How Top-up Health Insurance plans give you more Coverage at a Lesser Premium?

Medical costs have become unaffordable, to say the least. Medical inflation is rising steadily and quickly in India over the last few years. According to reports, the average retail healthcare inflation in the financial year 2017-18 was 4.39%. This increased to 7.14% in 2018-19 (Source: India Today). A considerable rise, don’t you think?

Against the increasing healthcare costs, you need an optimal coverage under your health insurance plan. A low sum insured means out-of-pocket expenses if a severe emergency strikes. Moreover, under family floater plans, an optimal coverage, i.e. at least INR 10 lakhs and above, is needed for sufficient coverage against expensive medical treatments. Can you afford a high sum insured in your health plan?

Though recommended, a high sum insured involves a considerable amount of premium. Paying such premiums every year might prove to be challenging and so, the relevance of a top-up health insurance plan comes into the picture.

What is top-up health insurance?

A top-up health insurance plan is an indemnity oriented health insurance policy. It comes with a deductible and a sum insured. If the claim exceeds the deductible limit, the excess claim is paid by the top-up health plan.

For example, say you buy a top-up health plan with a sum insured of INR 10 lakhs and a deductible limit of INR 3 lakhs. Claims up to INR 3 lakhs would not be paid by the plan. However, if you incur a claim of INR 4 lakhs, the top-up policy would pay INR 1 lakh as claim.

Benefits of top-up plans

Top-up plans are the best way to increase your health insurance coverage. Here are the reasons why:

  1. They have low premiums allowing you to increase your health insurance coverage without hurting your pockets. Top-up plans are, in fact, the most cost-effective way of enhancing your health insurance coverage 
  2. They provide a wide scope of coverage right from pre-hospitalisation expenses to post-hospitalisation costs, ambulance charges, day care treatments etc.
  3. You can buy top-up plans on family floater basis too to cover all your family members
  4. The premium paid for the policy qualifies for a deduction under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961 up to INR 25, 000. For senior citizens, the limit increases to INR 50, 000. You can claim an additional deduction of up to INR 50, 000 if you buy a plan for your parents too.

Types of top-up plans

Top-up plans come in two variants – top-up and super top-up plans. Both the plans are similar to one another except one fundamental difference. In top-up plans, each instance of claim is measured against the deductible limit. If any claim exceeds the deductible, the top-up plan is triggered. 

In a super top-up plan, however, aggregate claims made in one policy year are considered. If the aggregate of all claims exceed the deductible, the excess claim is paid.

Here’s a quick example to make things clear –

Suppose, you buy a top-up and a super top-up plans each with a sum insured of INR 10 lakhs and a deductible of INR 3 lakhs. You incur three claims in a year – INR 2 lakhs, INR 3 lakhs and INR 4 lakhs. Here’s how the top-up and super top-up plans would work –

Claim details 

Top-up plan

Sum insured – INR 10 lakhs

Deductible – INR 3 lakhs

Super top-up plan

Sum insured – INR 10 lakhs

Deductible – INR 3 lakhs

Claim 1 –INR 2 lakhs

Since claim is below the deductible limit no claim would be paid

Since claim is below the deductible limit no claim would be paid

Claim 2 – INR 3 lakhs

Since claim is equal to the deductible limit no claim would be paid

Aggregate value of claims = INR 2 lakhs + INR 3 lakhs = INR 5 lakhs

Since the aggregate value exceeds the deductible, claim of INR 2 lakhs would be paid 

Claim 3 – INR 4 lakhs

Claim of INR 1 lakh would be paid since it exceeds the deductible of INR 3 lakhs

Since the aggregate claims have already exceeded the deductible limit, the full claim of INR 4 lakhs would be paid

Super top-up plans are better than top-up plans as they consider the aggregate claim amount. As such, the probability of claim settlements is higher in super top-up plans.

Choosing the right super top-up plan

When buying a super top-up plan for enhancing your health insurance coverage, here are some tips to buy the right plan –

  1. Match the deductible of the super top-up plan to the existing coverage under your health plan. This way, claims up to the deductible would be paid by your existing policy and if you have excess claims, they would be settled by the super top-up plan.
  2. Check the coverage benefits offered by super top-up plans and choose a plan that offers a comprehensive scope of coverage
  3. Look for sub-limits under the coverage benefits offered by super top-up plans, especially the room rent limit. Try and opt for plans which do not impose sub-limits for better coverage
  4. Opt for family floater super top-up plans to provide coverage to every family member
  5. There are dozens of super top-up plans available in the market. Compare the plans of different insurers to find one that offers the best coverage at the lowest premium

Review your health insurance coverage today. Ensure that the coverage is optimal. If not, you can opt for super top-up health plans and enhance your coverage without having to part with considerable premiums.

State Wise Helpline Numbers (Covid-19)

The second wave of COVID-19 has been all the more devastating for India. The surge that began in the mid of March, has rapidly reached a point where almost 4 lakh cases are being recorded every day. The weekly fluctuations in the number of cases are regarded as signs of the peak still being distant. Though an accurate assessment of the virus’s extent is possible only with extensive testing. 

After being calamitous in the big cities, where hospitals and burial grounds have run out of space, the virus is now spreading to the small towns. With a firm grip over the small Indian cities, the devastation is still under-reported. 

The national helpline number 1075, 1930, 1944 are toll-free and are active 24X7. The previous helpline number +91 11 23978046 is also available. 

A helpline email ID has also been launched by the Union Ministry: ncov2019@gmail.com

To raise awareness as well as curb the spread of any misinformation, a WhatsApp chatbot has been introduced. You can reach out to the health ministry at +91-9013151515. When you send a ‘Hi’ message to this number you would receive an automated message. After this, you can receive relevant answers to any Covid related query.

STATE HELPLINE NUMBERS

State/ Union Territory 

Helpline Number

Andaman & Nicobar

03192-232102

Andhra Pradesh

0866-2410978

Arunachal Pradesh

9436055743

Assam

6913347770

Bihar

104

Chandigarh

9779558282

Chhattisgarh

104

Dadra Nagar Haveli

104

Delhi

011-22307145

Goa

104

Gujarat

104

Haryana

8558893911

Himachal Pradesh

104

Jammu

01912520982

Jharkhand

104

Karnataka

104

Kashmir

01942440283

Kerala

0471-2552056

Ladakh

01982256462

Lakshadweep

104

Madhya Pradesh

104

Maharashtra

020-26127394

Manipur

3852411668

Meghalaya

108

Mizoram

102

Nagaland

7005539653

Odisha

9439994859

Puducherry

104

Punjab

104

Rajasthan

0141-2225624

Sikkim

104

Tamil Nadu

044-29510500

Telangana

104

Tripura

0381-2315879

Uttarakhand

104

Uttar Pradesh

1800 180 5145

West Bengal

1800 313 444 222

033-23412600

A 24×7 control room has also been set up to deal with COIVID-19 related queries: 

011-22307145, 22300012 and 22300036

  • North Delhi: 011-27708768
  • South Delhi: 011-29531277
  • West Delhi: 011-25195529
  • North-West Delhi: 011-25951182
  • South-West Delhi: 011-25066674
  • South-East Delhi: 011-26476410
  • North-East Delhi: 011-22115289
  • New Delhi: 011-23385743
  • Central Delhi: 011-23270151
  • Shahdara: 011-22111077

With the activation of these helpline numbers and portals, the Government is trying to:

  1. Help the citizens gather accurate information about COVID-19 and also clarify their doubts about the disease
  2. People in distress can call these numbers to get information about the nearest COVID-19 prevention centres, their address and contact details
  3. One can also get in touch with the district surveillance units to report cases of COVID-19.

With heartbreaking stories coming from the length and breadth of the country, the second Covid wave is wreaking havoc. Amid the unabated rise in the cases, our healthcare system seems to crumble by the day. The launch of these helplines is another endeavour of the authorities to make the information as well as prevention of this deadly disease more accessible.

3 standardized Insurance plans launched amidst the Pandemic

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) takes various steps to ensure that insurance plans fulfil your requirements and prove relevant to your insurance needs. Given the difficulty of comparing insurance plans due to the different benefit structures, IRDAI introduced the concept of standardized insurance plans. Standardized insurance plans are those that offer a standard set of coverage benefits which is uniform across all insurance companies. There premiums, however, are determined by the insurance companies themselves.

The benefit of standardized insurance plans is to allow individuals to opt for a basic insurance coverage at affordable rates. Moreover, since the plans have uniform features, you can also compare the premiums across different insurers and buy the most affordable coverage.

Ever since the pandemic struck, IRDAI has introduced a range of standardized insurance policies. Three of the most popular policies are as follows –

  1. Aarogya Sanjeevani Policy 

    This is an annual health insurance policy that provides basic health insurance coverage at very affordable rates. The features of the policy are as follows-

    • It can be taken either on an individual or on a floater coverage basis
    • The sum insured is limited to INR 10 lakhs
    • Coverage is allowed for inpatient hospitalisation, pre and post hospitalisation, day care treatments, AYUSH treatments, modern surgeries, among others.
    • 5% cumulative bonus for every claim-free year up to a maximum of 50%
    • Pre-existing waiting period is 4 years

    Relevance

    The Aarogya Sanjeevani Policy is suitable if you are looking for affordable health insurance coverage. If you don’t have health insurance and want to start with a basic cover, this policy would be suitable. The policy would cover the common medical costs associated with hospitalisation. However, there are sub-limits under most coverage benefits and so you should check these sub-limits when buying the plan.

    How to buy?

    Many insurance companies offer the policy online through their websites while some companies offer only the offline mode. You can also buy the policy online through Turtlemint, to compare the premium charged by different insurers and then find the best rate.

    How to claim?

    If you are hospitalised and incur medical costs that are covered under the policy, you can make a claim. The policy is an indemnity based health plan which means that the policy covers the actual medical costs incurred. You can make a cashless claim at networked hospitals or reimbursement claims at non-networked hospitals.

  2. COVID-specific health insurance plans

    Given the rising incidence of hospitalisation following COVID, IRDAI introduced two standard COVID related plans – Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak. The features of these plans are as follows –

    • Both plans cover only COVID related claims
    • Corona Kavach is an indemnity health plan that covers the actual medical costs incurred on hospitalisation due to COVID. Corona Rakshak, on the other hand, is a fixed-benefit plan that pays a lump sum benefit on hospitalisation due to COVID.
    • The sum insured of Kavach is up to INR 5 lakhs while for Rakshak it is limited to INR 2.5 lakhs
    • Kavach can be taken on a floater basis while Rakshak is available only on an individual basis
    • Both plans pay COVID related claims without any deductibles or limits
    • The tenure of coverage is 3.5 months, 6.5 months or 9.5 months.
    • The waiting period for COVID claims is 15 days

    Relevance

    If you are looking for a specific plan to cover possible COVID infections and the consequences, you can invest in these plans. Their premiums are low and they pay COVID-related claims without any deductibles and after a waiting period of only 15 days.

    However, remember that your normal indemnity health plan also covers COVID. So, do not substitute an indemnity plan with these plans. You can buy these plans in addition to an existing indemnity health policy.

    How to buy?

    Both these plans are available online as well as offline. You can buy them through the insurer’s website or an aggregator’s website after comparing the premium rates. 

    How to claim?

    Cashless claim facility is available under both the plans. For Corona Kavach you need to be hospitalised for at least 24 hours or more to make a claim. In case of Rakshak, however, hospitalisation of 72 hours or more is needed for an eligible claim. 

  3. Saral Jeevan Bima

    This is a standard term product that provides financial security. The plan offers a death benefit in the case of death during the policy tenure. Here’s a look at the plan’s features –

    • Flexible premium payment options are available. You can pay single premium, limited premium or regular premium
    • You can buy the plan in the age group of 18 to 65 years while coverage is allowed till 70 years of age.
    • The sum assured starts at INR 5 lakhs and there is no maximum limit
    • The plan does not pay any maturity benefit

    Relevance

    A term insurance plan is essential for financial security of your loved ones in your absence. Saral Jeevan Bima, therefore, provides financial security at affordable rates. If you are looking for a simple plan with pure risk protection, this can be a good choice.

    How to buy?

    Like the afore-mentioned health plans, Saral Jeevan Bima can also be bought online or offline. Buying through Turtlemint allows you to compare the premiums of different insurers. Since the plan’s features are same across insurers, comparison allows you to get the best rates.

    How to claim?

    If the insured dies, the nominee should inform the insurance company for getting claims. The claim form should be filled and submitted along with the death certificate of the insured and the identity proof of the nominee for claim settlement.

The bottom line

All these insurance plans are simple plans that offer the basic coverage at affordable premiums. They also allow you the benefit of premium comparison so that you get the best deal. So, assess your coverage needs and then invest in these plans for securing yourself financially.

Health Guide for Self-Care

COVID-19 has changed our life in the most drastic way possible. Navigation through this new normal is not always easy, whether it is isolating yourself, staying indoors, making children sit through the online classes, working from home with no household help, being away from loved ones etc. All this can take a toll on your health, both mental and physical. 

Every day we are dealing with new challenges. We are maintaining physical distance, washing our hands, staying indoors as much as possible, maintaining hygiene to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe against his pandemic. In such a scary scenario, it has been realised that self-care can make a great difference to our well-being.

What is Self-Care?

Self-care, according to the World Health Organisation, is “the behaviours you do to take care of your own health and can include hygiene, nutrition, leisure activities, sports, exercise, seeking professional healthcare services when needed, and much more.”

Self-care is not a luxury, it is an elementary part of this new normal life that we have been given. When the situation is out of our control, the best way to move forward is to accept the reality without dialling up stress levels. 

Self-Care In COVID Times

Over 1.63 crore Indians have received the coronavirus vaccine so far, and thankfully most recipients did not face any adverse effects. Soon, vaccination for people 18 years of age will also start. Here are some basic self-care tips that you can follow before and after your vaccination.

  • Build your Immunity

    Build your Immunity

    The first step to self-care is by building your immunity. And in order to build your immunity, you need to do a lot more than take your multivitamins.

    • Have a healthy Diet to Maintain a healthy Lifestyle

      Eat fresh, home cooked food that is full of proteins, green vegetables, fruits

    • Prefer foods that Build Immunity
      1. A piece of raw amla (gooseberry) in your mouth for an hour
      2. A spoonful of chawanprash
      3. Hot water, 3-5 glasses a day
      4. Turmeric tea
      5. Ayurvedic herbal tea
      6. Half a garlic clove
    • Vitamin Supplements

      Vitamin supplements can act as immunity boosters. They are available in forms of juices, tea, kadha, capsules, etc.

    • Exercises to build immunity

      Practise Pranayama, Yoga and meditation

    • Avoid Smoking, Alcoholic drinks

      As they tend to weaken the capacity of your lungs

    • A Positive Attitude

      A positive mindset is key to physical well being

    • Sleep for 7 to 8 hours

      An improved sleep recharges your mind and body

  • Staying Safe

    Staying Safe

    • Masking

      Having a mask on your face is not enough. Follow these mask etiquettes diligently:

      1. Wash your hands before touching the mask
      2. Cover your mouth and your nose
      3. Remove the mask holding the straps behind the ears

       Washing your hands

      Follow the simple 6-step process of washing your hands so that it is clean and free of virus.

    • Social Distancing Norms
      1. Wearing a mask in public is mandatory
      2. Try to maintain a distance of 6 feet between people
      3. If someone in the family is infected, wear masks at home too
      4. Avoid crowds
      5. Avoids spaces that are poorly ventilated
      6. Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Do’s and Don’ts of Social Hygiene

    Do’s and Don’ts of Social Hygiene

    Keep yourself well those around you safe. Follow these simple Rules:

    • Wash your hand regularly. Clean them with a sanitizer
    • While sneezing/ coughing use a handkerchief
    • If feeling unwell do not delay speaking to your doctor
    • Avoid meeting others if you are not feeling well
    • Spit in public

  • Respiratory Hygiene:

    Respiratory Hygiene
    Cover your mouth and nose keeping your elbow bent or with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. Dispose off the tissue immediately. Breathing exercises can greatly help in maintaining your oxygen levels. You can practise then in various positions:

    • Sitting cross-legged on the floor
    • Sitting in a chair
    • Sitting cross-legged on bed
  • Monitor your oxygen level:

    Monitor your oxygen level

    Normal level is between 94 – 100. If the oxygen drops below this, consult your doctor immediately. If you feel slightly breathless or your oxygen saturation is low, you could try self-proning. Try to spend 30 minutes on each:

    • Lay on your belly
    • Shift to your right side
    • Sit up with legs extended in front
    • Lay down on your left side
    • Lay down on your belly
  • Download the Aarogya Setu App

    Aarogya Setu App

    This mobile-base application ensures safety of the citizens from this disastrous disease. The app would highlight a hotspot or any high-risk areas. You can also check for symptoms associated with Covid in a few moments. To get started:

    • Download the app from PlayStore or AppStore
    • Allow location sharing and give access to bluetooth
    • Enter the OTP received on the mobile number
    • Fill in the required fields
    • Start the assessment test

Self Care Guidelines


Self Care Guidelines

  • Before Vaccination
    • If you are allergic to certain medicines, get an all-clear certificate from your doctor
    • Eat well and stay relaxed before the vaccination
    • Get a minimum of 6 -8 hours of sleep
    • Speak to your doctor if you are on regular medication
    • In case you are a diabetic or have BP issues, speak to your doctor before the vaccine
    • Cancer patients need to act only on their doctor’s advice
    • If you have been infected with Covid already, it is recommended that you avoid the vaccine for the next 2 months till you do an Antigen test and check with your doctor before taking the vaccine.
  • On the Day of Vaccination
    • Wear your mask, face shield and gloves 
    • Carry a sanitiser, keep using it
    • Wear loose clothes so that your upper arm is easily accessible
    • Stay hydrated, dehydration can cause fatigue and dizziness
    • Stay calm and have good, positive thoughts in mind
  • After Vaccination
    • Keep monitoring yourself for any side effects
    • Contact your doctor in case of vomiting, itching, fainting
    • It is better that you avoid alcohol the day you get your shot
    • Take your regular medication after consulting your doctor
    • Mark the Calendar for your Second dose

Self Care if You Get Infected With Covid


Self Care if You Get Infected With Covid

  • Symptoms: The common symptoms of Covid are
    1. Fever
    2. Dry Cough
    3. Tiredness
    4. Loss of smell or taste
    5. Sore Throat
    6. Headache
    7. Chills
    8. Nasal Congestion

    In case you think you have got infected with Covid, the first important thing is that you do not panic. Call your doctor or the Covid-10 helpline to find out where and when to get a Covid test. 

  • Severe Symptoms of Covid include
    1. Shortness of Breath
    2. Persistent chest pain or a feeling of pressure on the chest
    3. High fever
  • Quarantine Self-Care at Home

    If you do not have any severe symptoms, it is quite likely that your doctor would advise you to stay at home for 14 days. You would be asked to isolate yourself. Stay away from others and keep a check on your health. Follow the guidelines given below:

    1. Take a lot of rest
    2. Stay hydrated, drink lots of fluids such as 
    3. Water, nimbu-pani, fresh fruit juice, coconut water
    4. Use a “Steam Inhaler” to get relief from congestion 
    5. Drink warm/ hot drinks to get relief from sore throat
    6. Avoid spicy/ fried food. Eat healthy
    7. Keep washing your hands every hour or so, for 20 seconds at least
    8. Make use of a sanitizer at regular intervals
    9. After consulting your doctor, take Paracetamol and/or Ibuprofen to reduce fever and body aches
  • Stay Away from Others

    If you are infected and are at home, follow these guidelines:

    1. Stay isolated in a room, away from all members and pets
    2. Wear a double face mask if you have to use a common room
    3. You must not share dishes, clothes, towels, bedsheets and utensils with other members
    4. After use, make sure you sanitise and clean hardware and surfaces
  • Stay Home Till the Time
    1. You haven’t had a fever for the past 72 hours/ 3 consecutive days at least
    2. You no longer show any common symptoms
    3. It has been a week since you showed your initial symptoms

Self Care Essentials During Covid


Self Care Essentials During Covid

Keeping an emergency home kit is extremely essential these days. Keep these items handy to keep yourself and your family members safe.

  1. A thermometer
  2. Oximeter, if possible (normal SpO2 levels are 94-100)
  3. Over the counter medicines such as 
    1. Paracetamol, 
    2. Cough Syrup, 
    3. Nasal Spray
    4. Vitamin B complex, C and D3
    5. Betadine gargle
    6. Karvol vapour
    7. Steam inhaler
    8. Hand gloves
  4. Make sure you have enough soap, sanitiser and detergent
  5. Keep disinfectant wipes at home
  6. Keep disposable/ washable masks and gloves marked for each member to avoid mixing
  7. Keep a first-aid kit with bandages, pain killer, anti-allergy medicines 
  8. Avoid having overly spicy food 
  9. Prefer warm drinks
  10. Keep a list of emergency numbers ready, that includes details of:
    1. Your Doctor
    2. Nearest Hospital
    3. Ambulance Service
    4. Family Members (In case you have young children at home)
    5. Write down important passwords
  11. In advance, keep one room allotted as the isolation room. Keep sheets, towels, toiletries dishes here, for anyone who is ill
  12. Loose clothes and hand towel
  13. Arogya Setu App

Self Care – Being In Isolation and Dealing With It


Self Care – Being In Isolation and Dealing With It

One of the major reasons that can cause anxiety and stress is staying in isolation. Being alone during such trying times can indeed destabilise your positivity. That is why self-care is so important. It includes all the practices that relate to your mood and thus, your mental and physical health. 

So how can one strike a balance, how can one cope with being in isolation? Here are some ideas that can occupy you when you are struggling:

  1. Sleep. It is one of the few things that always work
  2. Meditation and yoga would help you keep your sanity in place
  3. Start writing a journal or poetry. Years later when you read it you’ll be all smiles
  4. Pursue that hobby that you always wanted to, read a book, start to paint, take an online music class
  5. Call old friends and your relatives with the extra time at hand. Chatting and having zoom calls might be fun
  6. YouTube is filled with tutorials. You can learn a new skill or concept by going through the Tutorials of Turtlemint on YouTube
  7. Catch up on the shows or movies that you had missed earlier

Self Care During Work From Home 


Self Care During Work From Home

Remember the time when you had to wake up early, commute for an hour to give a presentation in the office. How you wished you could do it from home. How you wished you didn’t have to travel so much every day to reach the office. Well, the prayers have been answered, though in a very mysterious way. 

Work From Home is something that we couldn’t have comprehended in pre-Covid times, but it is now a reality we live with. It is probably a feasible solution that most companies and organisations could think of. If COVID-19 has forced you to become a Remote Worker or a Worker From Home, follow these tips to keep yourself motivated, cheerful and healthy. 

  1. Exercise

    Being regular in your workout has multiple benefits. Now that home is the office, you ought to be out of excuses. Walking around the house, aerobics or a cardio workout. Do anything, but do something

    • Use your commute time to work out
    • Steal a few minutes from between the meetings
    • If you can, Sweat it out with Workout Sessions, there are plenty on YouTube
    • Choose exercises that you can do while sitting:
      1. Body Fold
      2. Stretch
      3. Side Stretch

  2. Sleep Schedule

    When the lockdown first happened, most of us utilised the extra time by sleeping. And though it felt great in the beginning, over-sleeping tends to make you lethargic. Bedtime and wake time are one of the most important aspects of self-care. Avoid the temptation to take a long nap in the afternoon, and then binge-watch movies till late at night.

    Even when you don’t have a con-call in the morning, stick to your schedule. If you are free, go out to the balcony for a while, walk the dog, water the plants.

    • Set alarms for wake time as well as bedtime
    • Exercise
    • Put your phone away at least 30 minutes before sleep time
  3. Mind Your Eating Habits

    For many people, the working from home routine has been a major reason for not just overeating but unhealthy eating as well. Many of us enjoy munching on snacks while on a conference call. But keeping your nutrition in check is a very important aspect of self-care. Mindless eating will not wreak havoc on the waistline but can greatly sabotage your health.

    • Avoid working in/ around the kitchen
    • Plan your meals ahead, save yourself from snacking
    • Missing meals will make you eat at the wrong time
    • Prefer balanced and healthy food
    • Keep yourself hydrated
    • When you have a craving, drink water
    • Stay away from sugary foods and drinks
    • Don’t bring junk food home
    • Avoid eating with a screen, you would end up eating more
    • If you feel like munching, don’t eat from the bag. Portion it out before eating
  4. Stay Clean and Dress “Up” for Work

    You need to have a formal work schedule for working from home. Taking a shower and dressing “up” for work instead of working in your pyjamas would give you a sense of having a proper work schedule. You need to be in formal attire every day but at the same time don’t consider WFH an all-day pyjama fest. This simple act of being office-ready gives you a feel-good factor and is thus an important element of self-care.

    Prepare your brain that you are not on a holiday, you are not sick, you are simply Working from Home.

  5. Make Full Use of the Commute Time

    Remember, the long list of things you thought of doing while cursing the nerve-wracking traffic jam. Well, now is your opportunity to do just that. Use this time in the best possible way.

    • Sip your morning tea out on the balcony
    • Do some yoga for a while
    • Start a book
    • Meditate – you can’t go outside, but you can surely go inside
    • Listen to music while you do your chores
    • Use this extra time to network. Speak to clients, potential clients, etc.
    • Devote this extra time to develop your pipeline projects
  6. Designate a Workstation

    For many of us, our laptop is our office. Of late, we have started carrying it to the bedroom, on the bean bag, to the terrace and even in the loo! It would be helpful in designating a place entirely as your work area, as it helps your brain in preparing for the work.
    Also, make sure you pick a comfortable chair when you work.

    • Avoid slouching
    • Sitting in the right posture improves attention, energy and attitude
    • Keep your work area tidy
  7. Avoid Overworking
    Not overworking and over-exerting yourself simply means knowing when to stop. You can be as efficient during work hours as you want, but knowing when to shut down the laptop is important. This again is about ‘routine’. Answering a few more emails, making one or two phone calls might seem a small job, but can often take up more time than you expected and make you burn out.
    • Start winding up work fifteen minutes before your work time is over
    • Unless urgent, avoid starting a new assignment in the last half hour of work
  8. Find Some ME-Time

    Self-care and me-time have certain similarities, but they aren’t really the same. Me-Time simply means, a few minutes with yourself, alone.

    • Early morning or late at night, take out some time for yourself
    • Do nothing, just sit and relax
    • If you want to, Think. If you don’t, just let your mind wander

This too Shall Pass

Apart from taking care of yourself for the vaccination, it is imperative that you stay motivated and healthy. The future may often seem bleak, but like always, this too shall pass. Your emotional wellbeing is very important, now more than ever. It is indeed a time of anxiety and tension. However, we need to focus our energy and thoughts on things that make us feel happy and uplifted. It is important that you indulge in self-care that helps you in dealing with negative emotions. 

Self-care is not really a new concept. Our parents, grandparents were stern believers in self-care. It is not uncommon to see many senior citizens wanting to try their own tricks and treatments and unwilling to see a doctor unless it is a serious matter. Self-care basically means maintaining good health and coping with illnesses without the help of a healthcare worker. With COVID-19 forcing us to stay locked in our homes, we are rediscovering and learning the art of self-help.

COVID vaccine guide

Ever since the COVID vaccine was launched in January 2021, a new ray of hope has emerged. Though the infection is still not under control, the hope of a vaccine has created a positive environment in the country. Now, with the vaccine available for all adults, the Government of India has undertaken a massive vaccine drive. So, here’s everything that you need to know about the COVID vaccine. 

