesh has introduced serious disease protection insurance. From the experience of managing health insurance, 52 diseases have been brought under this insurance.
These include severe life-threatening conditions such as heart attack, stroke, cancer, kidney disease, paralysis, speech impairment, severe brain injury, and organ transplants. In addition, the seasonal disease dengue is also covered by this insurance.
According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics or BBS, 1 lakh 60 thousand 406 people died of heart disease in 2020. Forty-five thousand five hundred two people died in the stroke.
The number of deaths due to cancer is also increasing day by day. In this situation, the demand for health insurance is growing among the people.
MetLife has compiled a list of deaths due to illness by collecting data from several hospitals in the country. Based on that list, 52 diseases have been brought under insurance.
When asked, Saifur Rahman, Chief Liaison Officer of MetLife Bangladesh, said, “We have seen in the past that people want insurance for severe diseases.
We have introduced this insurance facility to meet the needs of the people. Sales representatives have already been trained on this insurance. I hope people will also show interest in taking this insurance.
The unique aspect of this insurance is that even though the average life expectancy of the people of Bangladesh is 63 years, the benefit of this insurance will be given up to 60 years. The term of insurance is a maximum of 20 years.
If a person takes this insurance at the age of 30, the premium has to be paid for a maximum of 20 years, which means that even if the insurance expires at the age of 50, they will get the insurance cover for another 30 or 60 years.
However, 52 diseases have been divided into two parts. Thirty-four conditions have been identified as complex, and 17 have been identified as relatively more minor complex.
One-time insurance will be provided for the treatment of 18 less complex diseases. And in case of treatment of 34 severe or complex diseases or death of the insured, the total insurance amount will be given.
Apart from this, the customer will get the full insurance amount in an accident and natural death.
In addition, now that it is the dengue season, additional benefits will be given in case of the death of this disease. In case of death due to dengue fever, another 25 percent will be paid along with the insurance amount.
Health economists say that people would be relieved if they had insurance for the complex diseases that plague the country. However, there is no alternative to increasing the allocation to the health sector as a whole. That will increase the capacity.