Over 2 Lakh 60 thousand active coronavirus cases and more than 20,000 deaths. It’s the beginning of July, and COVID-19 pandemic in India doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Almost 4 Lakh patients have been cured or discharged till date, and that’s the only encouraging number that brings some relief.
The recovery rate of 60.73% suggests that the infected ones get better with the help of timely and adequate medical treatment. Barring some cases where hospitalisation may not be required, it’s unavoidable to land up in a hospital if you, unfortunately, test positive.
Are you aware that the overall cost of coronavirus treatment in a hospital could be between 1 to 7 Lakh and can reach up to 15 Lakh?
Yes, you read it right! It’s not the amount everybody can manage, and if at all affordable, on most occasions it eats into your life-savings. The worst may not be over, and in the absence of a reliable vaccine, the importance of safely getting through the pandemic cannot be overstated.
Are you financially prepared to handle continuously rising cost of medical care during COVID-19?
If not, “Health Insurance” could be the answer you are looking for.
Health Insurance: The Practical Social Security Tool
- Creates a reasonable financial contingency while providing a cushion for healthcare-inflation.
- Allows access to better quality medical care that often comes at a higher cost.
- Takes care of inpatient treatment expenses for COVID-19 and other medical emergencies, including serious illnesses or accidents.
- Depending on the policy type, offers fair reimbursement and cashless treatment by usually covering 90-100% of hospitalisation expenses.
- Also comes in handy during a prolonged hospitalisation and justifies the premium paid for multiple years without a single admission.
- Ensures your savings remain untouched with little or no impact on your personal goals, and you don’t have to borrow or sell valuable assets to accommodate the medical spending.
- Lets you lead a worry-free life without depending on anyone.
Buying Health Insurance Amid COVID-19
- The medical test may not be possible due to the lockdown.
- Many insurers are conducting telemedical tests where you receive a call from the doctor who asks relevant questions about your health.
- Based on your answers, the insurance company assigns an appropriate sum assured.
- Can choose from regular health insurance with comprehensive coverage and benefits, standard COVID-19 health insurance or short-term (3-11 months) health policies for coronavirus treatment.
How to Select the Best-fit Health Insurance?
- Pay attention to health insurance for senior citizens and your elderly parents. Buying an individual cover and a feature-packed comprehensive plan with no limitations could be a sensible step.
- Pre-existing diseases are covered after a certain waiting period, and you must not hesitate to opt for medical insurance. IRDAI’s standardised protocol will fully come into effect only by the end of 2020. The issued policy document must be checked before finalising the purchase.
- Go for a policy with OPD cover that looks after expenses such as COVID-19 diagnostic test or essential medication on an outpatient (OPD) basis and provisions to address inpatient treatment costs.
- The average COVID-19 claim is expected to be around 5 Lakh rupees. More than one family member could be infected at the same time. One must prefer the coverage of over 10 Lakh.
- Find out if the policy has a co-pay clause. You are better off choosing the one with the lowest co-pay, that’s the amount that you pay out of your pocket as a part of total expenses.
- Seek clarifications regarding room rent sub-limits that could potentially result in substantial out-of-pocket expenses. The limits are imposed in the form of percentage-of-the-sum-insured or by defining room categories.
- Explore health insurance policies that cover consumables – Masks, gloves, sanitisers, cotton and personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Get an insurance plan that includes transfers through an ambulance.
- While finalising a COVID-19 specific policy, make sure it holds for at least a year.
- Carefully read the fine print and avoid policies with built-in exclusions for pandemics.
- Most Importantly pick the suitable insurance plan by thoroughly discussing the pros and cons and comparing different policies.
Availability of daily cash benefits, post-hospitalisation coverage, free-look period and ease of claim are also some of the crucial factors that must be considered while deciding a healthcare policy.
Insurance regulatory authorities have introduced various measures to reduce the burden on individuals willing to buy or who already have health covers. They include need-based coronavirus-specific policies for those who do not have health insurance or the ones who feel that the existing coverage may be insufficient.
Multiple guidelines have been issued by the IRDAI to ensure faster claim settlements for coronavirus infections. Customers could be given an option to pay the insurance premium in instalments.
Health insurance should not be dismissed as a dead investment without any returns or merely a tax-saving tool.
The current pandemic is another cruel reminder of life’s uncertainties. It reiterates the significance of a comprehensive health cover for you and your loved ones.
Health insurance policies are set to become less complicated, and the scope of pre-existing diseases will be widened. Insurance providers are revamping their products and adding new features. It could lead to a price hike, and premiums could go up by 5 to 10% soon.
If you already have health insurance, the treatment for COVID-19 will be included. However, if you opt for insurance after testing coronavirus positive, you will not be entitled to the coverage.
Do not wait any longer! At Quickinsure, compare health insurance plans and policies by going through quotes from various established insurance providers.
Sources: IRDAI, Livemint.com, Economic Times, Moneycontrol.com, The Financial Express, Indianexpress.com, Business Today, CNBC TV 18, Bloomberg Quint, Outlook, The Pioneer, and other information channels.