COVID-19 insurance is a customized health insurance policy that offers coverage for expenses related to treatment required due to a positive diagnosis of COVID-19. Apart from that, existing health insurance policies now include coverage for COVID-19-related hospitalisation. Lives of many people have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), which has been labelled a pandemic.
Keeping into consideration the number of cases going up, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority in India (IRDAI) had issued a circular asking the insurance providers to come up with health insurance plans to offer protective coverage for expenses related to the coronavirus disease.
Let us learn more about coronavirus and coronavirus insurance policy to analyze its need in the current times.
Coronavirus Health Insurance Policy
COVID-19 insurance is a customised health insurance policy that offers coverage for expenses related to treatment required due to a positive diagnosis of COVID-19. Apart from these, the existing health insurance plans also now provide coverage for hospitalisation arising due to COVID-19. Pandemic declared coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted the lives of many across the globe. In India, the total number of people affected by the disease stands at 3.46 Crore, out of which 4.7 Lakh have lost their lives to this deadly disease (as of December 2, 2021).
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a group of viruses that attack the immune system of a person, causing diseases from the common cold to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). It is an infectious disease that originated in late December 2019 in Wuhan, China.COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that shows symptoms similar to those of regular flu. These include fever, dry cough, tiredness, and sore throat.
However, the disease affects different people in different ways. It has been fatal for people aged above 60 years and those with pre-medical conditions.
Nearly two years after the first COVID-19 strain was launched in India, a new variant named omicron is on the rise. Discovered in South Africa, the cases related to the omicron variant have been reported in at least 24 countries as of now. The scientists are trying to understand the differences and effects of this strain and world leaders are considering omicron as a variant of concern, but not panic. The presence of the omicron variant can be identified by most of the COVID PCR tests and one can easily get the same detected by the nasal swab test.
India has several vaccines for COVID-19 such as Covaxin, Covishied, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sputnik V, and Zydus Cadila, with which the nation is all set to defeat the virus. It is still unclear how these vaccines would react to the omicron variant, but it is recommended for all to get both the doses of COVID-19 vaccine soon as the scientists are hopeful for them to work well. So, if you have taken the first shot of COVID-19 already, but have not taken the second shot yet, now is the time to get it.
How Does The Coronavirus Spread?
Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that spreads mostly by saliva droplets when a person is infected. It can even be spread by discharge from the nose. Hands must be washed often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to prevent the virus from spreading.Also, you must use a disinfectant to clean commonly used surfaces like tables, doorknobs, handles, drawers, etc., to avoid the spread of germs.
Is Coronavirus Dangerous?
COVID-19 has been declared as a serious illness, more dangerous than flu, by the World Health Organisation. The symptoms of the illness range from mild to severe. When the confirmed cases were examined, it was discovered that about 80% of them were minor, while 15% were severe enough to require hospitalisation. Approximately 5% of the cases were in a critical stage. In addition, a large number of deaths were reported in these cases.However, there is a fear factor that is still there even after many months of the pandemic and with vaccination drives going on across the country.
What is Coronavirus Insurance Policy?
Covid-19 health insurance policy is a customised health insurance aimed at covering hospitalisation, pre-hospitalisation and post-hospitalisation expenses, and other medical expenses arising due to the treatment of COVID-19. In India, almost all health insurance policies now include treatment for coronavirus treatment. After a positive coronavirus test, the insured is covered from the first day. COVID-19 does not fall under the category of pre-existing disease because it is a new disease.
Role of Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Insurance Policy
Coronavirus (COVID-19) insurance can be extremely beneficial in this current pandemic situation, as coronavirus (COVID-19) is not expected to go away soon.This is because a specially designed coronavirus health insurance plan covers you against the hefty expenses associated with the treatment of this highly infectious disease. A COVID-19 health insurance policy covers you for various in-patient hospitalisation expenses, pre-hospitalisation and post-hospitalisation expenses, thereby letting you focus entirely on your quick recovery. So, if you do not want to spend all of your savings on hospital expenses, you should avoid procrastinating and buy enough health insurance for yourself and your family as soon as possible.
However, it is important to note that the COVID-19 health insurance policy does not cover treatment during the isolation time.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health Insurance Plans in India
If you are looking for health insurance with comprehensive coverage, then you can purchase a standard health insurance policy that covers all medical expenses including those related to the treatment of novel coronavirus.The IRDA has launched two short-term health insurance policies that are specifically designed to cover coronavirus treatment expenses.
Types of Coronavirus Health Insurance Policy in India
Below are two types of corona health insurance plans in India.
