There seems to be some amount of confusion about whether medical insurance that you may already have, covers the cost of Coronavirus treatment. If you unfortunately one. There is the added complication of Coronavirus, or COVID-19, having been classified as a pandemic. Often, health insurance companies are not very forthcoming in case a health issue is classified a pandemic. But the good news is, there is not only more clarity on what medical insurance covers and doesn’t, but there are also specific Coronavirus insurance policies that you can buy in case you don’t want to tinker with your existing medical insurance.
Mobile payments app PhonePe, in partnership with insurance company Bajaj Allianz General Insurance has a new Coronavirus insurance policy which covers all medical costs that may arise in case someone has the misfortune of being confirmed to have been infected by the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. You pay a one-time price of Rs 156 to get cover worth Rs 50,000 for a period of one year.
PhonePe says that all hospitalization expenses in any hospital would be covered, and this includes tests, medication and consultation fee for 30 days before and after hospitalization. This digital policy can be generated online itself as soon as the payment is complete via the PhonePe app, with no tests required. However, the important condition to note is that the person insured will only be eligible for claims if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 after 15 days from the date of purchase of this insurance—basically, if someone buys the policy today, they will be eligible for insurance cover only if they are confirmed with COVID-19 after 15 days from today.
Bharti AXA General Insurance is also offering a Coronavirus Insurance plan via the Airtel Payments Bank and Airtel Wallet on the Airtel Thanks app for smartphones. Incidentally, this policy covers you against any COVID related medical expenses from the day it is active, unlike some other policies that have a waiting period before they get activated. The only precondition is you shouldn’t have any symptoms of COVID at the time of buying this policy. The fixed insured sum is Rs 25,000 and the premium of Rs 499. The conditions also state that if the policy holder is diagnosed negative after being quarantined for at least 14 days in a government hospital or military facility/establishment, they will be entitled to 50 per cent of the sum insured.
For some reason, when the writer of this story could not buy this policy for one of the parents even though they ticked off the age and travel history requirements—the app simply said they were ineligible for the policy but did not specify why.
Earlier, general insurance company Digit has rolled out the new Digital Health Care Plus policy that covers the medical costs in case you are hospitalized or under quarantine for the Coronavirus, or COVID-19 illness. Since Digit is a digital-only insurance company, you can now sign up for this insurance policy on their website or using the app that is available for Android phones and the Apple iPhone. At this time, the insurance policy offers sum insured options of Rs 25k, Rs 50k, Rs 75k, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 1.25 lakh, Rs 1.5 lakhs, Rs 1.75 lakh and Rs 2 lakh and is available to anyone less than 60 years of age.
Incidentally, you can also buy this policy on MobiKwik mobile payments app.
As far as what you pay for the one-year cover insurance, we did a simple check based on this writer’s age, which is 34 years. The Rs 25,000 sum insurance costs just Rs 253. The Rs 50,000 cover costs Rs 507. The Rs 75,000 cover is priced at Rs 760. If you want to get Coronavirus insurance worth Rs 1 lakh, you pay Rs 1,014 premium. The Rs 1.25 lakh cover costs Rs 1,267 while the Rs 1.5 lakh cover costs Rs 1,520. The Rs 1.75 lakh option is priced at Rs 1,774 while the highest spec coverage option of Rs 2 lakh costs Rs 2,027.
But what about my existing medical insurance?
First things first, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has clarified certain doubts about the coverage of Coronavirus treatments in existing medical insurance. “Where hospitalization is covered in a product, insurers shall ensure that the cases related to Corona virus disease (COVID-19) shall be expeditiously handled,” they say. “The costs of admissible medical expenses during the course of treatment including the treatment during quarantine period shall be settled in accordance to the applicable terms and conditions of policy contract and the extant regulatory framework,” is also a part of the guidelines.
“If a person already has an existing health insurance policy, then treatment cover for Coronavirus disease will be included. However, if a person opts for a policy after contracting the disease, in such cases, he or she will not be entitled to get coverage for the treatment,” says Religare Health Insurance. The terms and conditions of HDFC ERGO health insurance also state, “Unlike all other medical expenses for hospitalisation, if one get hospitalised for treating coronavirus infection. Health insurance plan will come in rescue to safeguard medical expenses.”
The Coronavirus specific policies that are being launched are a part of IRDA’s push towards specialized insurance policies.