While the coronavirus is on top of everyone’s mind, India is slowly marching towards a critical situation as the affected population grows each day. But even in this chaos, we cannot turn down the thoughts of the expenses that would come as a result of coronavirus treatment and the doubts regarding our insurance coverage for coronavirus. So, does health insurance cover coronavirus in India?
But first, let us take a step back and see why do we need a health insurance cover for coronavirus in India.
COVID-19 has affected lakhs and lakhs of people worldwide and its severity is only increasing. This disease will result in severe respiratory illness, kidney problems, lung infection and even multiple organ failure. And you will be admitted to the hospital for at least 3 weeks for the treatment of all these problems caused by the coronavirus. This will result in a hefty fee including the bed charges, medicines, food and the other charges incurred as a result of treatment and hospitalization.
Check out the treatment and test cost of Coronavirus
In times like these when the global economy is bad and financial problems are at our doorstep, dealing with a sudden medical charge can take a heavy toll on your life. This is why you need an insurance cover for coronavirus to act as a safety cushion. Health insurance for coronavirus can cut down your treatment and hospitalization cost and lessens your burden.
Earlier this month, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI), issued a circular stating that coronavirus treatment would be covered like any other illness “under products where hospitalization is covered”. For all policies covering the disease, the regulator also directed the companies to cover the cost of admissible expenses, including treatment during the quarantine period.
So, the answer is Yes. But you must already have an existing health insurance policy to get the benefits or you can enroll in a special coronavirus insurance cover. However, if you enroll in a health insurance policy after contracting the disease, you will not be eligible to claim any benefits for the treatment.
Furthermore, some general insurance companies like star health insurance, Digit healthcare and ICIC Lombard have introduced a limited period, non-renewable novel coronavirus policy for those who test positive for COVID-19.
Yet, still, the coverage for coronavirus will depend solely on the conditions of your life insurance policy, add-ons, and benefits that you adhered to when you signed up for the health insurance.
According to the IRDAI, all the treatment and hospitalization charges for coronavirus will be covered under your health insurance plan. This includes medical costs including in-patient hospitalization, pre-hospitalization care, post-hospitalization care, ambulance, ICU, surgery and OPD charges.
If you have any confusion and questions regarding your insurance coverage for coronavirus, here are a few important things to keep in mind.
24-hour rule: You can only claim your insurance for coronavirus if are hospitalized for at least a period of 24-hours. If you are not hospitalized for this said period, it will be seen as an outpatient treatment (OP) and OP treatments are usually not covered in health insurance policies.
The ‘Pandemic’ criteria: The World health organization (WHO) has declared the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic. This may be a concern because some of the insurers may not settle your health insurance claim if the disease comes under the pandemic criteria.
Waiting period: In an unfortunate situation where you contract the disease in your policy waiting period, you will not be eligible for the insurance claim. In general, the waiting period would be 30 days.
The ‘medical emergency’ reimbursement: Most insurance policies consider coronavirus infection as a medical emergency. So, even if you bear the burden of paying the treatment bills from your savings, you can later apply for reimbursement with the necessary documents.
Coronavirus outbreak in India is serious and we are definitely in a critical situation. And while most of the insurance providers are providing the health insurance cover for coronavirus in India, our utmost focus should be to stay safe at home following the precautionary measures against coronavirus.