Covid-19: Health insurance is your best bet against steep medical costs
A health insurance policy will not only make it easier for you to get proper medical facilities, but also save you from emptying your financial reservoirs.Updated: Aug 13, 2020 14:29 IST
It’s been a few months since the world woke up to the realization that a pandemic was underway. Although a few countries have managed to flatten the curve, the virus is still raging in India. Pharmaceutical giants are racing against time to develop an effective panacea for COVID-19, but the proverbial silver lining remains obfuscated. Vaccine trials are long arduous processes, and it will be several months from now before you will be able to get yourself vaccinated at a healthcare center near you.
Shunting citizens in and out of their homes by imposing and re-imposing lockdowns is also not a plausible solution because of the colossal economic damage triggered by the lockdown. Income streams continue to dwindle and a large chunk of the population is being compelled to rely on their savings to make ends meet. The financial distress coupled with the fear of being infected is causing many to have sleepless nights.
Skyrocketing medical costs
Several state governments including Delhi, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and Maharashtra have capped the cost of COVID-19 treatment in private hospitals. The Supreme Court, however, has refused to fix a countrywide upper ceiling. Hospitalization costs, for both COVID and non-COVID patients in other states, have ascended at an alarming rate in the last few months. The highly-contagious nature of the virus has made it mandatory for doctors, nurses, and hospital staff to use PPE kits, N-95 masks, face shields, and shoe covers. These medical consumables are causing hospital bills to escalate by thousands.
For COVID-19 patients who are hospitalized, the scarcity of quarantine spaces is translating into steep healthcare costs. Hospital wards have been forced to decrease the number of patients due to social distancing protocols making hospital stays a luxury. It is no secret that India’s health infrastructure was already miles away from being satisfactory. Now, with the caseload in the country seemingly increasing by way of arithmetic progression, faultiness in medical care services has emerged. Access to medical facilities is now a vicious demand and supply game with private hospitals charging in lakhs for treating of COVID patients.
To put things into perspective, the average cost of treatment in private hospitals in Delhi in an isolation ward is ₹1,26,000, ICU with a ventilator is ₹1,96,000, and ICU with a ventilator is ₹2,31,000 (*charges inclusive of PPE), as per a report published in The Financial Express.
Rising awareness about insurance policies
All of these factors have catalysed an increase in awareness about buying adequate health insurance coverage. Recently, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) made it compulsory for general, life, and health insurance companies to offer standard COVID-19 products. All insurers have been urged to launch short-term COVID-19 policies with the same names and uniform features.
The IRDAI released guidelines for ‘Corona Kavach’ and ‘Corona Rakshak’ with uniform features, terms, and conditions. General and health insurers have to mandatorily provide the reimbursement-based standard COVID-19 product, while benefit-based products are optional.
Reliance General Insurance offers a slew of unique benefits as part of its policy, so that you can allay your fears about healthcare in these stressful times. Some of the benefits include extra cover – you can avail a 13-month cover for a 12-month premium and a 26-month cover for a 24-month premium, emergency hospitalization cover, and an additional sum insured. For instance, you can get an additional cover of Rs 1 lakh for a Rs 3 lakh cover, an additional cover of Rs 2 lakh for a Rs 5 lakh cover, and so on. What’s more, you can avail of benefits such as hospital room rent and road ambulance charges, organ donor expenses, and AYUSH benefits.
If you haven’t invested in a good health insurance plan for your family, now is the time to do so. Not only will it be easier for you to get proper medical facilities, but also save you from emptying your financial reservoirs.