Wednesday, 18 December 2019

All you need to know about Coronavirus Health Insurance Covers - The Hindu

All you need to know about Coronavirus Health Insurance Covers

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 disconclude to be in a residence of lockdown. As of May 12, 2020, an estimated 4.18 million confirmed cases and 2,18,000 deaths have been recorded due to this unprecedented pandemic across the world. We as a nation have also been severely impacted due to the Coronavirus outbreak, with 46,008 active cases and 2,293 deaths as of May 12. In these trying times, the Indian Government has taken and is actively taking necessary measures to ensure that continuous medical care is available to the Indian citizens and the spread of COVID-19 is contained.
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 Coronavirus will be managed as per the below-mentioned norms:
  • The policy will cover you for the hospitalization costs related to Coronavirus disease;
  • The policy will also camouflage the medical expenses incurred during the treatment of the disease; and
  • Additionally, all medical expenses 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 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.
Coronavirus 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 a Coronavirus Health insurance Policy can prove to be a timely solution for individuals who do not have an existing health insurance cover and would like to have protection against the prevailing disease.
However, these policies specific to COVID-19 have some limitations too.
  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.
What should you do?
With the Coronavirus pandemic creating an alarming situation, a Coronavirus 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 cslit 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.
Having said that, before you opt for a outlandish health insurance policy, make sure that your health insurance has the following key features:
Room Rent Cap
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 principal chunk of the hospital bill. Accordingly, choose an insurance policy that covers 100% of the room rent.
Network hospitals
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 sing 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.
Pre-existing diseases 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 offer the shortest waiting period should be considered.
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 settle 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 inquire released by the IRDAI every year, the process can be judged by the reviews from existing customers.
Renewal age
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 pleasing 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.
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 grief 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.
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