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Why COVID-19 calls for a review of your existing health policy

While you do your best to preempt the spread of Covid, prepare for the worst by ensuring you have adequate Health Insurance Cover

Published: May 27, 2020 11:25:40 AM IST
Updated: May 28, 2020 10:23:50 AM IST

Why COVID-19 calls for a review of your existing health policy
Image Credit : Bajaj Allianz General Insurance

Reports of the first COVID-19 cases emerged in December 2019 in Wuhan, a city in the Hubei province of China. Subsequently, since the beginning of 2020, the world has been grappling with the rapid spread of this new strain of coronavirus, which is also called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). By mid-March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. According to the World Health Organization, globally, as of 21 May 2020, there have been 49,04,413 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 323,412 deaths. In India, as of 21 May 2020, there have been 1,12,359 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 3,435 deaths.

While the race for a vaccine is on, there are genuine concerns amongst the international medical fraternity that it may not be able to extinguish the threat of this disease permanently, at least in the near future. This is due to fears that the virus is mutating to produce different strains around the globe, making it a challenge to discover a single vaccine that can provide complete immunity to all citizens of the world. A sudden spike in cases reported in Japan, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and other countries have also endorsed the possibility of a second wave of contagion. As the disease gets more complex, so does finding vaccines and cures. Some scientists and healthcare experts conclude that the base-line solution to this crisis would be the development of herd immunity, which implies that the pandemic may be here to stay for a while.

While there is currently no certain cure or vaccine for the disease, doctors are administering symptomatic treatment to those that are infected and suffering from it. Fortunately, supportive care for patients could be effective. However, this entails considerable costs, which vary from patient to patient, based on the symptoms, extent of progression of the disease, presence of other ailments, age, etc. While the Indian government is offering free of cost treatment to those affected, public facilities are overburdened with cases. The the rapid spread of the disease has left the world with little or no time to create adequate amenities for containment and care of the afflicted.

Health Insurance Policy to The Rescue

In order to avail more comfortable and attentive healthcare within their vicinity, many are opting for private facilities even though it entails bearing a considerable financial burden. This is where health insurance policies are playing a big role! Fortunately, a recent circular “IRDAI/HLT/REG/CIR/054/03/2020” dated 04-03-2020 by the insurance regulator, IRDA has clarified and confirmed that Coronavirus is covered in Mediclaim policies.

It has mandated that where hospitalization is covered in a product, insurers must expeditiously handle cases related to coronavirus disease. It has also stipulated that the costs of admissible medical expenses during the course of treatment, including the treatment during the quarantine period, should be settled in accordance with the terms and conditions of the insurance policy contract and the extant regulatory framework. Last, but not the least, the regulator has directed that all the claims reported under COVID 19 must be thoroughly reviewed by the claims review committee before rejecting any.

Additionally, it’s also critical that you review your current health insurance policy to make sure you get maximum protection and best treatment in case of any medical emergencies.

Time to Review Existing Health Policies

Merely having health insurance coverage may not provide enough financial protection, even though the overall sum assured seems adequate to cover a brush with hospitalisation due to coronavirus. This is because many policies contain sub-limits on the overall bill or some other restrictions. A common sub-limit is on hospital room rent. This is usually a percentage of the sum insured. There are also other restrictions on day care treatments, diagnostic tests or even pre-and post-hospitalisation expenses. Some policies also have pre-defined co-pay conditions for various expenses, which are fixed amounts that the insured pays for medical services that are covered by the policy. The eligibility also varies from one policy to another, which is why it becomes imperative to choose a plan that caters to the needs of the policyholder. One such example is investing in a health insurance for senior citizens to provide for the medical expenses incurred by the elderly.

As a result, it is prudent to review the existing health insurance cover to check if it has any restrictions in terms of coverage. If there are restrictions in your existing policy, it is imperative to look for a better alternative.

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company (BAGIC), one of the leading and largest general insurance companies in India, has health insurance policies that are free from all such restrictions.

Offering customised protection, it is committed to saving its customers from hospital bills. Respecting the time and money of its patrons, BAGIC settles cashless claims within 1 hour, which is faster than other health insurance companies.

Demonstrating its distinct care for their customers, during this unprecedented crisis, the company has also set up a helpline; all it takes is a missed call on +91 80809 45060 OR an SMS To 575758 and BAGIC’s care specialists return the call and offer their wholehearted assistance and support. This is only one of the many online initiatives that the company has launched under its Digital Care umbrella.

The current trying times have made us all realize just how uncertain some diseases are and that it’s of utmost importance to be financially prepared to better deal with any unforeseen situations. Investing in policies such as family health insurance provides cover for you and your loved ones, ensuring best protection, comfort, and treatment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It’ll also help protect your savings and investments, thereby, securing your future. A health policy like the one from Bajaj Allianz is worth looking into as it ensures you get the most out of your insurance.

Disclaimer: The views, suggestions and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Forbes India journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.

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