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Sunday, April 11, 2021

All you should know about Covid-19 health insurance plans in 5 points

As we all know Covid-19 or more commonly known as the Novel Coronavirus has brought the entire world to a standstill. With the cases of Coronavirus infections increasing at an alarming rate, several nations continue to be in a state of lockdown. As of today, over 71 lakh confirmed cases and over 1 lakh deaths have been recorded due to this unprecedented pandemic across India.

We as a nation have also been severely impacted due to the Coronavirus outbreak, with over 8 lakh active cases now and we might see a second wave of the virus spread in winter. In these trying times, several government and private mesures are being taken to ensure that continuous medical care is available to the Indian citizens and the spread of Covid-19 is contained. In this article, we shall take a look at the health insurance policies of Covid-19 and clarify all your doubts.

All you should know about Covid-19 health insurance plans in 5 points

Considering the gravity of the situation, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) had also issued an advisory to insurance companies to expedite the processing of claims made in relation to Covid-19 pandemic. In light of this directive, all existing health insurance policies would extend their coverage to include Coronavirus without having any specific exclusion. That means if you already have a health insurance policy in place, you will be covered for claims related to Coronavirus disease.

All claims related to Covid-19 will be dealt with as per these rules

  • The policy will cover you for the hospitalization costs related to Coronavirus disease;
  • The policy will also cover the medical expenses incurred during the treatment of the disease; and
  • Additionally, all medical expenses that occurred during the quarantine period will be reimbursed by the insurance provider.

All guidelines relating to Coronavirus are effective March 04, 2020, and have been released through a circular “Guidelines on the handling of claims reported under Corona Virus, Ref. No: IRDAI/HLT/REG/CIR/054/03/2020”. The guidelines are dictated by Section 14(2)(e) of the IRDAI Act, 1999. At the same time, health insurance providers have also come up with policies tailored to meet the needs and demands of the current situation.

1. General Covid-19 health insurance coverage

Several general and health insurance companies have introduced an exclusive Coronavirus Health Insurance Policy that offers a cover against medical expenses in case you contract the Covid-19 disease. As a part of the coverage, the policyholder will be covered for pre and post hospitalization expenses, ambulance charges, and treatment expenses for Coronavirus related symptoms. Availing of a Coronavirus Health insurance Policy can prove to be a timely solution for individuals who do not have an existing health insurance coverage and would like to have protection against the prevailing disease.

But these plans specific to Covid-19 have some limitations as well

  1. As of now, the Coronavirus Health Insurance Policies are available for a limited time-period of 1 year only, and cannot be renewed.
  2. Health insurance policies usually come with an initial waiting period of 15-30 days. This implies that policyholders cannot avail the Coronavirus insurance cover if they test positive for COVID-19, or raise a claim within the waiting period of the health insurance policy.

2. What should you do about buying plans?

With the Coronavirus pandemic creating an alarming situation, a Covid-19 health insurance policy can keep you financially secured. While the Coronavirus health insurance policy may be a good option for the time being, it might leave you vulnerable after a year. Moreover, you would remain without a cover for all other ailments and treatments.

Hence, an ideal solution would be to consider having a regular health insurance plan. This will ensure that you are adequately covered for various forms of diseases and the required treatments, including Covid-19. Another consideration would be looking for health insurance plans for family members to secure your loved ones.

3. What main features your Covid-19 health insurance must have?

A) Room rent cap option

This determines the amount of room rent expenses that your insurance provider will bear in case of hospitalization. The amount charged by hospitals for the stay of the patient in case of hospitalization makes a significant chunk of the hospital bill. Accordingly, choose an insurance policy that covers 100% of the room rent.

B) Network hospitals option

Make sure that your health insurance provider has a wide network of hospitals in their roster. Network hospitals are a group of hospitals associated with the insurer where you can avail cashless treatment. You can opt for cashless claim only when availing treatment from a network hospital. Therefore, it is advisable to opt for an insurance provider that has a wide network of hospitals.

C) Pre-existing ailments and waiting period

All health insurance policies come with their own pre-defined waiting period for pre-existing diseases. A policy that covers your pre-existing diseases, if any and offers the shortest waiting period should be considered.

D) Claim settlement record

These days, information regarding how insurance providers respond and treat their clients is easily accessible and available on the internet, news and various other mediums. Make it a point to choose a health insurance company that has a high claim settlement ratio and a smooth claims process. While the claims settlement track record can be objectively judged basis the claims information released by the IRDAI every year, the process can be judged by the reviews from existing customers.

E) Age renewal option

Health-related complications may increase as you age. Therefore, opting for a health insurance policy that has maximum age renewal would be a wise choice. There are also policies that provide you with lifelong renewal options. Such policies could be an ideal choice, given the rising healthcare costs as well as life expectancy.

One of the leading health insurance providers that stands true on all of the above-mentioned features is the Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company. In addition to these features, the Health Insurance policies from Bajaj Allianz also provide coverage against the Coronavirus disease. Moreover, with no third party involvement, Bajaj Allianz boasts of a 94% claim-settlement success rate and promises to settle your claims within a short duration. It becomes an even attractive option as you can book your Bajaj Allianz individual or family health guard insurance policy online, without the hassles of documentation and physical visit to the offices. Furthermore, getting quotes for your desired plan is effortless with their online health insurance premium calculator.

4. Must thing to do before buying a Covid-19 health insurance

Before purchasing the health insurance policy, you must read all terms and conditions of your policy carefully. Make a note of all the inclusions and exclusions beforehand. In case of any query, you must not hesitate and get it cleared by contacting the insurance provider. By doing so, you can avoid any inconvenience in the later stage.

Whether you choose a Covid-19 specific policy, or a broader health insurance plan, or even if you already have a health insurance policy, make sure to inform your insurance provider at the earliest in case you happen to be diagnosed with Coronavirus disease or related symptoms. All the cases related to Coronavirus will be expedited and addressed with care by the insurance providers. In effect, this is a good time to take stock of your healthcare needs and make sure that you are adequately prepared. A comprehensive health insurance policy is your best shield against healthcare uncertainties and the rising medical inflation.

5. Now, telemedicine is also covered under Covid-19 health policy

Starting from October, the telemedicine consultation will be covered under health insurance policies. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked the insurer to allow claim settlement for telemedicine consultation wherever normal consultation with a medical practitioner is allowed in the terms and conditions of the policy contract.

Anyone taking telemedicine consultation from a doctor will be allowed to claim the expenses under health insurance policy, if their medical policy covers for outpatient department (OPD) expenses. If telemedicine consultations are the part of pre or post hospitalisation expenses, the customers can get the costs covered under the health insurance policy.

The insurers are advised to allow telemedicine wherever consultation with a medical practitioner is allowed in the terms and conditions of policy contract, following the telemedicine practice guidelines by the Medical Council of India, the Medical Council of India, IRDAI said. Provision of allowing telemedicine shall be part of claim settlement of policy of the insurers and need not be filed separately with the authority for any modification, it mentioned. However, the norms of sub limits, monthly or annual limits etc. of the product shall apply without any relaxation.


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