When the world is engulfed by the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), buying a health insurance plan for this novel disease is a wise step. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has directed insurance companies to expedite coronavirus related claim settlement in the case of hospitalisation. After this many insurance companies have started providing health insurance plans specifically for COVID-19. These policies cover the proposer as well as his/her family.
If a health insurance policy for coronavirus is on your mind, then you must consider a few things. Don’t just choose a plan with a basket of benefits and low premiums, as such plans may not offer adequate cover. Instead, select a policy that has all features when you will need them and can give you the widest coverage. A good coronavirus insurance policy is one wherein the insurer is ready to compensate you for 100% of your total hospital bills.
Here’s a checklist you need to tick before choosing a health insurance policy to combat the novel coronavirus disease.
1. Easy and Fast Claim Process:
When selecting a health insurance plan, it is important to know about the claim process of the insurance company. Make sure the claim process is simple and quick. If it is not, it can come as a major stumbling block for you and your family members to reach a settlement in the case of an emergency.
Remember, fast claim settlement time means the insurance provider is doing a good job with genuine claims. So, exercise the due diligence and select an insurance company which is known for its easy and fast claim settlement service.
Don’t sign a Mediclaim policy blindly. Instead, read the policy wording thoroughly. The insurance cover that you have selected may come with the co-payment clause. That means you’ll have to pay a pre-defined percentage of the claim amount from your own pocket and the rest will be settled by the insurance provider. While an insurance policy with the co-payment clause is available at a low premium, such policy may not offer you complete coverage.
So, make sure the coronavirus health insurance policy you are buying has no co-payment clause so that you can avail 100 per cent claim on hospitalisation due to COVID-19 positive cases.
3. Cashless Hospitals:
Cashless treatment can be availed only in network hospitals. So, check the list of the cashless network for your convenience and better treatment. Make sure if the cashless hospital in your vicinity is capable of handling any emergency due to coronavirus.
Also, check if the insurer has cashless tie-ups with a reputed cashless hospital in the city you often travel as your health insurance should travel with you. The information about the cashless facility is available on the insurer’s website.
4. Waiting Period
Insurance policies designed for COVID-19 come with a waiting period. And the waiting period differs from insurer to insurer. It means the policy will start covering the novel disease when the waiting period is over. The initial waiting period is applicable from the date of commencement of the policy.
5. Value-added Service
When searching for health insurance for COVID-19 cover, look out for value-added services. Every insurance provider has their own unique selling proposition. You can avail the benefits like additional features and services, such as extra sum insured available for critical illness and accidental hospitalizations at a zero cost, maternity benefit with newborn baby cover, AYUSH treatment cover, ambulance assistance and health assistance and virtual assistance through chat, and teleconsultation as
part of the offering.
So, before purchasing any plan, get to know about value-added services.
6. Other Terms You Must Know
Next thing is to go through the fine print and understand the policy limitations and exclusions. Like basic health insurance, most plans covering the novel coronavirus are not liable to make any payment in the following cases:
• If there is no need for in-patient hospitalization irrespective of whether you have been quarantined or not
• You are suffering from any sickness/illness or disease other than Novel Coronavirus (nCoV)
• Any claim for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) contracted before the commencement date of the policy or during the waiting period
• You have a travel history to any foreign countries after December 31, 2019
• The claim is filed for the insured beyond the geographical boundaries of India
• The medical report of Novel Coronavirus (nCoV) (COVID-19) is negative
• If the medical report of the coronavirus is not issued by a Government Authorised Centre
7. Track Record of Insurer
Last but not least, checking the insurer’s track record before purchasing health insurance is also an important task to do. Remember, an insurance company with a lower claims settlement ratio may spell trouble. If possible, consider solvency margins, i.e. the insurance provider’s ability to pay out claims and premium growth registered by insurers. Besides, how old the insurance company is in business is also a major factor worth considering.
It’s important to note that IRDAI or its officials don’t promote any sale of any kind of insurance or financial products. IRDAI has not declared in any statement any kind of bonus for coronavirus health insurance. If you are receiving any such phone calls, it is advisable to lodge a police complaint.