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Buy a Health Insurance Policy during the Covid-19 Pandemic Online

As COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the world and a vaccine seems to be a distant dream, there are even more reasons to start taking your health more seriously. Our daily health lives revolve around uncertainties of catching a disease or getting injured and indisposed. In case this happens, one’s savings are only a limited pool of money and its value will depreciate as inflation rises. Thus, the smartest people invest in a trustworthy health insurance policy that acts as a safety net during bad times. 

Not having the anxieties related to these daily risks can result in better performance as well! But every time one wants to buy a health cover, it is commonly confused with multiple options, intimidated by financial talks, or it might only feel uncomfortable to talk about the worst-case scenarios that you and your family are up against. Some people tell their stories of getting no claims when they needed them acting as a resistance to the thought process. 

How helpful is health insurance, anyway? Is the current pandemic an excellent time to buy one? 

Why Coronavirus Has Made Health Insurance a Must

  1. Costs of treatment 

They say the scariest of all is the fear of unknown. None of us really saw Coronavirus coming and changing our lives so dramatically. Most of us even underestimated its potential impact. Similarly, we can never estimate what costs of treatment of Coronavirus can range from, but experience leads us that it can go anywhere from INR 3 to 5 lakhs or more. These costs are high enough to make even the high-income groups seriously worry. Thus, health insurance would act as a cushion for a safe landing in case of a bad experience. 

  1. Probability of Contracting

Chances of contracting the virus are continually increasing worldwide. With a reach of more than 30 million cases worldwide, COVID-19 has been spreading its wings across the entire globe. In the beliefs of Prasun Sikdar, MD and CEO, ManipalCigna Health Insurance, while earlier incurring a disease was a distant possibility, now it has become a distinct possibility. People can now see the rainy day that insurance agents talked to them about earlier. Therefore, it is making more sense than ever before to get health insurance for you and your loved ones. 

  1. Value for Money in inflationary times

Remember how INR 10 could get you a lot as a child, but now, 25 years down the lane, it is hardly sufficient to buy your kids a bar of chocolate? This is inflation or colloquially put, ‘mehengai’. Costs of everything, ranging from education to living expenses, food expenses, and health expenses, are rising. This means that if you save INR 100 now for a rainy day, it might not amount to a lot when you might need it. Thus, you have to make sure that your saved money does not lose value. An easy way of ensuring this is by investing in a health insurance policy which you can renew from time to time. 

  1. Tax benefits

Coronavirus has reduced incomes worldwide, so, tax benefits from getting a health insurance policy would prove to be a life-saver. With a massive hit on most people’s income, people are clinging on harder to each penny they have. Health insurance will help you even in this mission of yours! You can avail tax deductions under the Income Tax Act for the premiums paid on a health insurance policy or the medical bills of your parents under section 80D. 

Your safe and stable job is not ensured anymore as Indian businesses fire employees more often and more frequently. Therefore, relying on a steady stream of income for possible health expenses is not safe anymore: According to some estimates, over 4 million young Indians have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. As corporate profits dip, companies are finding it difficult even to afford to employ their essential staff, let alone the additional. Due to this, there’s an uncertain environment increasing the risk of losing one’s job is on the rise. Thus, relying on one’s income for any possible health could turn out to be a risky scenario. 

  1. Mental tensions and stress

Increased stress due to rising unpredictability can take a toll on one’s health. With increasing unpredictability of our jobs, our health and our loved one’s health, stress is growing. This stress can take a hugely negative toll on our health. According to experts from WebMD, increased stress manifest via physical symptoms like headaches, upset stomach, chest pain, high blood pressure, increased probability of heart attacks, as well as mental symptoms like depression, anxiety, panic attacks and sleep disorders. This is all the more reason to grab this opportunity of taking up a health policy that would save you from these perils. Stress is not avoidable, but the harm from it can be! 

Buying a health policy for COVID-19 – Here’s what to look for

Parag Ved from Economic Times has come up with the 4Cs that one must consider while buying health insurance. These 4Cs are- Coverage, Co-pay, Benefits covered and consumable cover. The Benefits Covered should include diagnostic testing and OPD costs, which include costs of testing as COVID tests can range from INR 2,000 to INR 5,000. 

