After causing worldwide health havocs, the second wave of Covid-19 has graduated towards the onset of a threatening third wave. With newfound variants on the rise, and cases increasing each day, a severe third wave seems inevitable. Furthered by a new, more virulent and unpredictable fungal infection, the pandemic days are far from over. This development has led consumers to a big realization recently; the need for comprehensive health insurance coverage for financial safeguarding.
In the past, only inflated bills from health emergencies could trigger consumers towards getting health insurance. But the fear of Covid-19 has significantly increased the uptake of health insurance. There has been a rising trend among people getting high sum insured policies (Rs 25 lacs- 1 crore) that provide adequate cover for themselves and their loved ones. If you are also planning to buy health insurance during these Covid times, here are a few things to keep in mind:
Several insurance plans come with a waiting period for coverage of Covid-19 treatment. It means that the policyholder has to wait for a certain period before receiving cover for Covid-19 treatment. Most insurers cover Covid-19 treatment after 30-45 days from the date of policy issuance. So be sure to check the waiting period for the disease while buying a health cover. Also, consider covers with a lesser waiting period.
The increase in Covid-19 cases has caused an acute shortage of beds in hospitals. Consequently, a lot of insurers have started to provide domiciliary hospitalization cover for Covid-19. It implies that the insurer will provide coverage if beds aren’t available in hospitals and the doctor prescribes hospitalization at home or a makeshift hospital. Furthermore, the policy must cover all kinds of hospital home-care package costs, medications, nurse/doctor fees, tests to measure vitals, X-rays, CT scans, home ICU, etc.
Consumables such as PPE kits, gloves etc., amount to a substantial part of expenses for Covid-19 treatment. The cost of consumables has also increased because every hospital staff has to wear them. Earlier, consumables used to take up around 3%-5% of the hospital bills. However, since the outbreak of the pandemic, figures have jumped up to a massive 25%-30%. Hence go for a plan which covers consumables.
It is vital to check the restrictions in the policy. There could be a room rent limit which is the maximum amount covered by an insurer for the room in the policy. It means customers will have to bear some part of the medical bill. Typically, room rent capping falls between the range of 1-2% of the sum insured. Choose a health insurance plan that does not have a room rent limit, and provides coverage for a minimum single private air-conditioned room, and ensures treatment in privacy. Let us suppose you have a health worth Rs 5 lacs and the room rent limit is 1%. In this case, your insurer will only cover Rs 5000 as part of your room rent expenses. While, in most good hospitals, room rent typically starts from Rs 10,000. Hence, be cautious about this feature while getting health insurance, especially amidst Covid-19.
Insurance companies nowadays have put a cooling-off period which means that if a person has had Covid in the past, they need to wait for a few months. This cool-off period varies between 1- 6 months, depending upon the insurer. Hence, it is an essential point to consider while buying health insurance. We advise all those who haven’t had Covid so far to buy a health insurance plan immediately, as you would not want to wait to get health insurance post-recovery.
With the pandemic progressing to a new phase of more complicated Covid-19 sub-types, being cautious and vigilant is a given. Making a well-researched decision and basing your research solely on your priorities is among the first steps. So don’t forget to be mindful of the above points while considering your health insurance policy.
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