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COVID-19 has made buying health insurance more important than ever

The last six months have been completely transformational! From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in China and its spread to India; our country has become the second-most affected country globally after the US. There have been remarkable turns along the way.

Coronavirus has not only affected people’s physical well-being but also their mental and financial health. It has impacted all sectors, including insurance. The rising health risk and need for financial support in these times has substantially enhanced the need for insurance.

But why do you need to buy a health insurance policy? How does a health cover benefit you in times of COVID-19? How to buy the best health cover for these times?

Read on to understand in detail.

Why do you need a health insurance policy?

  • Health insurance provides you with financial protection during emergencies such as COVID-19, and also substantially covers your medical expenses.
  • It covers pre-and post-hospitalisation expenses, cost of medicines, etc. This relieves you of the financial burden during difficult times.
  • The health policy provides monetary cover against critical illnesses. This has become important, given the rising risk factors.
  • Health insurance plans offer free medical check-ups. This helps to diagnose a disease in the early stages and take preventive measures to improve health.
  • Most health plans have a wide hospital network coverage. This permits cashless treatment, relieving you of cumbersome reimbursement processes.
  • Under the Income Tax Act, 1961, health insurance premiums are exempt from tax under Section 80D. The upper deduction limit is Rs 25,000, which is extendible to Rs. 50,000 for senior citizens.
  • A good health insurance policy also protects your family. This includes spouse, dependent parents and children.
  • The total exemption under Section 80D for self and dependent parents can go as high as Rs.1 lakh if both you and your parents are senior citizens.

These are general benefits that accrue to you at all times. These become even more critical in times of COVID-19.

How does a health cover benefit you during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Health insurance in COVID-19 times is as important as washing your hands. To be financially safe from the repercussions of the deadly virus, buy a holistic plan at the earliest.

Here are some of the major benefits of a health insurance policy in these times:

  • Financial support

With health insurance, you can secure yourself from the financial impact of the pandemic. Presently, India is the second-most coronavirus impacted country. As of mid-September 2020, the count is more than 5.12 million cases1. With several of these critically ill, the numbers are startling. In such testing times, a health insurance policy can help you cover the high costs of treatment and enable you to pass this trying phase with ease.

  • Substitute for income

The COVID-19 crisis has affected the income of 63% Indians2. Many have also fallen critically ill due to the virus, leading to substantial loss of earnings. With a health cover and added riders like critical illness cover, disability insurance, etc. you can replace your lost income. It can also protect your family from this financially catastrophic illness.

  • Safe tax-saving investments

Coronavirus has led to a sharp decline in markets. Stocks have plummeted and investors have lost money. In such times, health insurance cover offers advantages. You get the basic financial cover, while also a tax exemption under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961.

  • Better and faster treatment

If you have a health policy, you can get a better and faster COVID-19 treatment. Healthcare policies include a network of hospitals where you can get cashless treatment. You can avail the facility and get yourself treated with minimum hassles. This will also reduce your financial burden in these tough times.

Points to consider while buying a health insurance cover in the pandemic

When buying a health cover during COVID-19 times, be sure to check for these points:

  • Benefits offered

In most cases, COVID-19 patients do not require in-patient treatment. But diagnostic tests, outpatient-based treatment, etc. might be required. So, opt for a health policy that provides exhaustive benefits including pre-and post-hospitalisation expenses, critical illness, etc. Be sure to add riders to enhance the coverage of the policy. 

  • Claim process

Understand the claim procedure – how cumbersome or long it is. You do not want a policy with a complicated claim process. Your health insurance should have a hassle-free, minimum documentation claim method. Also, check the claim settlement ratio of the company. The higher the claim settlement ratio, the more reliable the insurer is.

  • Sum assured

Opt for health insurance with an adequate sum assured. This will sufficiently cover you for unforeseen situations. Also, ensure your provider has a good network of hospitals for cashless treatment.

  • Flexibility

Choose a plan that lets you include benefits as per your specific and unique needs. Policies that allow you to make alterations when the need arises are the best types of insurance.

  • Premiums

Take a policy with affordable premiums. Do not opt for a cover with a co-pay clause because that might reduce the premium but will require you to foot part of the bills from your pocket.

Over to you

In these challenging times, a health insurance policy is the companion you need. Guidance from professional health insurance agents can help you find a policy that best fits your requirements.

Sources:

1 https://www.jpost.com/breaking-news/indias-coronavirus-cases-jump-by-daily-record-of-97894-642592

2 https://www.indiatoday.in/mood-of-the-nation/story/income-of-63-per-cent-indians-suffered-due-to-covid-19-pandemic-motn-survey-1708942-2020-08-07

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