Types of vaccines

Currently, two COVID vaccines have been authorized by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) for use in India. These are as follows –

  • Covishield ® which is AstraZeneca’s vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India
  • Covaxin ® which has been manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited

Development of COVID vaccines

Ever since the COVID pandemic struck, India has been involved in launching a vaccine as soon as possible. As such, the two vaccines have been developed. The development of vaccines has been done in different phases which are explained below-

  1. Pre-clinical –
    vaccine is tested in lab animals
  2. Phase 1 –
    Clinical trial in limited participants to determine the right dosage
  3. Phase 2 –
    Clinical trial in a few hundred participants to check whether the vaccine generates an immune response
  4. Phase 3 –
    Clinical trial in thousands of participants over 1-2 years

Both the vaccines have completed the first two phases of trials and Covishield has completed the third phase trial in the UK and the bridging trial in India.

Administration of COVID vaccine – the timeline

Administration of COVID vaccine

The Government of India introduced the vaccination in a phased manner. The vaccination drive started with frontline and healthcare workers who were at the highest risk of contracting the infection. Then it was percolated down in descending order for individuals with the highest risk of COVID. 

Here’s the timeline of how the vaccine drive was introduced by the Government of India in phases –

  • 16th January 2021
    • Both the vaccines were launched
    • They were available for healthcare workers and frontline workers
  • 1st March 2021
    • Persons aged 60+ eligible for the vaccine
    • Persons aged between 45 and 59 eligible if they have co-morbidities
  • 1st April 2021
    • Vaccine available for those who are aged 45+ years
  • 1st May 2021
    • Individuals aged 18+ become eligible for vaccination

Registration for vaccination

Registration for vaccination

If you or any of your family members are eligible for availing of the vaccine, you would have to register yourself for the same. Registration is compulsory either in advance or on the spot. You can register online on the Co-WIN portal developed by the Government or on the COWIN or Aarogya Setu mobile applications.

Relevant Links: CO-WIN website 

Download the Arogya Setu App from PlayStore 

Or simply scan to download Arogya Setu Mobile App

Benefits of registration

Here are some of the benefits of registering for the COVID vaccination –

  • You can enrol yourself and your family members for the vaccination
  • You can fix the time for availing of vaccination
  • You can choose the vaccination centre wherein you want to get vaccinated
  • You can also reschedule the vaccination date if you miss or are unable to visit the centre on the scheduled date
  • Your vaccination certificate would be shared with you when you are registered

Vaccination details

Vaccination details

  • Vaccines would be given at both Government health centres and private health facilities. These are called COVID Vaccination Centres (CVC). 
  • In the case of vaccination in private CVCs, you have to register yourself prior to vaccination.
  • In the case of vaccination in Government health centres, a part of the slots would be reserved for online registration. However, the rest of the slots would allow walk-in or on-site registrations and appointments.
  • The appointment slots for any date would close at 12 pm a day before such date.

The process of registration 

The process of registration

Here is a step-by-step guide to register yourself and/or your family members on the COWIN portal for vaccination –

  • Visit www.cowin.gov.in and click on ‘Register / Sign In Yourself’
  • Development-of-COVID-vaccines

  • A new page would open wherein you would have to provide your mobile number for getting an OTP. Alternatively, you can sign in using the Arogya Setu or Umang application.
  • COWIN portal

  • Enter the OTP received for verification and to proceed with the registration
  • registration

  • A new ‘Registration for Vaccination’ page would open containing the fields which you need to fill with your information.
  • Registration-for-Vaccination

  • The information that should be provided includes –
    • The photo identity proof that you are submitting for registration
    • Number of the identity proof
    • Name
    • Gender
    • Birth year as in the identity proof
  • After the details are provided, click on ‘Register’ and you would be able to register yourself successfully.
  • You can, then, go into your account and check your details. You can also add up to four additional family members under a single registration
  • To add members, click on ‘Add More’ on your ‘Account Details’ page. Provide the information of the member (s) and the member (s) would be added

Appointment for vaccination

Appointment for vaccination

Once the registration process is complete, you can fix your appointment for vaccination. It can be done using the following steps –

  • On the ‘Account Details’ page, click on the ‘Schedule’ button next to the registered name to schedule an appointment.
  • Appointment for vaccination

  • You need to enter your PIN code or your district name to find the CVCs wherein vaccinations are available.
  • enter your PIN code

  • When you choose any centre, the available slots would be displayed for a particular date. It would also show the capacity of the respective slot.
  • displayed for a particular date

  • Choose a relevant and suitable date and fix your appointment
  • After you choose any slot, click on ‘Book’. An ‘Appointment Confirmation’ page would open that would show your name, date and time of appointment.
  • Click on ‘Confirm’ to confirm the details and your appointment would be booked.
  • You would, then, be able to see an ‘Appointment Successful’ page such as

Appointment Successful

Then you can download the Appointment Slip as well. The appointment slip has the details of the centre, date and time along with your name and your ID document with a registration ID.

appointment slip

The confirmation of your appointment is shared with you through an SMS that states the date, time and the centre of vaccination. Once you take the vaccination on the scheduled date, another date is automatically allotted for the second dose.

