Fever has become the second most common disease, after child-birth related admissions, for which people claimed medical insurance in India. The number of Indians getting admitted to hospitals with complains of fever increased by 89% in 2013 compared to 2012, says an in-house study of insurance policies by an insurance company.
Overall the number of insurance claimants has increased, especially in the working age group, with claims related to fever, gastroenteritis and respiratory tract infections nearly doubling compared to 2012.
"Top claims are no more restricted to critical ailments only with diseases like fever finding a place amongst the top 10 diseases claimed for," said Sanjay Dutta from ICICI Lombard which conducted the survey.
Across the top ten diseases for which people claimed insurance, fever and other common infections showed the maximum jump between 2012 and 2013 which insurance experts blame to extreme weather fluctuations. "Delhi and Mumbai witnessed unseasonal rains while Rajasthan recorded extreme cold weather last year. We have observed that any major weather change results in increased hospitalisation for fever-like illnesses," said an insurance expert from a private company.
Insurance experts said that attribute the sharp rise to air pollution, environmental changes, dietary influence and lack of right nutrition. Though maximum health insurance related claims were filed from Mumbai, Delhi witnessed a 37% increase in hospitalisations in 2013 followed by Bangalore which reported 33% rise in insurance claims during the same period.
However Dr Raman Sardanah, head infection prevention and control, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi attributed increased awareness among patients for the rise in hospitalisations. "Owing to the multi-layered healthcare system, till the patient reaches a tertiary hospital he is resistant to primary antibiotics and has to be admitted as the clinical picture is distorted requiring more investigations," said Dr Sardanah.
Industry experts believe that the situation may not continue to remain the same with preventive activities. "As the awareness in a badly affected year increases, many preventive
activities come into force which reduces claims in the next year," said Antony Jacob, CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance.