Is coronavirus covered under health insurance?
With over 150 confirmed cases and three fatalities in India (as of 18 March 2020), the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has put the spotlight on India’s healthcare infrastructure. The government has now decided to augment capacity by allowing private hospitals to carry out tests.
However, in a country where health insurance penetration is quite low, the cost of hospitalisation can be prohibitive. This is because medical inflation has been growing at double the rate of general inflation. Hand sanitisers, face masks, and social distancing apart, reviewing your health insurance has perhaps never been more important.
Standalone or top-up health insurance plans can help you cover the costs of treatment in case of a positive diagnosis. If you have a family floater plan, you may have the benefit of a higher sum insured. However, if you have a family history of respiratory diseases, a dedicated critical illness cover is a much better option.
Coverage for communicable diseases
COVID-19 is an unknown type of virus that requires intensive testing, treatment, and isolation in a specialised hospital ward. Given the risks, the ideal health insurance plan for COVID-19 patients should include the following:
- Extended hospitalisation cover - Viral diseases such as COVID-19 might require a patient to be kept under medical observation for days, even weeks. With extended hospitalisation cover, you can avoid inflated medical bills in case of an emergency. Alternatively, you can choose a top-up plan to supplement your existing health insurance cover.
- High sum insured - A standard health insurance plan with a sum insured of Rs 3-5 lakh is a good start. Depending on the number of dependents, consider getting a fixed benefit add-on cover to take care of any co-pay or deductible requirements. In case you decide to get yourself tested at a private hospital, a high sum insured can provide complete peace of mind from potentially high treatment expenses.
- Vaccination cover - While there has been no official vaccine released for the COVID-19 virus yet, the chances are that researchers might come up for a method to treat this pandemic. Even if there is no direct vaccine, many researchers have been using vaccines used to treat other diseases on patients with coronavirus, often with success. Having a vaccine cover in your insurance plan means that you could be eligible for any prospective COVID-19 vaccines when they are released to the public.
- Compensation for loss of income - Any illness requiring prolonged hospitalisation is invariably accompanied by loss of income. To ensure that your family’s financial freedom is not compromised, opt for a personal health insurance plan that provides comprehensive coverage at an affordable premium.
- Follow-up tests - Most patients are only declared free of the COVID-19 virus if they have two negative tests in 24 hours. Moreover, reports suggest that the COVID-19 virus could return even after the patient has fully recovered. In this case, follow-up might need to be covered for patients, especially if they are at risk of contracting the virus again.
- Coverage for the entire family - The risk of community spread due to the infected person coming into contact with their immediate family, neighbours, and others should be taken into account. A family floater plan with low sub-limits on pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses can provide an added advantage.
Why do you need insurance?
Having an insurance plan can protect you and your family from any unexpected health emergencies, so make sure you #ThinkAhead and choose the right policy with the right add-ons.
Customers of Tata AIG are covered to the extent of the sum insured provided by their respective policies if they happen to be hospitalised due to coronavirus. With a nationwide network of affiliated hospitals, cashless hospitalisation facility, and a competitive claim settlement ratio, your health - and that of your loved ones - is in good hands with Tata AIG.
Related: What you must know about Coronavirus