Rescheduling your appointment

If you want, you can reschedule your appointment any time before the appointed day. To do so, log in to the COWIN portal with your mobile number. Verify your account with an OTP. Thereafter, here are the steps for rescheduling the appointment –

  • Go into the ‘Account Details’ and click on the calendar icon to reschedule your appointment
  • Rescheduling your appointment

  • Choose a new date and then click ‘Book’ to reschedule 
  • Click on ‘Confirm’ and verify the date and appointment time
  • A new page would open showing that your appointment is rescheduled 

Booking the appointment through the Arogya Setu App

  1. You need to log in with your phone number and OTP
  2. phone number and OTP

  3. You can register up to 4 people with the ID, Photo ID Number, Beneficiary Name, Gender and Year of Birth
  4. register

  5. Once the registration is done, you need to schedule the appointment. Click on the same and schedule for vaccination
  6. You can search by Pincode and Date to find the nearby vaccination centre
  7. vaccination centre

  8. Check and confirm the time and availability of the vaccination
  9. availability of the vaccination

  10. Confirm the time slot and then click proceed
  11. click proceed

  12. Then the appointment details would reflect and you need to confirm the appointment
  13. confirm the appointment

  14. The appointment details would reflect in your App. 

Documents needed for vaccination

Documents needed for vaccination

You need to provide identity proof that would be required for registering for vaccination. Some of the acceptable identity proofs include the following –

  • Acceptable identity proofs:
    • Aadhaar card
    • Driving License
    • PAN Card
    • Passport
    • Voter ID Card
    • Bank passbook

    Besides these, you can also provide the following as identity proofs –

  • MNREGA Job Card
  • Health insurance Smart Card that has been issued under the scheme launched by the Ministry of Labour
  • Any official identity card which is issued to MPs, MLAs, or MLCs
  • Any pension-related document
  • A service identity card issued by the Government to Government employees

What is Comorbidity?

What is Comorbidity

If multiple health conditions are present in a person, it is known as comorbidity. So, if you have hypertension or diabetes, etc. and then have Covid-19, then hypertension or diabetes are considered as comorbidities along with Covid-19.

Furthermore, if you have any comorbidity, you would have to carry a certificate of comorbidity, filled and signed by a registered medical practitioner. The certificate of comorbidity should be filled in the format provided in the link: Certificate of comorbidity.

Once the vaccination is done, you would get a digital certificate certifying the completion of the vaccination. A provisional certificate would be issued after the first dose and once the second dose is completed, you would get a QR code-based final certificate. You can, then, download the certificate for your use.

Dosage for the vaccine

After the first dose of the Covishield vaccine is taken the second vaccine should be taken within the next four to eight weeks. In the case of the Covaxin vaccine, the second dose should be taken within four to six weeks after the first dosage.

In case of people diagnosed or suspected of COVID infection are required to wait for 14 days for taking the vaccine. On the other hand, if you have recovered from COVID you should wait for at least four to eight weeks to get the vaccination.

The body takes about two to three weeks to develop an adequate immune response to COVID after both the doses of the vaccine are taken.

Side effects of the vaccine

Side effects of the vaccine

Like other vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin have side effects too. These include the following –

  • Mild fever
  • Pain or irritation at the site of the injection
  • Mild fever
  • Irritability 

To deal with these side effects, you can take paracetamol.

Cost of the vaccine

The cost of COVID vaccines is different for the different types of medicines. Moreover, the cost also varies depending on the COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs) that you choose. Here are the costs –

  1. For individuals aged between 18 and 45 years 
    • Covishield Vaccine – For State Government INR 400 and for private hospitals INR 600
    • Covaxin Vaccine – For State Government INR 600 and for private hospitals INR 1200

    However, many State Governments are offering free vaccines at Government health centres. These States include the following –

    • Kerala
    • Haryana 
    • Madhya Pradesh
    • Goa
    • Jammu and Kashmir
    • Telangana 
    • Uttar Pradesh
    • Bihar 
    • West Bengal
    • Sikkim
    • Assam
    • Tamil Nadu
    • Andhra Pradesh 
    • Chattisgarh 
    • Maharashtra
  2. For others 

    Healthcare workers, frontline workers and individuals aged beyond 45 years can get free vaccinations at Government healthcare centres.

Source: Economic Times & Bloombergquint

So, understand everything about the COVID vaccines and register yourself for the vaccination if you are eligible for the same.