Understanding Swine Flu
Viruses are microscopic organisms that have DNA or RNA and a coat of protein. They cannot reproduce on their own and use host cells for the same. When a virus enters a human body, it takes over the host cell and starts reproducing and spreading inside the body causing a range of symptoms. There have been different types of diseases and illnesses that have been recognized as virus-related ailments. Some of the common diseases are the common cold, flu, HIV, and Ebola.
In this article, we will be talking about a dangerous viral infection called the Swine Flu.
It is a type of influenza virus that is similar to the one that affects pigs (swine), hence the name. In 1918, the Spanish Flu resulted in a pandemic that killed over 50 million people around the world. It was caused by a strain of the same virus that causes the Swine Flu.
In April 2009, a new strain of the Swine Flu virus was detected that infected millions of people around the world. It was declared a pandemic that ended after one year. In 2015, India saw an outbreak of the disease with significant mortality.
The swine flu virus spreads rapidly among humans and is known to cause moderate to severe symptoms. Usually, patients recover after taking the prescribed medicines at home. However, in severe cases, they might have to be hospitalized and require specialized treatment. In such cases, the costs can rise exponentially and cause a strain on your finances. Hence, you need a health insurance plan that covers these costs.
Tata AIG offers medical insurance plans with comprehensive coverage, affordable premiums, a wide range of add-on covers, and a hassle-free claim settlement process to help you manage medical emergencies with ease. In this article, we will talk about Swine Flu, its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment. We will also look at the importance of a health insurance plan for battling the disease.
What is Swine Flu?
Swine flu is a viral disease caused by the H1N1 strain of the influenza flu virus. This virus primarily affected pigs or swine and caused respiratory disease. This virus was transmitted from pigs to humans and caused respiratory ailments too. It is a highly contagious disease and in severe cases, can be fatal too.
Once the virus enters the human body, it infects the entire respiratory system by taking over cells and destroying them. This causes a range of symptoms and discomfort to the infected person. As the virus spreads to other parts of the body, it can cause severe complications.
Types of Swine Flu
Of these, Swine Flu is caused by the Influenza A virus. This has several sub-types including:
Swine Flu Symptoms
The symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of seasonal flu. These include:
A Runny nose or a stuffy nose
In severe cases, the symptoms can worsen. Some symptoms of severe swine flu are:
Shortness of breath
Pain in the belly or the sides of the abdomen
Unlike seasonal flu, swine flu can cause serious lung infections and prove to be fatal if left untreated.
Swine Flu Causes
The factors that determine the risk of catching the infection are similar to seasonal flu. Here are the details
Weakened immune system People with a weak immune system, like young children or senior citizens, have a higher risk of getting infected with the swine flu virus. Also, people with a weakened immune system due to diseases like AIDS are at a higher risk.
Handling pigs If you are in close contact with pigs for any reason and one of them is infected, then you are at a high risk of getting infected too.
Going to infected areas If you are travelling to a place where the number of swine flu cases has increased, you are exposed to a high risk of getting infected.
Swine Flu Diagnosis
Since most symptoms of swine flu are similar to seasonal flu, when you visit a doctor, he will check for physical symptoms like cough, swollen glands, fever, etc. Most people with swine flu have a constant vomiting sensation. However, a lab test is the only way to know for certain.
If the doctor suspects you are at a high risk of swine flu, he might recommend getting a Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR). He might also recommend a virus isolation test and a series of tests to determine the increase of antibodies and antigens in your body that are caused due to the presence of the virus. Typically, the RT-PCR is conducted by taking a swab from your nose and the back of the throat.
Swine Flu Treatment
In most cases, swine flu causes mild to moderate symptoms, and patients do not need any medicines or medical attention. They must ensure that they rest well, drink a lot of fluids, eat light, and distance themselves from others. In some cases, the doctor might prescribe medicines to relieve the patient of certain symptoms like fever, vomiting, or pains.
If you suffer from severe symptoms of swine flu, the doctor might recommend hospitalisation and advanced treatment based on them.
Swine Flu Prevention
There are two simple ways of preventing getting infected with the swine flu virus
Vaccination Make sure that you take the swine flu vaccine to keep yourself protected. Talk to your doctor about it, and don’t delay it.
Hygiene Make it a habit to cover your nose and mouth if anyone near you sneezes. This can help prevent the transmission of many types of viruses. Also, in public places, do not touch your face, eyes, mouth, or nose without washing your hands or sanitising them.
