It is advisable to buy regular indemnity-based health plans that provide coverage against all ailments
The COVID-19 vaccine dry run is already underway in India to prepare medical staff and health infrastructure. However, it will still take a considerable amount of time for everyone to receive the vaccine.
Till the time vaccine becomes available, the next best option is to have a health insurance policy to be ready for any sort of eventuality that may occur in case one gets infected.
As mandated by Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), all general and standalone health insurance companies are required to offer short-term Corona Kavach policy. It offers indemnity or fixed benefit covers for COVID-9 related infection and hospitalisation, including treatments classified under AYUSH.
And this may tempt you into buying a standalone COVID-19 policy as a precaution against the pandemic. However, experts believe that it is better to buy a comprehensive health insurance plan instead of a standalone COVID-19 policy to ensure coverage for all types of ailments. Also, the sum assured in Corona Kavach is limited to Rs 5 lakh.
It is also important to note that, IRDAI has already issued guidelines that require all health and general insurance companies to cover hospitalisation claims associated with COVID-19 under indemnity health insurance plans.
"It is advisable to buy regular indemnity-based comprehensive health plans that provide coverage against all ailments; and not just COVID, up to the total sum insured. One can also opt for COVID specific fixed-benefit plans along with a comprehensive plan," says Mayank Bathwal, CEO , Aditya Birla Health Insurance.
Another major decision while buying a health insurance plan is to decide upon the right sum insured.
While buying a health insurance plan we must keep the medical inflation in mind and how treatment cost COVID-19 or other diseases vary according to age, health condition and severity of the disease.
"Age plays a pivotal role in deciding the total sum insured. An average adult between 30 and 45 years of age undergoing COVID-19 related treatment at a normal private hospital will draw a treatment cost of approximately Rs 5 to Rs 6 lakh," adds Mayank.
However, if the patient is above 55 years of age (senior citizen) and has a severe infection, then the cost of treatment will be Rs 10 to Rs 12 lakh. As senior citizens fall under the vulnerable category, a severe infection would call for ventilator support and ICU where the daily charges are higher. Along with age, the total cost of coronavirus treatment also depends on other factors such as the choice of hospital, and the severity of the infection.