A secure fund for emergency medical costs was always a necessity, but the advent of the novel Coronavirus just amplified its importance. COVID-19 not only affected peoples’ health, but the lockdowns imposed to curb this virus also affected many peoples’ livelihood.
All this led to countless citizens getting into deep-neck debts to cover the medical costs of their loved ones. Overseeing the situation, the IRDAI asked insurance companies to launch policies that cover the associated medical expenses with the treatment and care of those infected with COVID-19.
It is when COVID health insurance plans came into existence. The coronavirus health insurance plan was launched with the aim to secure people, in general, from the medical costs and the related repercussions, so anyone willing to secure themselves and their family can apply for it.
Since the pandemic is far from over yet, and the virus is returning with even strong variations, it is best to be prepared this time well in advance to tackle the skyrocketing costs associated with medical emergencies. The best way is to secure yourself and your family under the best COVID health insurance plan.
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To make your work easier by choosing the best COVID health insurance policy in India, we’ve listed down the following tips that you can rely on. So let’s quickly head to the tips shared below.
- Look for Affordable Premiums
One of the first parameters you should start your search from is by deciding what amount you can pay as an insurance premium. If you have decided what coverage you need but are not sure how much the premium can be for such coverage, use an onlinehealth insurance calculator to get the near-accurate premium value and other details. It will help you shortlist and choose the COVID health insurance that is affordable yet offers the best coverage.
- Ask About the Co-Payment Clause
During claim settlement, the policyholder is expected to pay a certain percentage of the claim value, known as co-payment, while the remaining and significant portion is paid by the insurance company. Before buying any COVID health insurance, double-check if you’ll have to pay some out-of-pocket amount, or the insurer will look after the entire claim reimbursement. If the co-payment clause is there, make sure you’re proceeding with an option that has little to very minimal co-payment requirements.
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- Double-Check the Inclusions
You cannot and should not buy any health insurance without having a clear understanding of its coverage. Different insurers can have different coverage terms for the same type of policy; hence, paying special attention to the coverage is essential. Generally, the following should be there in a good COVID health insurance policy:
- Road Ambulance Charges
The road ambulance charges should be covered in the policy. Generally, an amount up to Rs.2,000 is given under health policies. So check what the maximum cap allowed for ambulance reimbursement in your shortlisted plan is.
- ICU Expenses
Unfortunately, some people get severely affected by COVID, requiring immediate extra medical care and attention. Having ICU expenses covered in the policy will save you from financial strain during times of emergency, ensuring your loved ones get the medical treatment on time.
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- Homecare Treatment Expenses
The virus doesn’t affect every person at the same level. Those who got mild symptoms or can be treated at home after the doctor’s suggestion should be able to claim expenses related to medical care and treatment incurred at home. It includes the cost of an oxygen cylinder, the cost of a pulse oximeter, medicines, doctor consultation charges, nurse charges, etc. So look for a plan that covers homecare treatment expenses.
- Coverage of Inpatient Treatment Expenses
If someone gets COVID positive in your family, they may have to get treated at a hospital which will usually cost a lot of money. But if you and your family members are covered under COVID insurance that covers AYUSH treatment, you’ll be able to claim the treatment amount. However, always remember that insurers will provide the reimbursement if the covered member gets treated in a government-authorized AYUSH hospital.
- Pre & Post Hospitalization Expenses
When a person gets treated for COVID, much money is spent before, during, and after the hospitalization. In such cases, it is ideal that you have a policy that covers you for both pre and post-hospitalization expenses. 15/30 days of pre and post-hospitalization should be good enough.
If the plan you’ve shortlisted covers the above basic things, you should consider proceeding with it.
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- Check Who is the Policy Ideal for
Another ideal parameter before picking any insurance plan is checking who the policy is ideally for. As this policy was generally launched for anyone willing to secure self and family from the rising medical costs, especially COVID-related treatments, anyone can buy this health insurance. Even if you already have separate health insurance, you can still buy new insurance aimed exclusively to cater to medical treatment and costs related to COVID. It will act as an additional layer of protection for you and your family.
- Carefully read the Exclusions
A grave mistake people make while buying insurance is not carefully checking the list of exclusions. Purchase decisions should never be made based on assumptions when buying health insurance. So before you proceed with any plan, always double-check what is not covered in the policy to avoid any unpleasant shockers later. Generally, hospitalization below 24 hours, treatment outside India, testing done in unauthorized centres, and unrelated medicine or treatment not prescribed by the doctor are not covered in most COVID health insurance policies. However, you should read the full list before making any final decision.
- Look for Availability of Cashless Treatment
During an emergency, you wouldn’t have the time to run to your insurer to claim immediate reimbursement, nor will that be possible. Hence, always settle with a plan that offers good cashless treatment in reputed hospitals. It will allow you and your family members to get cashless treatment benefits, provided you get treated in one hospital from the insurer’s partner hospital’s list.
- List of Network Hospitals Should be Good
In continuation with the previous point, you should be wary of the hospitals an insurer has in his network list. It is because to claim reimbursement of the treatment costs, the treatment must have been done in one of the insurance company’s partner hospitals. Insurers allow people to check their list of network hospitals so they can make an informed policy buying decision. When checking the list, make sure it has at least two multi-speciality hospitals with various other good hospitals.
- Check the Insurer’s Reputation
You wouldn’t want to end up with an insurance company that is less receptive to its policyholders’ concerns, especially during the claim settlement process. An excellent way to ensure you’re picking the right insurance company is by doing a little background and reputation check online. If you find multiple negative posts about the insurer from existing policyholders, take it as a red flag and look for other insurance companies, and vice-versa.
- Enquire About the Claim Settlement Ratio
A positive or high claim settlement ratio signifies the insurer doesn’t hold back policyholders’ claims for no reason and honours the reimbursement request relatively faster – which is undoubtedly a good thing. You can easily get an idea of your shortlisted insurer’s past and existing claim settlement ratio with a quick online search. Alternatively, you can also take help from people in online forums, communities, groups, etc.
- Ask About the Waiting Period
One thing you should never miss out on while getting health insurance policies is its waiting period. A waiting period is a duration of time before which you cannot claim the benefits of the policy. Since you’re buying health insurance mainly for COVID coverage, look for plans that have a shorter waiting period. The less the waiting period, the better the plan, and vice-versa.
The right COVID health insurance plan can take away much worry and financial strain from your shoulders, while the wrong plan can do just the opposite. If you want to pick the best plan for the best COVID health insurance policy in India for yourself and your family, follow all the tips shared above to separate the best from the rest. Checking all policies against the shared points will be tedious and time-consuming, but it will pay off in the long run.