Preventive Health check-up – II: Beware of advanced packages offered at discount rates

It is a debatable whether a healthy person really needs preventive health check-up. Today, you may be subjected to unnecessary CT scans in case you choose an advanced PHP. Customers should beware as an extensive check-up is not in your interest

Got your preventive health check-up done? If you wish to do so, ensure that you don’t end up with unnecessary tests to complete your allowed Rs5,000 tax deduction. Today, an advanced PHP (Preventive Healthcare Programme) can include CT scans which are not just unnecessary for a healthy individual, but can expose you to high levels of radiation. Choose your PHP carefully and not based on the heavy discount that it may offer.

Read –Preventive Health check-up – I: Is the Rs5,000 tax deduction enough? 

Indus Health Plus offers a PHP with “Advanced heart check-up” of Rs26,000 at a discounted rate of Rs12,950. It includes CT Calcium Scoring and CT Coronary Angiography. But, the amount of radiation exposure from CT scans of coronary arteries to look for calcium build-up is an estimated 50 to 150 times the radiation of a chest X-ray; it is 600 times the radiation of a chest X-ray in case of CT angiography.

Moreover, there can be perils with these advanced tests interpretation. The key is in getting the right diagnosis. For example, a CT coronary angiography is a sensitive investigation and a wrong interpretation can put you through needless trauma. Dr Shreedhar Archik, consultant orthopaedic surgeon with Lilavati Hospital (Mumbai) says, “People reach old age of, say, 80 years because they are healthy. Often, we find them taking anti-cholesterol and blood thinning medicines without really needing it. Complications from drug usage (containing statins) lead to muscle pain. They are roaming around searching for a cause when it is not there. PHPs often suggest investigations to earn revenue.”

There is no limit to the PHP testing you can undergo. Indus Health Plus has a “full body check-up” package with MRP of Rs45,000 offered at Rs16,950 for individuals above 35 years. It includes CT Coronary Angiography, CT screening of the neck and even CT screening of the brain. If a totally asymptomatic young person wants to buy this package, s/he would be just flushing money down the drain and actually needs to get her/his brain checked! Moreover, a ‘complete’ PHP cannot rule out all the problems.

You will find value in the simple PHP offered by Indus Health Plus at quality diagnostic centres. For example, they offer Alpha health check-up package for ICICI bank customers at 45% discounted rate of Rs1,100 only. It includes CBC (complete blood count), ESR (Erythrocyte sedimentation rate), cholesterol, blood sugar (fasting), urine routine, ECG (Electrocardiography), Thyroid (TSH), kidney function (S Creatinine, Uric acid), liver function (SGPT, SGOT) and Calcium marker.

Hinduja Hospital offers a PHP Premium package (two days) for Rs10,000 (male) and Rs11,000 (female) for those over 40 years. You can opt for the lower end package “Comprehensive Regular” for Rs3,500. It includes all the tests mentioned above with addition of stool routine, chest X-ray, post-meal blood sugar, triglycerides,  PAP smear (female), additional liver profile which includes Bilirubin, Gamma GT, Albumin, Alkaline Phosphate, Total protein and consultations with a surgeon (male) and a gynaecologist (female).

On 16th October 2012, The Times of India carried an article that said, “Annual health check-ups don’t necessarily save lives, says a new Cochrane review of medical trials. Be it overall deaths or deaths specifically from killer diseases such as cancer and heart ailments, the review said the check-ups don’t make much of a difference.” It echoes exactly what the learned Prof BM Hegde has been writing in his columns in Moneylife

What do companies/hospitals involved in PHP think about the Rs5,000 limit for whole family? While the limit includes children, do they really need PHP which are targeted for 2-14 year old? Rs5,000 tax deduction can be utilized by splitting of it between husband and wife. It may be enough for decent PHP at mid-end hospital.

According to Amol Naikwadi, joint managing director, Indus Health Plus, “The amount allocated for a preventive health check-up for the whole family is Rs5,000. Keeping in mind the practical aspects of healthcare the amount is insufficient to carry out a comprehensive screening program that will not only include lab diagnosis but also high-end imaging to detect the possibility of NCDs (non-communicable diseases) at an early stage. We, therefore, want the tax deductible amount on preventive health check-ups to be raised from Rs5,000 to Rs15,000.”

There is a similar view from the Hinduja Hospital. According to Deepak Samant, director finance, PD Hinduja National Hospital and Medical Research Centre, “Looking at the present situation of inflation and cost, the deduction of Rs5,000 for a PHP is not enough. It should be at least in the range of Rs10,000 to Rs12,000.”



Ubaldo C DSouza

5 years ago

People are driven to private operators because the knee-jerk reaction of the nationalised insurance companies is to deny claims, deny that a subject condition even occurred and harass to the maximum. I have pointed this out in a previous comment. The Ombudsman was the only hope but I am told that with the retirement of the last incumbent, the position is vacant. I was told that I wasa 'lucky' to get my cancer case settled before that retirement!

