Amid the continuous rise in COVID-19 cases in the country, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has allowed the health and general insurers to offer short-term insurance policies that will give coverage against the coronavirus infection. The insurance regulator has asked insurers to offer the indemnity policy starting July 10. These short term policies will be issued for a minimum term of three months to a maximum term of eleven months.
Such short term policies providing coverages specific to coronavirus disease at a lower premium than conventional health insurance policies is the need of the hour, says Ashutosh Shrotriya, Head- Product & Business Process, Religare Health Insurance.
“Keeping in mind the spread and severity of Covid-19, a short-term product like this is extremely beneficial for those individuals who are currently uninsured as it makes them ‘Atma-nirbhar’ in managing hospitalization expenses for treatment of coronavirus, at a lower premium than conventional Health Insurance policies,” Shrotriya told HealthWire.
These plans will benefit those individuals who are not planning on insuring their health in the near future. According to Shrotriya, such people should look at taking this cover in the short term considering the spread and high cost of treatment for COVID-19. “There is an increased need for financial protection and it is advised for everyone to opt for this and therefore this short-term COVID-19 specific product would be more beneficial for individuals who are currently uninsured,” he said.
But what about those who have already taken a health insurance plan? As COVID-19 is a new disease, it is not excluded and therefore our indemnity based comprehensive Health Insurance plan already offers coverage for hospitalization expenses related to the treatment of COVID-19.
However, the treatment cost of COVID-19 is considerably high and even those who have enough health insurance cover are reportedly paying around ₹50,000-2,50,000 from their pocket.
“Even those who have an existing health insurance policy can benefit from it. Considering the high cost of treatment and the possibility of multiple family members getting affected due to the contagious nature of the ailment, a single Health Insurance cover might not be sufficient in covering the cumulative cost of treatment for every insured member,” Shrotriya said.
However, Shrotriya advises customers to read policy terms and conditions thoroughly before making a purchase.
“It is especially important that one must understand aspects related to cashless hospitalization, hospitals available within the insurer’s network, sub-limits if applicable on room rent or co-payment clauses, etc.,” he said.