1. Corona Kavach Policy for COVID 19
Corona Kavach Policy is a regular health insurance policy with a single premium that covers COVID-19 treatment expenses. It is an indemnity-based health insurance policy that covers both people and families at an affordable premium. You can cover self, dependent children, parents, and parents in law under this policy for a period of 3.5 months (105 days), 6.5 months (195 days), and 9.5 months (285 days). Offered by both private and general insurers, the policy offers cover against AYUSH treatment expenses, homecare treatment expenses, pre-hospitalisation expenses, post-hospitalisation expenses, and road ambulance expenses. The greatest feature about the policy is that it has a 15-day waiting period, which means you can start availing of policy benefits soon. You can also pay an extra premium for a daily cash benefit.
2. Corona Rakshak Policy for COVID 19
Corona Rakshak Policy is a standard health insurance policy that is specifically designed to cover treatment expenses involved with COVID-19.Unlike Corona Kavach Policy, it is a benefit based health insurance policy that pays the insured a lump sum benefit equal to 100% of the sum insured if he/she is tested positive for COVID-19. The policy provides coverage for sum insured options ranging from Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 2.5 lakh in multiples of Rs. 50,000 on an individual basis.
People between the ages of 18 and 65 can purchase the policy. The policy is available for short policy terms of 3.5 months, 6.5 months, and 9.5 months, and it expires when the benefit is paid.But the insured can avail of policy benefits only if he/she is tested COVID-19 positive at a government recognised center and gets hospitalised for at least 72 hours continuously. The policy comes with a short waiting period of 15 days but does not offer lifetime renewability benefit, it being a benefits based policy.
Corona Kavach Policy Vs Corona Rakshak Policy
As previously stated, the Corona Kavach Policy protects the insured from healthcare expenses related to hospitalisation and treatment if the policyholder catches COVID-19. The most of hospitalisation expenses are covered by the policy, including treatment costs, medicine, room rent, nursing, etc. But this COVID-19 insurance policy only takes care of the treatment cost and nothing else will be covered.
Corona Rakshak Policy is a benefit-based policy that offers 100% of the sum insured irrespective of medical expenses incurred. The policy is recommended if you are the breadwinner in your house.
Getting Covered Under Corona Medical Insurance alongside a Basic Health Insurance Policy
If you already have a health insurance policy that covers room rent costs in the event of hospitalisation, then you must go for the Corona Rakshak Policy. If you do not have health insurance, you can buy the Corona Kavach Policy, which protects you from room rent and other expenses.
In case you are the sole earner in your family, then buying a Corona Rakshak Policy is recommended. It is advised that you buy covid insurance cover for at least 125% of your monthly salary. But make sure that this amount does not affect your financial position without any financial burden. So, if income replacement is your sole priority, then you must opt for this policy.
You may also purchase Corona Kavach Policy if you already have a health insurance cover. But the claim settlement may differ with different policies laid out. So, it comes down to how much premium you are willing to pay and which policy you chose to buy.
How to Buy Coronavirus Health Insurance from InsuranceDekho?
At InsuranceDekho, you can purchase a coronavirus insurance policy in two ways, i.e. online or offline. Both the processes are simplified enough and do not take much of your time.
To buy corona mediclaim insurance online, you must follow the simple steps given below:
1. Visit the official website of InsuranceDekho. Then click on the ‘Health’ tab.
2. Select your gender and enter your name and mobile number. You will receive an OTP, i.e. a One Time Password on the number given. Kindly enter that.
3. Tell us when you wish to purchase the policy by selecting an option from the drop-down menu. Then click on ‘View Quotes’.
4. Select the family members if you wish to add them too under your COVID-19 insurance policy. Then click on the ‘Continue’ button.
5. Select the age of the chosen family members.
6. Enter your Email ID and City. Then click on the ‘Submit and View Quotes’ button. There will be most suitable corona medical insurance plans displayed on your screen. Click on the one you want to purchase.
7. Select the term for which you want to buy the shortlisted COVID insurance cover.
8. Enter the required details and make the payment online via a secured payment gateway.
If you are unable to buy COVID insurance cover online, then you can opt for the offline process too. For this, you will be required to contact the customer care executives at insuranceDekho on the toll-free number 7551-196-989 and share your requirements. You can contact the executives any day between 9:30 AM to 6:30 PM. They will help you buy the most suitable corona insurance policy for you and your family at affordable premiums.
Key Benefits of Coronavirus Health Insurance
Coronavirus health insurance plans offer a wide array of benefits. Apart from the benefits of coverage, such as hospitalisation, pre-hospitalization, and post-hospitalization charges, one of the advantages of these plans is the convenience of premium.As these are short-term policies, there is no burden on you to keep paying the health insurance premiums for a lifetime.
