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When Health becomes a Victim of ROI (Return on Investment)


What happens when we try to optimize our investments in health policies and try to get the best out of them?

Here is a true story of Anand Kumar a 62 year old overweight patient who decided to use his investments in Mediclaim Health Policy wisely, so as to minimize pain and maximize enjoyment.


A true Story

Anand Kumar, had been suffering from severe back pain for a couple of weeks. He had managed it so far with a liniment, a spray and a tablet that the local pharmacist had recommended. On this particular day the pain was unbearable so he decided to visit a local hospital run by a charitable institution.

Dr Rajan a well known and passionate orthopaedic did not require much time to come to a conclusion that the culprit was not the back but the excessive weight gain and the disproportionately large belly. When Mr Anand expressed his fears asking if a surgery might be required, Dr Rajan told him that such drastic steps were not necessary and all that Mr Anand had to focus on was weight loss. He told him that the the tablets he had given would temporarily address the pain and advised Mr Anand to consult a Dietician so as to help lose weight.

Since his family members too resonated with the doctors findings, Mr Anand started a 12 week Diet and Lifestyle management program with a holistic practitioner. Mr Anand followed the program for a week or two. He had been a foodie all along and it was becoming increasingly difficult to restrict himself. The summer holidays had just begun and his daughter had taken her kids on a vacation. He felt that the time was right to go for another consultation- a second opinion.

He thought to himself "Doctor Rajan works for a charitable hospital, perhaps he was trying to cut corners, since he did not want to do a surgery".

When he voiced this concern to a close friend, he advised him to meet Dr Naik . "Dr Naik is very good, but also equally expensive" said his friend. Mr Anand laughed and remarked "Dont good things cost? I wanted free consultation and hence I got free advice, perhaps Dr Naik is the answer to my prayers. Moreover I am insured, so costs should'nt matter"

So there he was in Dr Naik's Hospital. After a battery of tests, Mr Anand sat face to face with Dr Naik. The words he heard next were the sweetest words he had heard in a long time. Dr Naik remarked " You want to wait for 12 weeks with this pain? 12 weeks of diet and all that nonsense? If you are willing, I can fix this issue surgically in 12 minutes" Mr Anand was sold!

He thought to himself "What the doctor says is right, it makes more sense to fix an issue in 12 minutes than wait for 12 weeks. However since I have an insurance, it is not going to really matter much to me."

He decided to go ahead with the surgery.

A week later....

Mr Anand was wheeled in the surgery room. The supposedly 12 minute surgery took more than 5 hours. Post surgery, Mr Anand realized that he did not have control over his bladder and motions. When he voiced this concern, the doctor waived it off saying that this is common and he will be better in a month or two.

Fast forward to today. It has been more than 6 years and Mr Anand has not yet gained control over his bladder and motions. The surgery was almost free, since the insurance paid for all the expenses, but, it came at a very high cost. He had lost control over his urination and bowels!

And what about the back pain? Oh! It is still there. But today his back pain has got company. In fact the companion issues are a greater problem that the backpain and hence Mr Anand does not worry much about the backpain anymore. Inserting the catheter to get out urine from the bladder is very painful and he is grappling with new issues now. He gets frequent Urinary tract infections, he needs to keep Adult Diapers handy, he has to use a wheel chair since his legs are not able to hold his weight and it seems as if he aged 15 years in just 6 !

Many of us think just like Mr Anand and it would be unfair to single him out as a character who gave more importance to money than to life. In Mr Anand's case he considered the decision to get a surgery done as a smart one. He had even reasoned with his daughter just before the surgery " Geeta, I had invested the money in Mediclaim, why should I let go of it. Why not use it ? "

On similar lines- I overheard a Mom say to her child "Dont you waste this dish, Its expensive. You ordered for it and now you have to finish it. You cant waste food, it costs money!" I understand the reason as to why she said this- There is an application that runs in her mind too, she doesnt know it, yet this app keeps deciding if you have used your money wisely. It ensures that you do not WASTE money. The Money App runs inside all of us as a background process and we dont even realize as to how it impacts us.

In the example given above, the mother does not realize that her childs health is much more important than the food item. Food when taken in the right quantity gets digested and is utilized for energy. When extra food is forced into our system, it becomes a liability and the body has to work hard to throw it out. It puts stress on our system and ends up damaging it.

We think that by eating the extra food we are utilizing it and avoiding wastage. The body does not understand the difference between a Rs 100 pasta and Rs 1000 pasta. All that it knows is that the extra pasta in the system is a burden and a poison. The body would be grateful if you threw that extra pasta in a dustbin instead of treating the stomach as one.

So when we eat that extra food thinking we do not want to waste it, we are not only wasting it ( since the body cannot use it) but we also end up creating disease ( when we treat our body as a dustbin.

When Mr Anand was young, his parents also taught him to value money over everything else without realizing that they were harming his body as they inadvertently programmed him to value money over life. So you see. Mr Anand who used the insurance and impacted his health was taught to value money over life. He was a victim of silent program that runs within most of us.

To be continued......

( Mr Anand story is not just about how an individual can impact ones health in pursuit of getting the best deal. Mr Anand story could also help us understand the following traits that we all share

1. Our obsession with quick results and shortcuts ( How to get what you want, faster and with less effort )

2. Mistake body's warning and healing signals as a disease ( Covered in the Post that addresses Covert and Overt Diseases )

3. Our belief that we get what we pay for. Free services or services that come at a lower cost are inferior. The mistake of associating monetary value of a product with its intrinsic value.

4. Our ignorance about what Money really is

5. Our nature of responding to Diseases and rewarding a community for treating diseases ( Modern medical institutions) . Rather than rewarding communities that can help you keep diseases away.

6. Our fear of Pain and the need to stay away from it

I would like to highlight these aberrant thinking patterns in separate posts and will provide a link as soon as they are up


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