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Treating Serious Diseases with Alternative Therapies is Risky

By Finserv MARKETS - Jul 31,2019
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Health Insurance to counter alternative therapies

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In India, which is also called the land of Ayurveda, people have relied on natural herbal remedies and alternative therapies for thousands of years. In fact, Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (AYUSH) are recognized in India as the Indian systems of medicines. In spite of all these, India still ranked 120th among 169 nations in the 2019 edition of the Bloomberg Healthiest Country Index. Lagging behind its neighbours such as Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Though complementary medicines used along with standard modalities of treatment can be effective. Using alternative therapy as a replacement for standard treatment, especially for serious diseases, can be lethal. Relying on alternative treatments also carry the risk of inadequate or no health insurance coverage when the need arises.

You may apply for health insurance but even the best insurance companies are reluctant to pay for alternative therapy expenses.

What are alternative therapies?

Alternative therapies include the use of medicine and treatment methods, including diet, lifestyle changes, Yoga, meditation, herbs, etc. That are not proven through clinical research or scientific evidence to be effective or safe.

Why are alternative therapies risky?

People who support the use of alternative therapies mainly rely on word of mouth testimonials from patients and doctors to promote their efficacy. The risk of using alternative therapies is almost solely borne by the patient and the doctor is not liable for medical negligence if there are serious consequences.

If you are planning to go for alternative therapy for yourself or your loved ones, stop now and read why it could be risky for both your health and finances. Following the untrodden path may not be the best health insurance step for you and your family.

Lack of clinical research and scientific evidence

Clinical trials and studies are rarely carried out with alternative medicines and therapies. And even if they are done, the extent of the survey is very small to reach any definite and unbiased conclusion.

According to traditional therapy rules, a randomized trial is carried out to test the efficacy and safety of a drug, diet, exercise or lifestyle change. However, randomized trials are hardly carried out for these alternative therapies. Due to the lack of scientific evidence, such types of treatments are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. or the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) in India.

Risky for your health

In one alternative therapy clinical trial result published in 2010 in the United States, it was found that only 16% of cancer patients receiving alternative therapy were alive after one year compared to 56% of patients receiving chemotherapy. This goes to show that alternative therapy is especially dangerous in the treatment of serious illnesses such as cancer.

However, we don’t say that all alternative medicines or therapies are dangerous and some have been found to be beneficial. But unless scientific journals or literature says that it’s safe, you shouldn’t try it.

No health insurance coverage

This comes as a shocker for many proponents of alternative medicine and therapies, but that’s the way it is. Since alternative therapies are not backed by mainstream science as a treatment system, you can’t apply for health insurance to cover expenses of treatment or hospitalization.

In India, some health insurance companies do provide coverage for homeopathic and ayurvedic hospitalization. However, the treatment has to be done in a licensed hospital and there is a certain limit on the coverage.

Therefore, it’s a better idea to use alternative therapy and medicine as complementary options rather than something that entirely replaces traditional treatment for serious diseases.

Lack of regulations

There is no regulatory body, regulations, and laws in India to govern alternative medicine and therapy. As a result, there is no uniformity in pricing, treatment modalities or clarity about procedures. This is also one important reason why it’s very difficult for health insurance companies to underwrite policies for alternative therapies.

Unscrupulous traders and healers take advantage of the lack of regulation and enforcement in this space and sell medicines and services at exorbitant prices while putting the lives of patients at risk.

Given the high cost of medical treatment and hospitalization in India, many people are forced to go for alternative therapies to save money. But instead of risking your life and finances with unsafe and ineffective treatment systems, you can go down the traditional route of allopathy and apply for health insurance to cover your expenses. With Bajaj Allianz health insurance available on Finserv MARKETS you can insure your entire family with as little as Rs.292 per month.

Also, read about the various health insurance benefits that you can avail once you become a policyholder.

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