Along with a Corona Kavach Policy or a Corona Rakshak Policy, it is imperative to have a regular health insurance policy as well for enhanced coverage. Also, kindly note that if there is a claim made during the policy term of any Coronavirus health insurance policy, then the No Claim Bonus of the existing health insurance policy will not have an immediate impact on it.
What is Covered Under Coronavirus Health Insurance Policy?
Coronavirus health insurance policies offer cover against the following medical expenses:
Hospitalisation Expenses: COVID-19-related hospitalisation expenses are covered by COVID-19 health insurance policies if it exceeds more than 24 hours.
Quarantine Cover: COVID-19 specific health insurance policies also cover the insured individuals who are quarantined in government identified authorities.
Additional Coverage: Some coronavirus specific health insurance policies like that offered by Go Digit General Insurance Ltd offer add-on covers that the insured can opt for by paying an extra premium. For instance, expenses related to alternative treatment (AYUSH), maternity benefit with newborn baby cover, and so on.
What is Not Covered Under Coronavirus Health Insurance Policy?
Coronavirus health insurance policy does not offer cover against the following medical expenses:
Home Quarantine: Expenses incurred during the quarantine period spent at home are not covered under COVID-19 specific health insurance policies.
Non-Recognised Quarantine Center: Medical expenses incurred when the insured is kept in quarantine at a non-recognised center for the treatment of COVID-19 are not covered.
Pre-Existing Diseases: Any expenses arising due to treatment of pre-existing illnesses are not covered until the waiting period is completed.
Hospitalisation Without Doctor’s Recommendation: If the insured is hospitalized without the recommendation of a qualified doctor, as specified on the prescription, he or she will not be covered for medical costs.
Is Coronavirus Covered Under My Existing Health Insurance Policy?
Yes. As per the mandate by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority in India (IRDAI), all general and health insurance companies have to offer coronavirus cover under their health insurance plans, irrespective of which policy you own.
How to Make a Claim Under Coronavirus Insurance Plans?
The process for settling claims for coronavirus (COVID-19) health insurance plans is similar to that for regular health insurance policies. There are two types of claims that can be made under coronavirus health insurance policies: cashless claims and reimbursement claims.As talked about before, cashless claims can be availed if the treatment is taken at a network hospital. Whereas, reimbursement treatment facilities can be availed even at a non-network hospital. Read below to understand the process for both in detail:
Cashless Claims: All the insurance companies today offer cashless treatment facilities. The process offers you quality medical treatment without having you pay anything at the hospital. It keeps you at ease even in difficult times. To avail of the benefit, you are just required to avail treatment at a network hospital and inform the insurance company about the same. After verifying the details, the insurance company will pay the hospital immediately for the medical expense. However, before availing of treatment and making a health insurance claim, check to see if your health insurance policy covers coronavirus treatment.
Reimbursement Claims: Reimbursement claims require you to avail of medical treatment for coronavirus (COVID-19) at any non-network hospital. You are then required to settle the bills out of your own pocket at the time of discharge after informing the insurer. When you make a claim later, the insurance company transfers the amount to your bank account. The insurance company, on the other hand, will only settle the claim after verifying medical bills and other documents.
Important Things to Consider When Buying Coronavirus Insurance Cover
Before buying a COVID-19 health insurance policy, there are a few things that you must keep in consideration. Some of these are explained below:
1. Sum Insured: When a person is diagnosed with COVID-19, they may have a severe respiratory infection that affects their whole health.And the treatment for the same may cost a lot especially if someone has an underlying disease. As a result, when purchasing a COVID-19 health insurance policy, you must choose a sufficient sum insured to ensure that you and your family are properly covered in the time of need.
2. Coverage: Most health insurance plans for COVID-19 cover you for in-patient hospitalisation expenses, pre-hospitalisation expenses, post-hospitalisation expenses, road ambulance expenses, OPD expenses, etc. When choosing a COVID-health insurance policy for yourself and your family, look for as many coverage benefits as possible, so that you do not have to go through any trouble at the time of claim.
3. Waiting Period: The waiting period is that period that you have to wait for after buying a health insurance policy, to be eligible to make a claim. Most of COVID-19 health insurance plans have a 30-day initial waiting period, while others have lower waiting periods of 16 or 15 days. So, before you purchase any health insurance policy, make sure to examine the waiting period.