If the government has declared an outbreak of swine flu, take all precautions to protect yourself.
Why Buy a Medical Insurance Plan?
In most cases, people infected with the swine flu virus get better without any medical intervention. However, if the complications increase and the patient has to be hospitalised, the costs can become difficult to manage. Tata AIG offers a comprehensive health insurance policy to help you manage these costs without breaking the bank. Here are some reasons why you should use a medical insurance plan from Tata AIG**
Comprehensive coverage We are exposed to a wide range of diseases and infections throughout our lives. Tata AIG’s medical insurance offers coverage for many such ailments. Also, it covers a range of costs, including diagnostic tests, consultation fees, ambulance charges, hospital costs, and pre and post-hospitalization costs.
Affordability Tata AIG is a customer-centric insurer and offers policies with affordable premiums. Hence, you can get the required coverage for your loved ones without worrying about burning a hole in your pocket by paying the premium.
Cashless hospitalisation If you get treated for swine flu at a network hospital, then Tata AIG clears your bills with the hospital directly. You don’t have to pay first and claim later.
Network hospitals Tata AIG has created a huge network of healthcare providers and hospitals to help you get the best treatment under your policy.
Exceptional customer service The customer service team of Tata AIG is available 24.7 to help answer any questions or solve any doubts regarding your policy.
How to Buy Tata AIG’s Health Insurance?
Here is a quick look at the process to buy Tata AIG Health insurance:
Visit Tata AIG’s official website
Go to the Health Insurance page or navigate to it by scrolling to the top menu on the home page and clicking on All Products >> Health Insurance
Select the number of people covered by the policy:
If you want to buy a policy just for yourself, then select “Self” and click on “Get Plan”
If you want to include your spouse, parents, and/or children under the policy, then select the members and click on “Get Plan”
Enter the date of birth of all covered members and your contact information
Click on “See Plan”
Go through the list of plans based on the information provided and choose the best one for your needs
Choose the add-on covers and sum insured based on your requirements
Click on “Buy Now”
We will call you to complete the buying process
Visit the nearest Tata AIG office
Explain your health insurance requirements to our representative
Provide detailed information about any existing health condition of all members covered under the policy
Complete any formalities as requested by the representative
Choose a policy from the options provided an select add-on covers and the sum insured
Review the policy details, premium amount, and coverage benefits
Pay the fees
Documents Needed to buy Tata AIG’s Medical Insurance Plan
Tata AIG will ask for certain documents to establish your identity and medical history before offering coverage. While the list of documents might vary from person to person or policy to policy, here is a quick look at some of the common documents needed**
Age Proof This usually includes documents like your Aadhar Card, passport, etc.
Address Proof This usually includes your utility bill, bank statement, etc.
Identity Proof This usually includes your PAN Card, Aadhar Card, etc.
Medical History This usually includes doctor’s reports and test results of any pre-existing disease
Other documents This can include your IT returns, proof of income, etc.
What to Look for in a Health Insurance Plan?
While you might not need to use your medical insurance policy for swine flu treatment, if your condition worsens, the policy can help protect you financially. Hence, ensure that the policy is prepared for the worst and covers costs like hospitalisation, diagnostic tests, outpatient treatment, etc. Here is a quick look at the features that you must look for in a health insurance plan**
Coverage amount If you are living in a city like Mumbai or Delhi, the costs of treatment and hospitalisation can be higher compared to cities like Indore or Kochi. Hence, make sure that the sum insured is adequate to cover medical emergencies in your residence.
Affordability Health insurance plans must be renewed regularly to prevent them from lapsing. Hence, make sure that the premium amount is affordable. However, if it is high, don’t compromise on the coverage to reduce the premium. Instead, opt for co-payment or deductibles to get the same coverage at a discounted premium.
Hospital network Look for an insurer with a hospital network that includes the best hospitals in your area. During medical emergencies, most people rush to the nearest hospital. Therefore, make this an important aspect before buying a plan.
Avoid policies with sub-limits Many insurers define sub-limits on different types of costs associated with treating a disease. These sub-limits can restrict your choices, and you might have to pay from your pocket to get the facilities you need. Hence, look for an insurer that does not define sub-limits on any cost.
