While pandemics such as COVID-19 are not new to the world, it is important to stay protected in every manner possible. While you may take all required precautionary measures such as maintaining social distancing to stay protected, what is more important here is to understand how you can secure your health.
In case you get infected by COVID-19, you must have a comprehensive health insurance plan to coverhospitalisation expenses.
If you are still confused as to whether your health insurance policy will cover hospitalisation expenses incurred due to COVID-19, it is important for you to know that any claim for COVID-19 will be payable by your insurer if you are hospitalised for at least 24 hours.
As per a circular from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) to all health insurers regarding the guidelines on handling of claims reported under COVID-19, the regulator has made it clear that all such claims shall be handled as per the usual norms i.e. just like any other ailment requiring hospitalisation.
As per the guidelines, all claims will be processed as per regular norms and will be covered as any other illness.
However, it is mandatory for the policyholder to stay hospitalised for a minimum of 24 hours.
IRDAI has even made it clear that the entire cost of admissible medical expenses during the course of treatment, including the treatment during quarantine period, shall be settled in accordance with the regular health insurance policy.
Also, the infection caused due to COVID-19 does not fall under the pre-existing disease category and hence, the claims will be covered for the illness from day one. Every basic health insurance plan will compensate the policyholder for expenses incurred on pre-hospitalisation, post-hospitalisation, in-patient treatment, OPD and ambulance expenses, should one seek treatment for COVID-19.
Fixed benefit plan
While the above features are for an indemnity-based health plan, those looking for a fixed benefit health plan that compensates them for loss of income due to hospitalisation following COVID-19 can invest in the fixed benefit health plan offered by Digit Insurance.
Offered under the IRDAI’s regulatory sandbox framework, Health Care Plus plan is available for a sum insured of between ₹25,000 and ₹2 lakh.
The premiums start at ₹299 at the lower end, while the maximum sum insured entails a premium of ₹2,027 plus GST.
As to the payout process, in case a policyholder tests positive for COVID-19, the insurer will pay out the entire sum insured. If a quarantine is advised in a government or a military hospital, the insurer will pay 50% of the sum insured.
Retired people may consider it for additional benefits even if they have a standalone plan since they are more vulnerable to the virus. Those suffering from symptoms of cold or respiratory diseases will not be able to purchase this plan.
(The author is business head, health insurance, Policybazaar.com)