Looking for Covid-specific insurance? these policies could be of use

As per IRDAI, Corona Kavach will cover the cost of treatment of any co-morbid conditions, including pre-existing conditions
With the rise in Covid-19 cases across the country, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked all general insurance companies to mandatorily offer a standard benefit-based health insurance product by July 10, 2020. While these standard plans – Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak – are yet to be launched, there are several other policies have been launched in the past few months to cover this dreaded illness. Supriya Rathi, whole-time director and principal officer, Anand Rathi Insurance Brokers says: “We already have a few players in the market who are offering Covid-specific insurance products and with this recent directive, we can expect the number of such offerings and benefits to only grow.” 

Corona Kavach and Rakshak: Insurers will offer two standard Covid-19 health insurance policies. Corona Kavach is a standard indemnity-based policy whereas Corona Rakshak is a fixed benefit plan. Amit Chhabra, Health Business Head, Policybazaar.com says: “Many could not afford a comprehensive plan but still wanted coverage. These offerings are expected to cost around Rs 300 a month. On an average, a comprehensive medical policy costs around Rs 1,000 a month.”
As per IRDAI, Corona Kavach will cover the cost of treatment of any co-morbid conditions, including pre-existing conditions, along with the treatment for the coronavirus infection or disease with the tenure ranging from 3.5 months to 9.5 months. Under Corona Rakshak policy, if someone is diagnosed with Covid-19 and hospitalised for three days, a fixed amount (the sum insured) will be paid by the insurer. Vikas Mathur, head, health insurance, Universal Sompo General Insurance says: “If you have an aged member in the family without co-morbidity, a base policy is fine. But if senior citizens have co-morbidity and vulnerability is high, an additional policy through Corona-specific cover will help save the base policy for another line of treatment.”

Covid-specific policies: In April, when the virus started spreading in India, several insurers such as Star Health & Allied Insurance, Royal Sundaram General Insurance and Chola MS General Insurance launched policies to cover it. Chola’ policy offers lumpsum benefit equal to 100 per cent of the sum insured as base cover, with the sum insured options in multiples of Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000. Additional benefits are available for an extra premium such as daily cash benefit in multiples of Rs 250 till Rs 1,000. These benefits are over and above the base sum Insured. In case of a job loss, it is 50 per cent of the base sum Insured for an additional cost. Star Health & Allied Insurance’s policy provides a lumpsum benefit of Rs 21,000, and Rs 42,000 if the insured is diagnosed with Coronavirus that requires hospitalisation. 

 

It comes with a 16-day waiting period and does not require pre-acceptance medical screening. Similarly, Royal Sundaram’s customers have the option to choose from two types of the sum insured Rs 25,000 and Rs 50,000. However, the benefits under this policy shall be excluded for the first 30 days from the policy inception date. Rathi doesn’t recommend these for individuals: “For individuals who already are covered under health plans, any treatment expenditure arising due to Covid-19 hospitalisation will be covered under their existing health insurance plans (as per directive by the IRDAI) and hence, buying a comprehensive plan would be more beneficial for an individual or their families.” 
Currently, Covid- specific plans are available online for a few hundred rupees.  And if you are someone who does not have a policy – personal or group cover – it might be a good idea to pick up one of these policies for the time being. 

Arogya Sanjeevani: It’s a fairly straightforward policy that comes with good coverage at a reasonable price. All insurance companies mandatorily offer a policy called Arogya Sanjeevani, with similar features and the differences are only in pricing or claims ratio. Arogya Sanjeevani Health insurance policy covers Covid-19 and provides a decent health cover of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh for health treatment of various illnesses. Your sum insured (excluding the bonus) will be increased by 5 per cent for each claim-free policy year as a cumulative bonus. If the customer cannot afford the comprehensive cover then the Covid-specific cover is a good option. 

Comprehensive health policy: If you already have a basic health plan, know that all health plans cover the treatment and hospitalisation of all diseases, including Covid-19. But the figure of Rs 5-7 lakh sum insured may be insufficient for an average middle-class family in India in such challenging times. Then it makes sense to top up. Says Sanjay Datta, Chief Underwriting and Claims at ICICI Lombard General Insurance: “Corona Kavach can be used to cover those who do not have any insurance and can’t afford to buy Aarogya Sanjeevani or in situations in which your office or personal cover is insufficient. This can also work as an addition to a high-risk family member. If you are looking to buy new insurance and want something affordable, Arogya Sanjeevani makes sense.” If you can’t afford the above two, you may want to wait for Corona Kavach or Corona Rakshakas far as the Covid-specific policies go.


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