Should You Make Your Health Insurance Policy Omicron Ready?
Once again, the deadly COVID-19 virus rears its ugly head and has hit every nook and corner of the world. The new Omicron variant is more infectious and highly transmissible than the delta variant (5-6 times more). Over the past few days, the cases are soaring and thus, researchers are trying to find out how dangerous and transmissible the new variant is. At present, India has reported 3623 Omicron cases, out of which 1409 patients have already recovered. Omicron’s transmissibility is so high that it is affecting vaccinated and previously infected people. Health insurance is a necessity in this situation that will help you to deal with any medical contingency.
If you already purchased health insurance plans, you should cross-verify them to understand whether they are adequate or not. Not only Omicron but also other critical diseases are increasing, thus you always need the best health insurance in India. So, this is an ideal time to re-evaluate your health insurance policy. After the COVID-19 outbreak, all health insurance providers have started to offer COVID-19 insurance plans that will cover all hospitalization expenses due to the COVID-19. But before purchasing health insurance for COVID-19, it is recommended to check whether your present health insurance will be sufficient to protect you or not.
Go for Health Insurance Cover for Omicron
In the present scenario, you might think of protecting yourself and your family members against COVID-19 and its variants. But the COVID-19 makes you susceptible to other ailments like hypertension, diabetes, obesity and heart ailments, and so on.
An individual develops these diseases in the later stage of life. But if you have been infected with the COVID-19, you will become more vulnerable to these diseases even if you are cured of COVID. The recent study of the National Family Health Survey revealed that Indians have now become more obese, hypertensive, and at a higher risk of developing diabetes as compared to 2015-16.
Moreover, you also need to safeguard yourself from other infections like black fungus. Many people, who recovered from the COVID-19 infection in the second wave got infected with black fungus. Omicron is a newer variant and scientists are trying to find out more details about this new strain. But you should stay protected against the COVID-19 and its underlying health complications by considering health insurance plans for omicron. Though IRDAI has instructed the insurance companies to provide coverage for omicron, you must check COVID insurance coverage on your existing health plan.
Select a higher sum insured that will comfortably bear the costs of hospitalization
A health insurance policy is inevitable these days as it gives you protection against most diseases. Simultaneously, you also need to consider medical inflation every year. The second wave still reminds the need for a health insurance policy so that everyone can stay prepared in advance. Many people who were infected during the peak of the second wave have bought health insurance with a sum insured as high as Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore. If your sum insured amount is inadequate, then you need to pay the remaining amount from your pocket. In metro cities, these expenses may drain out all your hard-earned savings, so you need proper health insurance for omicron treatment to be ready to face the third wave in the form of omicron.
If you are on the verge of policy renewal, then you can choose a higher sum insured to cope up with the current situation. But if there is a time for the renewal, then you can purchase a super top-up plan for your policy. For example, if your current health policy offers you a sum insured of Rs 10 lakh, then you can get a super top-up of Rs 90 lakh, and thus, your total coverage will be Rs 1 crore. These days, many insurance companies are offering Rs. 1 Crore sum insured policies to customers at a premium of Rs. 1200 per month. The higher sum insured health insurance plans will help you to deal with the exorbitant medical costs and will also offer a prompt Omicron cover.
Include Domiciliary Treatment Expenses
Domiciliary treatment implies when patients receive treatments at home instead of hospitals. There could be two reasons for this. Either the beds are not available in the hospitals or the patient’s co-morbid condition doesn’t allow him/her to shift to the hospital. During the second wave, the hospitals were flooded with patients and many patients were treated at home due to the unavailability of beds. The government has also offered guidelines for home isolation and the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Now, coronavirus has again returned with this variant, so you must incorporate domiciliary treatment coverage into your health insurance plan.
Other additional expenses that you need to take care of are doctors’ consultations, check-ups, tests, OPD charges, ambulance costs, etc. Ensure that all these expenses are covered by your health insurance plan.
Add suitable riders
Riders are add-on benefits that you may attach to your policy by paying extra premiums and they can turn into the best health plans for omicron. Some of these popular riders played an imperative role during the time of the COVID-19. Consumables comprise 20% of COVID-19 hospitalization bills, but many health insurance plans don’t cover them by default. Consumable items are syringes, PPE kits, masks, gloves, etc. If you add riders like Care Shield or Niva Bupa, you will get coverage for all these consumable items at a very nominal cost. Similarly, you can purchase riders like hospital cash benefits or inflation protection riders once you are diagnosed with a critical disease. Before making any commitment, check the available riders with your insurance company.
Co-payments and Sub-Limits
In health insurance, co-payment means you as a policyholder need to pay a certain portion of medical expenses from your pocket and the rest will be paid by the insurer. The medical expenses that you are paying might go up to lakhs. Thus, before buying a policy, you should check whether your health insurance plan offers a minimal or no co-payment clause. On the other hand, sub-limits are the predefined limit on the claim amount for a particular treatment. In most cases, the sub-limit is usually a percentage of the sum insured. During this pandemic, always choose a policy that comes with no sub-limit.
The advent of the Omicron variant is a wake-up call for all. This is high time to review your health insurance policy and make it ready so that you can deal with Omicron and other variants comfortably. If you have not purchased any such policy, waste no more time and compare different health insurance policies for omicron and pick the one that suits you most.