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Posted by Royal Sundaram on 01 May 2020
In the wake of two deaths and a rising number of cases tested positive for Coronavirus, schools and colleges are shut down, workers are being asked to work from home, even malls and cinema halls are closed down in India. The Coronavirus threat is genuine, and the foremost concern in people’s minds is how to fight back. The infection might lead to hospitalization and bring exorbitant healthcare expenses. You might well be wondering whether your regular mediclaim policy will cover Coronavirus treatment, or you have to get some buffer cash as a stand-by. The situation has become more complicated as after 118,000 confirmed cases in over 114 countries, the WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
Medical Insurance for COVID-19 – the current scenario
The leading health insurance companies have reassured policyholders that they will cover Coronavirus treatment expenses. Expenditure sustained during the quarantine period will also be reimbursed. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued a circular making it mandatory for insurance providers to accelerate settlements related to COVID-19. A regular mediclaim policy is an indemnity health insurance that assures taking care of hospitalization costs. If you have to be hospitalized due to COVID-19, the plan should cover the expenses. Cashless health insurance benefits will be available if the patient needs to stay at a hospital having tie-ups with the insurance provider. COVID-19 will not be considered a pre-existing condition, and there will be no waiting period for existing policyholders.
However, the pandemic declaration may change the picture. It may trigger the condition that entitles most insurance providers to reject claims for global pandemics. As of now, the insurance companies are yet to take a stand on this situation.
Can your claim for Coronavirus treatment be rejected?
Health insurers will incur heavy losses if the costs of tests and treatments for Coronavirus go up, as is likely to occur if the death toll keeps on rising. Under such circumstances, they might decide to withdraw cover for Coronavirus treatment. However, many health insurers are looking to tap into the rising need for healthcare coverage and introduce new policies specially designed for Coronavirus. Even IRDAI urged the companies to bring forward exclusive products aimed at providing medical insurance for COVID-19.
The way forward
The best safeguard is to stay protected with health insurance. If new products offering medical insurance for COVID-19 come into the market, make sure to read the terms thoroughly to get clarity on the coverage.
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