With each passing day, more and more people are testing positive for COVID-19 – popularly known as Coronavirus – globally. As per the data shared by the World Health Organisation (WHO), as many as 1 million people across various parts of the globe are infected with coronavirus infection with maximum being infected in the USA followed by Italy and Spain. In India, the total number of confirmed cases has crossed the 8,000 mark, of which over 270 people have lost their lives.
Taking cue from the increasing panic amongst the people and rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, all health insurers in India have started covering treatment for coronavirus under the regular health insurance policy. However, as per the directions of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), the insurers have even introduced Coronavirus-specific health insurance products that provide dedicated coverage against the deadly virus.
Such plans are an excellent way to compensate for loss of income during the treatment of the illness as the policyholder is paid the entire sum insured as a lump sum in case of testing positive for coronavirus. However, one must only buy these plans as a rider along with the regular indemnity based health plans that provide comprehensive coverage against all illnesses and ailments up to the total sum insured.
The offered fixed-benefit plans for coronavirus are available for a limited period-1 year-only and cannot be renewed or used for treatment of any other illness. Also, these policies are only applicable to Indian residents. While other eligibility criteria like age, sum insured, individual or group are specific to each policy.
ICICI Lombard-COVID-19 Protection Cover
The coronavirus-specific health insurance offered by ICICI Lombard is named COVID-19 Protection Cover and it is a fixed-benefit plan that pays 100 per cent of the sum insured irrespective of hospitalization expenses as a lump sum to the policyholder in case the insured is declared COVID-19 positive. The plan comes with an initial waiting period of 14 days and can be bought by people across the age group of 18 to 75 years. However, COVID-19 Protection Cover by ICICI Lombard excludes people with a travel history to any location overseas post December 31, 2019.
Also, if the policyholder has been quarantined for suspected COVID-19 or diagnosed with COVID-19 prior to the risk inception date or within the initial 14-Day waiting period, the insurer will not be liable to pay any claim. The plan even comes with certain add-ons including Tele Consultation (4 free calls to take any consultation) and Ambulance Assistance that can enhance the coverage provided to the insured. This health cover is priced at a premium of Rs 149 which provides a sum insured of Rs 25,000.
Future Generali-Group Insurance Cover/Mediclaim Policy
The health insurance plan offered by Future Generali is also a fixed-benefit cover that pays 100 per cent sum insured as lump sum if the policyholder is diagnosed with Covid-19 infection. However, while buying the policy, the policy seekers must provide travel record and must have no past medical history related to the novel coronavirus. If the policy holder is not diagnosed with coronavirus infection and is also asked for 14-day quarantine for a suspected COVID-19 infection, a lump sum benefit of only 50 per cent of sum insured will be paid to the life insured. Apart from 50 per cent sum insured, an additional benefit of 10 per cent of the sum insured will be paid to the quarantined policy holder towards incidental expenses.
Star Health Insurance-Star Novel Coronavirus
Star Health Insurance's Star Novel Coronavirus provides health insurance cover to those who test positive for COVID-19 and require immediate hospitalization. Though the plan comes with an initial waiting period of 16 days from the date of commencement of the policy. Anyone between the age group of 18 and 65 years can buy this plan by Star Health Insurance while dependent children under the age group of 3 months to 25 years can be covered under this plan along with any one of the parents. The unique selling point of this policy is that it covers individuals irrespective of having any international travel history to any overseas location. The Star Novel Coronavirus plan is available online at a premium of Rs 459+GST for a sum insured of Rs 21,000 while for Rs 918+GST for a sum insured of Rs 42,000. Being a fixed-benefit plan, the policy can only be bought once in a year by an individual.
While fixed-benefit plans provide dedicated coverage for a specific ailment, it is always advised that apart from covering yourself under a fixed-benefit plan you must also protect yourself with an indemnity based health insurance plan. Such plans can be renewed every year and provide you overall protection irrespective of the illness for which you are seeking treatment. For a comprehensive and overall protection for every illness and ailment, you must always invest in a regular health insurance policy with maximum sum insured.
(By Amit Chhabra, Head-Health Insurance, Policybazaar.com)