Nifty Sensex, struggle to sustain rally: Wednesday Closing Report

The Nifty went past our target of 5,960 but could not sustain. The market seems to be trapped in the 5,890-5,970 range. The medium-term trend continues to be strongly down

Although the market was in the positive throughout the trading session, the benchmarks pared their gains in late trade on nervousness ahead of the release of the headline inflation data for January. The Nifty went past our target of 5,960 but could not sustain. The market seems to be trapped in the 5,890-5,970 range. The medium-term trend continues to be strongly down. The National Stock Exchange (NSE) saw a volume of 70.10 crore shares and advance-decline ratio of 601:887.


The Indian market opened in the green tracking firm global cues. US stocks closed higher on overnight as investors waited for president Barack Obama’s State of the Union address for announcements about measures to avoid the automatic spending cuts which come into effect next month. Markets in Asia were mostly higher in morning trade as Asian companies beat earning estimates and optimism about economic growth coming in from across the globe.


The Nifty opened with a gain of 20 points over its previous close at 5,943 and the Sensex resumed trade at 19,602, up 41 points. Buying in blue-chip stocks lifted the market to the day’s high in the first hour itself. At the highs, the Nifty rose to 5,970 and the Sensex climbed to 19,723.


A minor bout of profit taking at the highs saw the benchmarks paring a part of their gains in subsequent trade. The release of trade data for January caused the market to slip further in the late morning session as India’s trade deficit stood at $20 billion.


The domestic market moved further southwards as the European markets were mixed in early trade as French banking major Societe Generale reported worse-than-expected loss.


Selling in PSU banks, on concerns of an increase in bad loans, realty and metal stocks pushed the benchmarks to their intraday lows in the last hour. At the lows the Nifty fell to 5,923 and the Sensex slipped to 19,574.


The market closed off the lows with marginal gains as cautiousness crept in ahead of the release of India’s headline inflation data on Thursday. The Nifty added 10 points (0.18%) to 5,933 and the Sensex gained 47 points (0.24%) to settle at 19,608.


The broader indices continued to underperform the Sensex, as the BSE Mid-cap index fell 0.28% and the BSE Small-cap index declined 0.46%.


The sectoral gainers were BSE IT (up 1.29%); BSE TECk (up 0.98%); BSE Auto (up 0.26%) and BSE Oil & Gas (up 0.12%). The main losers were BSE Power (down 1.56%); BSE Metal (down 1.25%); BSE Realty (down 1.15%); BSE Capital Goods (down 0.89%) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 0.72%).


Thirteen of the 30 stocks on the Sensex closed in the positive. The chief gainers were Tata Motors (up 2.11%); HDFC (up 1.79%); Mahindra & Mahindra (up 1.59%); TCS (up 1.58%) and Infosys (up 1.26%). The major losers were Sterlite Industries (down 2.79%); Bajaj Auto (down 2.75%); Tata Power (down 2.68%); Tata Steel (down 2.18%) and Gail India (down 1.96%).


The top two A Group gainers on the BSE were—Motherson Sumi (up 6.69%) and HCL Technologies (up 4.30%).

The top two A Group losers on the BSE were—United Breweries (down 9.26%) and Multi Commodity Exchange (down 6.11%).


The top two B Group gainers on the BSE were—Pacific Cotspin (up 20%) and Shree Precoated Steels (up 20%).

The top two B Group losers on the BSE were—DB Realty (down 17.57%) and Saksoft (down 16.72%).


Out of the 50 stocks listed on the Nifty, 20 stocks settled in the positive. The major gainers were HCL Technologies (up 4.42%); Tata Motors (up 2.16%); HDFC (up 1.87%); ONGC (up 1.86%) and M&M (up 1.73%).The key losers were Reliance Infrastructure (down 3.53%); Tata Power (down 3.10%); Sesa Goa (down 2.96%); Bajaj Auto (down 2.95%) and Power Grid Corporation (down 2.79%).


Asian markets settled mostly higher on optimism as companies in the region surpassed earnings estimates. However, the Nikkei 225 declined as a stronger yen was seen as a setback for exporters.


The Jakarta Composite gained 0.51%; the KLSE Composite rose 0.45%; the Straits Times surged 0.94% and the Seoul Composite climbed 1.56%. On the other hand, the Nikkei 225 dropped 1.04%.


At the time of writing, the European markets were mixed with a negative bias while the US stock futures were trading with small gains.


Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of equities totalling Rs604.16 crore on Tuesday. On the other hand, domestic institutional investors were net sellers of shares totalling Rs412.15 crore.


Construction firm BL Kashyap & Sons has bagged new projects worth Rs900 crore, for construction of residential, commercial, SEZ building and industrial building across India. The stock declined 1.64% to close at Rs9 on the NSE.


Tata Chemicals today announced the merger of its Mauritius-based wholly-owned subsidiary Homefield International with itself. Upon the scheme coming into effect, the assets and liabilities of HIPL would be transferred and vested in Tata Chemicals and all shares of HIPL would stand cancelled. Tata Chemicals declined 0.93% to close at Rs340.50 on the NSE.


Magma Fincorp has completed the acquisition of home equity loans portfolio of GE Money Financial Services Pvt Ltd worth around Rs810 crore. This follows the acquisition of the Rs 250-crore portfolio of auto lease from Religare Finvest. Magma Fincorp dropped 1.73% to close at Rs85 on the NSE.


Pulse Beat

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