Covid-specific health insurance: Should you opt for it if you already have a medical policy?

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August 4, 2020 10:54 AM

If a person has already got a regular health policy, do they also require Covid-specific health insurance plans?

Covid specific health insurance, Covid specific insurance, Covid Rakshak, Covid Kavach, should you opt for it, mediclaim policy, IRDAIMost of the existing health policies allow claims against hospitalisation costs against Covid-19, subject to the terms and conditions around exclusions, waiting periods, and pre-existing conditions.

Tackling uncertainties could be challenging, especially when unpredictable situations like the Covid-19 crisis can potentially destroy our health and wealth. That’s why, in an unprecedented crisis like the one we currently find ourselves in, it’s critical to review our insurance needs. Now, most health insurance companies have already launched Covid Kavach and Covid Rakshak policies that allow financial protection if the insured gets infected from the feared virus. But if a person has already got a regular health policy, do they also require Covid-specific medical plans? And if a person doesn’t have any health insurance policy, which product should he or she opt for?

Let’s find out these answers amid a continued spike in the number of Covid-19 cases around us.

Does your existing health policy adequately cover Covid-19?

Most of the existing health policies allow claims against hospitalisation costs against Covid-19, subject to the terms and conditions around exclusions, waiting periods, and pre-existing conditions. Health insurance products usually allow a claim if the insured person is hospitalised for more than 24 hours. If there is no hospitalisation, claims may not be allowed. What policyholders need to check is how much of their Covid-related expenses their policies will cover. A few health insurance companies allow claims to the extent of actual expenses (subject to a specified upper limit) incurred by the insured person diagnosed with Covid-19 and getting a domiciliary treatment. Normally, policies cover hospitalisation as well as the costs of testing and consultation. However, non-medical expenses are typically not covered. In the case of Covid treatments, the costs of consumables such as PPEs can be substantial.

Suppose you have a health policy of Rs 10 lakh and your hospitalisation bill is Rs 5 lakh, including Rs 3 lakh for medical and Rs 2 lakh related to non-medical items. There are chances that the insurance company will pass the claim for Rs 3 lakh while you’ll have to pay the remaining costs out of pocket.

Realising the pain of the Covid-19 patients, the IRDAI has mandated health insurance companies to bring in Covid-specific insurance policies with better coverage benefits.

Covid-specific insurance policies: Should you get them?

Covid-specific insurance products come with several benefits which a standard health policy might miss out on. There are two types of Covid insurance policies available in the market. First is the Covid Rakshak policy which gives a lump sum to the insured if he is diagnosed as Covid positive and hospitalised for at least 72 hours in a hospital that conforms to the norms prescribed in the policy document. The second type of policy is called Covid Kavach. Like a standard health policy, Covid Kavach takes care of your Covid hospitalisation bill to the extent of the assured amount.

Both insurance products are affordable and have tenures up to 9.5 months. If you already have a standard health policy, a Covid Rakshak plan can protect you from the payment of consumable and non-medical items that are not covered in your existing policy. If you don’t have a standard health policy, a Covid Kavach can protect you from payment of hospitalisation bills while costing you a very low premium rate.

The Covid Kavach plan also allows a claim for treatment in temporary hospital facilities dedicated to Covid treatment and home quarantine, subject to the fulfilment of conditions as stipulated in the policy document. You may take one or both the Covid insurance products as per your requirement.

In conclusion, you must check your current health insurance plan in these times of heightened risks and make an informed decision on whether you should go for an additional Covid-specific plan or not after careful comparison of your options. If you don’t have any medical insurance plan, you must prioritise getting one for yourself and your dependent family members. Lastly, if you’re solely reliant on your office-provided group insurance plan, you might want to go for a separate health insurance plan as the former would be of no use if you lose your job in the current crisis.

(The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.com)

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