With the number of COVID-19 cases reaching close to 10 lakh, the common man is a worried lot as there are limited public healthcare infrastructure and resources in India. The surplus cases mean more and more people will have to go to private hospitals, which is beyond the affordability of a common man.
As per reports, more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and do not require hospital care. In such a situation, home healthcare is helping address a substantial portion of the present healthcare requirement.
As COVID-19 has expanded the market for home healthcare providers, the number of patients seeking home healthcare services will increase accordingly. Also, in the wake of the pandemic, there has been greater concern and awareness about health, and enquiries about health insurance policies have increased by 30–40 per cent.
The pandemic also provides an opportunity for insurance companies to innovate and serve the evolving needs of a more informed population. Several insurance companies have come forward and added home healthcare segments in their healthcare policies. Recently, ICICI Lombard General Insurance has added benefits related to the treatment of coronavirus to its existing health insurance indemnity policies. Apart from leading hospitals, ICICI Lombard has tied – up with top home care service provider — Healthcare at Home (HCAH).
“Our recent tie-up with ICICI Lombard, GIC has offered additional benefits to the insured patients, at no extra cost. This would enable the policyholders to derive maximum benefit from their health insurance cover. As part of this offering, insured patients can get themselves treated at home instead of having to avail hospitalization to avail of the insurance claim. This will significantly benefit those patients who wish to avail treatment for any ailment in the safe environment of their home, rather than a hospital, thereby ensuring social distancing and reducing COVID-19 infections. This will also go a long way in benefiting the patients who will tend towards home healthcare and also help in increasing the number of health insurance seekers. Also, amid COVID-19, and after, the Indian home healthcare users are expected to grow significantly”, said Vivek Srivastava, Co-Founder & CEO, HealthCare at HOME (HCAH).
“The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, coughing, and breathing problems. Unless you have severe symptoms, you can most likely treat them at home, the way you would for a cold or the flu. Most people recover from COVID-19 without the need for hospital care”, Srivastava added.
As the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing exponentially, there may be a shortage of beds if all patients are admitted. Majority of patients with mild symptoms don’t require hospitalization as the recovery period of such patients is about 14 to 17 days if proper home isolation guidelines are followed. With mild symptoms, there is no need to immediately rush to a hospital. Such patients can self-isolate in the comfort of their home. Also, people with underlying medical conditions, perhaps now less inclined to go to the hospital, may choose home care too, and even those who are hospitalized with the virus will need home care post-discharge. In fact, home healthcare has started showing good results in COVID-19 scenario”, said Dr Gaurav Thukral, COO, HealthCare atHOME (HCAH).
“The IRDAI mandates that all general and health insurers shall offer the COVID-19 Standard Health Policy is indeed a welcome step. As per this mandate, the insurer shall also cover the costs of treatment of the insured who is going under Home Care Treatment for COVID-19 with certain conditions. The decision taken by the IRDAI in the current scenario will equip the people to take healthcare insurance policies without any hesitation”, said, Ms. Shobha Mishra Ghosh, Assistant Secretary General, FICCI.