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Health Insurance and COVID-19

Times may seem bleak, but this too shall pass, and when it does, we will need to get ready for a normal life. Part of this normalcy will be finances and it is crucial to make sure that savings have not been eroded by medical expenses.

With a surge in COVID-19 cases in India, people are worried about their health insurance policy covering them adequately, while others have quickly purchased health cover. While choosing a product that provides health insurance coverage, including cover for coronavirus treatment, it is important to bear in mind the benefits covered, coverage, co-pay and room rent limits and consumable cover.

Availing a coronavirus health insurance policy can prove to be a timely solution for individuals who do not have an existing cover and would like to have protection against the disease. While a coronavirus health insurance policy may be a good option for the time being, it might leave you without a cover for other ailments and treatments. Hence, a regular health insurance plan should be considered. This will ensure adequate cover for various diseases, including COVID-19.

Here are some things to keep in mind while buying a health plan.

Claim settlement record

Information on how insurance providers respond and treat clients is available across various mediums. Make it a point to choose a health insurance company that has a high claim settlement ratio and smooth claim process. While the claim settlement track record can be judged based on the information released by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority every year, the process can be judged by customer reviews.

Renewal age

Health-related complications may increase with age. Therefore, opting for a health policy that has maximum age renewal would be a wise choice. There are also policies that provide lifelong renewal options. Such policies can be ideal given rising healthcare costs and life expectancy.

Network hospitals

Make sure the health insurance provider has a wide network of hospitals on its roster. Network hospitals are a group of hospitals with the insurer where cashless treatment can be availed. Therefore, it is advisable to opt for an insurance provider that has a wide network of hospitals.

Pre-existing diseases and waiting period

All health insurance policies come with a pre-defined waiting period for pre-existing diseases. A policy that covers pre-existing diseases and offers the shortest waiting period should be considered.

Coverage

Under a regular health insurance plan, the coverage for coronavirus is similar to that of any other ailment. To avail of treatment, hospitalization is required for at least 24 hours. During the stay, all treatment expenses are taken care of. Apart from this, pre and post-hospitalization expenses are also covered which includes tests for COVID-19, regular blood tests, X-ray and ambulance expenses. Pre and post-hospitalization expenses are covered before and after 30 days of hospitalization.

Room rent cap

This determines the room rent expenses that the insurance provider will bear in case of hospitalization. The amount charged by hospitals for stay makes up a significant chunk of the hospital bill. It is advisable to choose an insurance policy that covers the entire room rent.

Cost of treating COVID-19

The total cost of treatment of COVID-19 depends on factors such as choice of hospital, severity of infection and the patient’s age. For an average adult between 30-45 years getting treatment at a private hospital costs around Rs 5-6 lakh. However, for those above 50 and senior citizens the expenses are more.

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