Similarly, one should always look out for waiting periods for pre-existing or current illnesses. If this is too long, you might be at a loss because COVID-19 symptoms are known to occur in 14 days and sometimes not at all in asymptomatic cases. Thus, the usual one-year-long waiting period might prove to be actually futile for regular COVID patients. There is also a dire need for you to consider the co-pay percentage of your policy wherein insurance companies expect you to cover a small portion of the claim insured out of your pocket. These co-pay percentages range from 5 to 20 per cent and can vary from policy to policy and can prove to be a lot if the hospital bill is hefty. 

Coverage also matters a lot since the usual claim size can be up to INR 5 lakhs rupees. Therefore, you must make sure that in such a case where two of your family members are victims of the disease, you must have sufficient cover from the policy to sustain yourself. Most policies do not cover consumables like gloves, PPE kits and these costs can really add up once you get infected with COVID. Most insurance policies do not cover these costs, but some do. 

It is all about finding the policy that works the best for you. Apart from all these, you must also keep an eye on the Insurance Claim Ratio (ICR) and Claim Settlement Ratio (CSR) which show you how effective the policy you’re looking at will actually be.

Fight the virus with health insurance

As the risks rise, so should your fighting techniques! You have nothing to be afraid of, as long as you follow the government’s health and safety guidelines and protocols and have health insurance to fight the virus. Paying a premium might sound hard and expensive, but paying hospital bills is harder! Paying for premiums for a health insurance policy to protect your loved ones might prove out to be the most critical decision you can make at this stage of the pandemic! 

FAQs: Health Insurance for COVID 19

What are the types of insurance policies for COVID-19?

There are two broad types of policies for treatment of COVID-19.
One is the Corona Kavach Policy which covers the costs of anything that ranges from doctors’ fee to PPE kits and gloves to room rents. The sum insured can range from INR 5,000 to INR 5,00,000, depending on the policy you choose.
The other type is the Corona Rakshak Policy which covers the costs of hospitalization due to COVID for more than 72 hours. The sum insured is much more and can range from INR 2,50,000 to 5,00,000. As long as you test negative for the virus before getting a policy and you check the waiting period, your policy should cover the cost of hospitalization due to COVID.

What are the best insurance policies during COVID-19?

Max Bupa Corona Kavach Health Insurance
This policy also covers domiciliary or in-home treatment, which is a huge relief, given the current state of hospitals and shortage of hospital beds in most of the major towns and cities. It has a low premium starting from INR 1039, making it affordable for most Indian families for an amount up to INR 5 lakhs. This can cover up to 2 individuals and 4 children. What’s more is that there is no room rent capping either pre or post nor on in-hospitalization expenses. Furthermore, you can also claim insurance for Ayurvedic and homeopathic treatments.
According to internal Max Bupa Claims data, the company had paid 7.8 crores in a matter of one month between 1st April 2020 and 1st July 2020. You can buy this policy easily online or just by placing a call on their helpline.

Star Health and Allied Health’s Corona Kavach Policy
This policy provides a cover for costs of treatment for hospitalization due to COVID-19. What’s even more generous is the fact that the policy does not require a pre-screening to be done to detect any pre-existing ailments. The policy can be extended from 3.5 to 9.5 months, but lacks an annual policy. It also covers in-home-treatment of COVID for a period of 14 days, as suggested by the government. Star also ensured a direct, in-house, hassle-free settlement, which is all that one can ask for! This policy also includes your children in the age group of 1 day to 18 years and adults from 18 years of age to 65.
Reliance General’s Corona Rakshak Policy
The sum Insured in this policy can range from INR 50,000 at the lower end to INR 2,50,000 on the upper end. You can choose between a 3.5 months policy period or 6.5 or 9.5 one. The waiting period of this policy makes it attractive, having a waiting period of only 15 days! 100 percent of sum insured can be claimed if you test positive for Coronavirus and if you require continuous hospitalization beyond a period of 72 hours.

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