COVID-19 Pandemic Has Spurred Health Insurance In India, Highlighted Its Importance

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has transformed many sectors in India, and none has been as massively impacted as health insurance sector, per health insurance experts. The experts believed the disruption, in a way, has allowed the insurers to more flexible in terms of rolling out special health packages, for instance, home-based COVID-19 care. They were taking part at a special spotlight session by the name ‘Evolving COVID-19 Treatment and Insurer’s Viewpoint’ hosted by the Integrated Health and Wellbeing Council in association with Prudent Insurance Brokers.

Talking about the evolving treatment that emerged during the various stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Srinagar Samavedam, Head of Critical Care & Medical Director, Virinchi Hospitals, Hyderabad, said, “In various stages of this pandemic caused by different variants, many medications were used out of the blue and they caused more harm than any good. So, in a way, that was very problematic”

“Several repurposed drugs have been used for COVID-19 treatment, such as antivirals (remdesivir, lopinavir), immunomodulatory drugs (corticosteroids, tocilizumab, anakinra) or hydroxychloroquine, with poor results for most of them as of today,” Dr Srinagad added.

Pointing out the evolving treatment policies from the insurers’ point of view, Mr Sanjay Datta, Underwriting, Reinsurance, Claims & Actuarial, ICICI Lombard, said, “What we did was, we maintained a regular interaction with the hospitals to ensure the services remain hassle free and every important areas are covered, given the claims in a unprecedented manner.”

“No bar was put from the insurers’ behalf in COVID-19 treatment for any patients,” pointed out Mrs Sushma Anupam, Deputy General Manager, The New India Assurance Co Ltd. Mrs Anupam said that given the enormity of the disease, future special packages are being planned for the benefits of customers.

Reflecting on the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health insurance sector, Mr Pavanjit Singh Dhingra, Joint Managing Director, Prudent Insurance Brokers, said, “The health insurance sector has incurred massive losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But, despite everything, from the large claims from the patients to other constraints, tens of thousands of patients were massively benefited, thanks to proactiveness of the insurance providers. However, given both the long and short term impact, a more holistic view is required on how future policies should benefit patients against more such deadly diseases.”

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