Despite having a health insurance cover, many Covid patients ended up paying from their own pocket the cost of treatment received at home due to unavailability of beds in hospitals.
During the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic, dearth of hospital beds forced many critically-ill patients to stay back at home and seek treatment at home itself. To help such patients, some hospitals even declared Covid home care package, where patients were provided doctors’ consultation, medicines and occasional care at home for a fixed rate.
However, very few health insurance plans pay the cost of treatment at home under domiciliary treatment cover.
So, despite having a health insurance cover, many Covid patients ended up paying from their own pocket the cost of treatment received at home due to unavailability of beds in hospitals.
To help such patients, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued a statement allowing home treatment as an add-on cover.
But how beneficial will be the add-on cover be in comparison to the addition in premium?
“The IRDAI’s decision will now allow customers to add a Domiciliary cover to their base health policy as an add-on. It will allow customers to select a domiciliary cover without disturbing their base policy or having to wait for the next renewal. This a great initiative which will give flexibility to the insured,” said Shankar Bali, Joint MD, Vidal Health.
Although the data about the amount of additional premium for the add-on cover is not available yet, the add-on covers are generally cheaper than stand-alone policies.
However, there are doubts about the utility of such an add-on cover once the Covid-19 pandemic is over.
Talking on the issue, Bali said, “It’s true that the need for much wider reach of domiciliary cover was highlighted by Covid-19. It will benefit different customer segments and also hospitals in extending post-op care at home rather than in hospitals. I think this will have a long-term positive effect on the products.”
As some health insurance plans already have in-built domiciliary treatment cover, what will be the impact of the decisions on such plans?
“The IRDAI decision should not impact the policies with built-in domiciliary treatment cover. This proposal is to introduce add-on covers to the other existing policies,” said Bali.