Things to Remember for Filing a Claim for Swine Flu Insurance
When you buy a policy, it is prudent to understand the claims process so that you can get coverage in a hassle-free manner. We will talk about the two ways of getting the coverage:
In this, you do not have to pay the hospital first and file a claim after you are discharged. On the contrary, in a cashless claim, the patient bears the costs of treatment and hospitalization and files a claim with the insurer later. Here are some things to remember for a cashless claim:
Make sure that you inform the insurer about the treatment.
For planned treatments, inform the insurer at least five days before getting hospitalized.
For unplanned treatments, make sure that you inform the insurer within 24 hours of being hospitalized
If you are getting treated at a non-network hospital, then the insurer will be unable to provide a cashless claim settlement. Hence, you will have to bear the costs first and claim from the insurer later. Here are some things to keep in mind about reimbursement claims:
Keep n touch with the insurer if possible and understand the list of documents that you will need to get your claim processed
Make sure that you collect all documents based on the list provided by the insurer
File a claim as soon as you are discharged from the hospital
Here are some overall tips for buying the best medical insurance plan:
Ensure that your policy is active and in force at the time getting treated
There might be some costs that are not covered by the policy. Hence, make sure that you go through the policy documents to understand the inclusions, exclusions, scope, and nature of the coverage offered.
Understand and follow the claims process of the insurer
Health Insurance Tax Benefits
According to the Income Tax Act, 1961, you can claim a tax deduction for the premium paid for a health insurance policy purchased for yourself, your spouse, your dependent children, your dependent parents. Here are the details of the health insurance tax benefits to policyholders**
Scenario 1 You have purchased a policy covering your family but excluding your parents
Here are the tax deduction limits
You or your spouse are less than 60 years old Maximum deduction amount = ₹25,000 per year
You or your spouse are over 60 years old Maximum deduction amount = ₹50,000 per year
This will also cover the costs of preventive health check-ups of up to ₹5,000 per year if you are under 60 and ₹7,000 per year if you are over 60 years old.
Scenario 2 You have purchased a policy covering your family, including dependent parents
Here are the tax deduction limits
Your family is less than 60 years and your parents are less than 60 years old Maximum deduction limit ₹25,000 per year for your family + ₹25,000 per year for your parent’s coverage
Your family is less than 60 years but your parents are over 60 years old Maximum deduction limit ₹25,000 per year for your family + ₹50,000 per year for your parent’s coverage
Your family is over 60 years and your parents are over 60 years old Maximum deduction limit ₹50,000 per year for your family + ₹50,000 per year for your parent’s coverage
Hindu Undivided Family (HUF)
For HUFs, the tax deduction limits are as follows
Policy for yourself, your spouse, and your dependent children Maximum deduction limit ₹25,000 per year
Policy for parents Maximum deduction limit ₹50,000 per year
Non-Resident Indians (NRIs)
For NRIs, the maximum deduction limit is ₹25,000 per year
Other Health Pages
Disclaimer / TnC
Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.
Frequently Asked Question
1. How can Dengue be detected?
Dengue can be detected through a laboratory test of your blood sample
2. Can Dengue cause a reduction of platelet count?
Yes, extreme cases of Dengue can result in a drastic reduction of your platelet count.
3. Is there a cure for Dengue?
No, there is no specific cure for Dengue. The treatment course for Dengue is centred around a high fluid intake and copious amounts of rest.
4. Should I get Dengue Fever Insurance?
Yes, you must get Dengue insurance to be financially prepared for the infection and the cost of its treatment. You can easily select a medical insurance plan that covers Dengue and ensure Dengue insurance.
Q1. Can I get swine flu by eating infected pig meat?
The primary method of swine flu virus transmission is through respiratory droplets. When an infected person sneezes or coughs, then these droplets can be suspended in the air and infect another person. No evidence suggests the line between eating infected meat and swine flu.
Q2. What are the medium-to-long-term complications of Swine Flu?
While in most cases, swine flu is treated without the need for any specific medicines or medical care, in some severe cases, other complications might set in. These include neurological problems, respiratory problems, muscle weakness, etc. in the long run.
Q3. Can I get treated at home for swine flu?
Yes. If your condition is not critical, then you can get treated at home. However, if your condition deteriorates, then you might need medical intervention.
Q4. Can I purchase a short-term swine flu insurance policy?
You can get swine flu coverage on your health insurance policy for a limited period too. Hence, if you are travelling to an infected region or will be handling pigs for a few weeks, you can talk to the insurer to get swine flu for a limited duration.