Tips to Follow When Buying COVID-19 Insurance
Experts warn that when buying COVID insurance cover, one should be very careful. Here are a few things tips that you must follow in order to make the best and informed decision when buying corona mediclaim policy:
You must look for an easy and quick claim settlement process. Make sure that the insurance company you choose offers you the same so that you or our family members do not face any difficulty in case of an emergency.
Do not forget to go through the exclusions and limitations under your corona mediclaim policy. It is important to understand the policy details so that you don’t find any hurdle at the time of claim settlement.
Make sure to review the list of network hospitals in India so that you do not have to make a last-minute decision in an emergency.Make sure that the hospital you chose is nearby your place and has the facility to handle emergencies arising due to the novel coronavirus.
Common Mistakes to Avoid When Buying COVID-19 Insurance
As important it is to buy COVID-19 insurance policy during the pandemic times, equally important it is to choose the right one for yourself and your family. Here are the common mistakes that you should avoid to make the right choice:
Choosing insufficient cover: This is the biggest mistake one can make when buying health insurance plans for COVID-19 online. When the time comes, a health insurance plan with insufficient protection may be useless. As a result, you should select a plan that provides sufficient coverage for all the members covered in the policy.
Overlooking the exclusions: We focus more on what an insurance company covers us for and forget to understand the exclusions under it. But knowing the exclusions help you avoid any discrepancy at the time of claim settlement.
Not reconsidering a different health insurance company: Different health insurance companies offer different health insurance plans which come with different coverage benefits.Instead of shortlisting the first insurance company or health insurance plan you come across, study other insurers and similar plans they offer, and compare them to find the most suitable one.
Not sharing medical history: The last thing you would want under your COVID-19 health insurance plan is hassle at the time of claim. To avoid a situation like this, it is recommended that you provide all relevant health information at the time of policy purchase. Otherwise, it may work against you at the time of claim settlement and the policy would be of no use to you.
Common Symptoms of COVID-19
Common symptoms of COVID-19 include the following:
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Breathing problem
- Body ache
- Chills, sometimes with shaking
- Runny nose or congestion
- Loss of taste or smell
In many cases, COVID-19 can lead to pneumonia, heart problems, respiratory illnesses, septic shock, death, liver problems, etc. Cytokine release syndrome or a cytokine storm may be responsible for the complications. This arises when an infection causes your immune system to produce inflammatory proteins known as cytokines into your bloodstream.This can damage your organs and may also require lung transplant.
It is recommended to get medical assistance, in case you or any of your loved ones witness the following symptoms:
- Breathing problem
- Continuous pain in chest
- Bluish lips or face
- Unable to wake up completely
In some cases, stroke has also been reported by people suffering from COVID-19. In this case, you must remember ‘FAST’:
Face: Check if the person’s face is numb or drooping or if their smile is lopsided.
Arms: See if one arm is weak or numb, or if one arm sags if they try to raise both arms.
Speech: Ask them to repeat a sentence to check if they are able to speak properly.
Time: Time is precious for anyone facing these symptoms. So, you should not waste any time and immediately seek medical assistance.
The symptoms of COVID-19 may show up any time in between 2 days or 14 days, which varies from one person to another.
As per researchers in China, here are the most common COVID-19 symptoms seen in people- fever, fatigue, cough, lack of appetite, body ache, shortness of breath, and phlegm. Some people also experienced blood clots in legs, arteries, lungs, etc.
How Can I Protect Myself From Coronavirus?
To protect yourself from Coronavirus, you must take the following precautions:
- Follow social distancing practice by keeping yourself at a distance of at least 6 feet, i.e. 2 meters from people outside your house.
- Avoid visiting marketplaces, malls, or other places with poor ventilation.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water is not available, then you may also use an alcohol-based hand-sanitiser with at least 60% of alcohol intent.
- Wear a face mask whenever in a public place, especially when you cannot maintain sufficient distance from people.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- When you sneeze or cough, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. After that, properly dispose of the tissue and wash your hands.
- Use a disinfectant to clean the surfaces that you touch on a daily basis such as the table, chair, etc.
What to Do if You Think You Are Infected?
If you live or have travelled to an area that has active COVID-19 cases, then you must read the following points carefully:
- If you are not feeling well, stay at home. Even if you have minor symptoms like a headache, fever, or a runny nose, you should not leave until you feel better. This makes it easy for the doctors to focus more on those who are seriously unwell, while also safeguarding healthcare workers and reduces the risk to other people while on your way to the hospital.Call the doctor if you are facing breathing issues and follow his/her advice. You must get medical help without wasting any time.
- Keep yourself updated with COVID-19 news. It will help you understand how you can stop the spread of the virus as well as take care of yourself and your loved ones.