The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of millions of people around the globe. The widespread of coronavirus has affected over 3.28 crore lives and caused more than 4.39 lakh deaths in India (as of 1 September 2021). The novel coronavirus is contagious and requires immediate medical attention.
In India, at the time of the outbreak of the pandemic, the IRDA had issued a circular directing all insurance providers to design an insurance plan that offers coverage to people affected with coronavirus. Working on the directives of IRDA, all leading insurance providers have come up with a COVID-specific plan for coronavirus treatment. However, many now face the dilemma of whether to purchase a health insurance plan or a COVID-specific plan for coronavirus treatment. Read on to find the answer to this important dilemma.
Does Your Existing Health Insurance Plan Cover COVID-19 Expenses?
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) has issued a mandate, suggesting all health insurance providers offer insurance cover to individuals and families affected by the novel coronavirus. This mandate was obligatory on all general and health insurance providers irrespective of the type of insurance plan the customers own.
So, if any insured has an existing health insurance plan then they will be covered for covid-19 expenses subject to the following:
- A predefined waiting period of one month i.e. 30 days is applicable.
- The timeline for the claim process is similar to the claim to the process of any other disease.
- The coverage shall cover for pre-hospitalization as well as post-hospitalization expenses.
However, under normal health insurance policies, the claim is allowed if the insured person is hospitalized for more than 24 hours but in-case of home isolation where there is no hospitalization, health insurance claims may not be allowed. Thus, you need to check with your insurance provider the terms and conditions of your existing policy and understand the nature of expenses covered under the policy.
A few health insurance providers allow COVID-related expenses to the extent of the specified upper limit. While some health insurance policies cover medical expenses like hospitalization, testing cost, consultation cost, etc. but do not cover the non-medical costs like PPE suit costs. Understanding the pain of pandemic affected patients, IRDA mandated all leading health insurance companies to launch a COVID-specific plan to address coronavirus treatment costs.
COVID-specific Insurance Plans
The COVID-specific insurance plans are designed to cover for the coronavirus treatment cost including all medical and non-medical expenses. All the COVID-specific insurance policies are designed to cover for hospitalization expenses, pre-hospitalisation, and post-hospitalisation expenses, home quarantine treatment, and treatment cost of co-morbidities.
The COVID-specific plans also cover the treatment cost of Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy, and Siddha. Another biggest advantage of COVID-Specific Insurance Plans is that they offer coverage for a short duration, cover the cost of treatment of the entire family comprising 2 adults and 4 children, and the plan is highly affordable.
Additionally, even if you have a health insurance cover for the entire family but during pandemic times if one family member contracts the infection then the rest of the family is at the risk of infection. In such a scenario, a health insurance plan might not be sufficient, however, purchasing a COVID-specific plan will help in covering the treatment cost.
It is best to understand your insurance needs and purchase a plan that satisfies them all. It is recommended to check with your current health insurance provider regarding the inclusions and exclusions of the existing health insurance cover. However, purchasing a separate COVID-specific plan will be helpful as it will cover the entire cost.
For example, if you have an existing health insurance coverage that covers for COVID hospitalisation expenses and if you purchase the COVID-specific plan then both the plans will cover your entire cost i.e. health insurance plan will cover for the medical and hospitalisation expenses while the COVID-specific plan will cover for non-medical costs. Thus, doing so will help in covering the COVID treatment cost of the entire family at an affordable premium amount.