With three months into the battle against the novel coronavirus, India has over half-million infections and over 16000 deaths. With the virus spreading across most countries and cities around the globe, economies have come to a grinding halt. As the world struggles to get a grip over this situation, the healthcare systems are strained, and doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff are severely over-worked. India adopted the lockdown route to minimize the spread of the virus and possibly flatten the curve. While this has resulted in a slower rate of the spread, businesses have been hit hard. As a result, many people are facing job losses or salary cuts.
The treatment cost for COVID-19 can range from ₹2-6 lakhs if the patient does not require a ventilator and ₹10-13 lakhs if ventilator support is needed. Given the economic strife faced by millions in the country, this is a huge worrying factor for most people. Hence, there has been a surge in the number of people looking to buy health insurance or checking with their insurer if they have coronavirus insurance. Today, we will talk about everything that you need to know about COVID-19 Insurance in India.
All health insurance policies offer COVID-19 Insurance
A pandemic is unprecedented for all of us. Hence, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 as a pandemic, battling it required unprecedented measures. In one such measure, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) made it compulsory for all health insurers to provide cover for the novel coronavirus under all health insurance plans. This was done to ensure that regular people do not feel the financial strain of the treatment and create a safety net.
Hence, anybody who has an active health insurance policy has COVID-19 insurance. The insurers treat this disease like any other disease for claim settlement purposes. Hence, you can get pre and post-hospitalization expenses, in-patient treatment costs, ambulance costs, etc. In case a policyholder tests positive and is hospitalized for at least 24 hours, they can raise a claim. To know about the list of features and benefits offered by your insurer against COVID-19, you will have to look at how the insurer treats other ailments. COVID-19 will be treated in a similar manner.
If you are planning to buy a new health insurance policy now …
The current pandemic has been a cause for concern for many people. Apart from the fear of getting infected, people have been worried about the high treatment costs associated with the disease. Hence, many people are looking to buy coronavirus insurance. However, before approaching an insurer, you must know that insurers ask all new customers to undergo various medical tests that include the COVID-19 test too. If you are found positive, then your application will be rejected.
Also, all health insurance policies have a waiting period of around 30 days. This means that you cannot file a claim for 30 days from the date you buy the policy. In the case of any pre-existing disease, the waiting period can extend up to 2-4 years.
Also, please read the policy-related documents before you buy a health insurance plan that covers COVID-19.
Fixed benefit plans for COVID-19
Apart from the regular insurance policies, some companies like Tata AIG have also launched a new kind of plan to help you manage the high costs associated with being diagnosed positive with the virus. Called fixed-benefit plans, they offer a fixed amount as reimbursement (usually a percentage of the sum insured) if the policyholder tests positive for the disease.
There are several clauses that you need to know before opting for these plans. Remember, fixed-benefit plans can also have a waiting period. Further, these are disease-specific plans that cover COVID-19 alone. Hence, you will not be covered for other illnesses. The best approach is to have a general health insurance policy for your family and a fixed-income plan to manage costs that may arise from a COVID-19 infection.
Due to the dearth of a vaccine or cure, COVID-19 has managed to instil fear and uncertainty in people. With the virus spreading at a fast rate, it is financially prudent to cover yourself financially against the cost of treatment of the disease. Insurance companies had a clause written in ‘fine print’ that they will not cover any disease that turns into a pandemic or an epidemic. However, with the regulator mandating all insurers to offer cover against the disease, people with health insurance policies can breathe a sigh of relief. However, it is important for existing policyholders to understand the nature and extent of the cover and the coverage amount. If they find it insufficient, then they can look for disease-specific coronavirus insurance that can help them manage coronavirus treatment costs if needed in the future. Stay safe and follow the instructions to keep yourself and your family away from this disease.