Amid mounting COVID-19 cases in the country, regulator IRDAI on Tuesday allowed the health and general insurers to offer short-term health insurance policies that will give coverage against the coronavirus infection.
With an objective of making available insurance protection to various sections of people in the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic, it is considered that short-term health insurance policies providing coverages specific to COVID-19 disease is the need of the hour, it said in a circular.
Accordingly, all insurers (life, general and health) are allowed to offer COVID-19 specific short-term health insurance policies subject to the guidelines, said the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI).
"Short-term policies may be issued for a minimum term of three months to a maximum term of eleven months. In between three months and eleven months, the policy term shall be in multiples of completed months," it said while issuing the guidelines.
However, a policy term less than three months is not permitted.
IRDAI asked the insurers to devise inclusive short-term health insurance products "where waiting periods are part of the product, such waiting period shall not exceed 15 days".
Life insurers are permitted to offer only benefit based short-term health insurance policies while general and health insurers can offer both indemnity based and benefit-based policies.
The guidelines will remain valid for issue of short-term policies till March 31, 2021 unless extended further.
As per the guidelines, short-term health policy means any health insurance policy contract which has been issued for a policy term of less than 12 months.
Short-term policies can be offered both as individual or group products, the circular said.
Earlier in March, IRDAI had asked the general and health insurers to design need-based products covering costs of treatment of coronavirus disease.