We have all grown up hearing the adage “health is wealth” and I am realizing its value now, more than ever. For most of us, it is easy to laugh at health insurance and take good health and energy for granted when we are young, in our 20’s, in our 30’s. Why, I am guilty of that even now, even as I nudge the last of the 40’s. If there is one thing I have learned, taking care of ourselves is the first step to a fulfilling life.
Back in January 2013, I had a scooter accident that left me shaken. I thought I was fine, but evidently not. It was a very slow recovery. By May2013, my right ankle was still swollen and excruciatingly painful.When I checked with my orthopedic surgeon, he scolded me for not consulting him earlier and told me I had severe nerve damage. I am on medication now since the past three months. And probably will be for a few months more, because this is a slow process. One question my doctor asked was if I had health insurance. Well, I don’t. We’re covered by my husband’s medical benefits at work, but obviously it is not the same as being insured and having risk coverage.
What made me think of health insurance?
A close friend of mine, who has now moved to the UK sang the praises of her own Aviva insurance and I was forced to do the research at my end and take action so I could talk to their local representative.
I still shudder to think of my accident. I still can’t believe the way it happened. I was returning home on my scooter, as usual. I waited at the traffic lights. Now this particular point is a huge circle that has 8 roads branching off it with unruly traffic and one must be quite careful. When the lights turned green the traffic moved. What happened next was a bit of a blur. Someone on a motorcycle from the left jumped the red lights and sped past the oncoming traffic. Everyone reacted by braking abruptly, for who wants a collision? I braked too, but unfortunately, that part of the road had some loose gravel and instead of stopping, my scooter skidded and I fell on my right side and got stuck under my scooter.
If you think people stopped to help me up, think again.
Life went on as usual around me. I like to think I am a seasoned driver, and the first thing I did after checking if I could move – I could – was switch off the scooter. Then I tried to get up. Luckily for me, on the other side of the road were two army guys who happened to look my way and I waved to them. They came over, chided me for not being careful (excuse me!) and lifted the scooter off me. I managed to get up, feeling the dampness of blood on my entire right side. I got on my scooter, checked to see if it could move, albeit with limited motion and went home.
When I reached home, I was shocked to see my clothes were drenched in blood. My arm was bleeding and so was my leg. I also felt a huge way of self-pity as I was home alone. I wished my Mum was around to say soothing words and pamper me. Well, I washed my wounds, literally and applied an antiseptic. Later I got an anti-tetanus shot.
No matter how careful we are, how well we drive, nobody is safe from other maniacs on the road. You know, my accident could have been worse. I was on a bus route and considering the way buses speed down that road, I might not have been writing this post at all! The thought that several accidents like these are reported in the news every day is very sobering.
An accident can be avoided by following these simple steps:
- Never talk on your mobile when you drive.
- Obey traffic rules diligently. Your life is precious. And so is others’.
- Drive at the prescribed speed. There is no hurry. Speed may thrill momentarily, but it also kills
- If you drive, especially a two-wheeler, make sure you wear a helmet.
- Be alert to road signs and alerts.
- Make sure all your lights and horns are working
- Check your tire pressure to make sure it is right.
- Too tired to drive? DON’T drive.
- Carry identification along with the phone number of the person to call in a prominent place, besides your license. Traffic is horrible and we hear all sorts of incidents. Just yesterday I read about a family that was crushed and they couldn’t access their wallets because that part was damaged – so they couldn’t identify who it was. Very scary thought.
- If you have an accident and get scrapes and bruises all over, please get an anti-tetanus shot right away.
Inform someone close – family, people you live with – about where you are going.
- Get health insurance. It doesn’t hurt. I used to resist it too. But now realize its value.
If the thought of getting health insurance intimidates you, here are ten questions to ask your health insurance provider before you sign up, since different companies have different health plans.
- Does your health insurance provide coverage for accidents, outpatient treatment costs, ambulance costs, surgery and maternity care if involved?
- What is not covered? There are caveats for the first year of the policy, so better check on that
- Additional benefits if any
- Different health plans and schemes offered, as in individual coverage, family coverage
- How is your premium calculated
- Do you have to undergo a health check? Who pays for that
- Does the health insurance company offer cashless facility
- How many claims can you make in a year
- What documents must you provide to file a claim?
- What happens if you miss a premium or don’t renew your policy by the due date? What to do if the policy lapses?
I am sure you can come up with more questions based on the above.
Here is a useful link for more information: Buying Insurance
Be safe. Better safe than sorry!
Health is wealth.
(Featured image Photo credit: greyerbaby)