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Home / India News / Coronavirus spread: How countries are managing cost of treatment

Coronavirus spread: How countries are managing cost of treatment

In India, insurance regulator IRDAI had last week asked insurance companies to come out with policies to cover treatment costs for coronavirus infection.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2020 09:42 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Passengers wearing masks as a precaution against coronavirus ride a bus at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, on March 10.
Passengers wearing masks as a precaution against coronavirus ride a bus at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai, on March 10. (AP Photo)

As the deadly coronavirus spreads across the world, governments and health insurance companies are adopting different ways to make sure that out-of-pocket costs do not prevent people from seeking care and the threat of under-reporting of cases can be minimised.

America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) had said last week that its members, which include Cigna Corp and Anthem Inc, will cover diagnostic testing when ordered by a doctor, ease network, referral and prior authorisation requirements and/or waive patient cost sharing.

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The group also said it will “take action so that patients will have continuous access to their regular prescription medications”.

Some healthcare experts had expressed concern that the type of patient cost sharing seen in many US health plans might make some Americans hesitate to visit a doctor, even if they have valid reasons to be concerned about contracting the virus.

In India, insurance regulator IRDAI had last week asked insurance companies to come out with policies to cover treatment costs for coronavirus infection, which has impacted over one lakh people worldwide. In order to provide need-based health insurance coverage, insurers are introducing products for various specific diseases, including vector borne diseases.

“For the purpose of meeting health insurance requirements of various sections, insurers are advised to design products covering the costs of treatment for coronavirus,” the regulator had said in a circular.

“All the claims reported under COVID-19 shall be thoroughly reviewed by review committee before repudiating the claims,” it further added.

There are 62 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection in India.

Singapore, meanwhile, has started charging visitors for coronavirus treatment, as it reported new imported infections involving people who had travelled from neighbouring Indonesia.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, reported its first virus case earlier this month and officially has just 19 infections compared to 160 in Singapore. Disease experts have questioned how many cases could be going undiagnosed in Indonesia.

Singapore’s new measures announced late on Monday came into effect on March 7, when authorities said two symptomatic Indonesian travellers arrived in Singapore.

Both had reported coronavirus symptoms in Indonesia before arriving in Singapore. One had previously sought treatment at a hospital in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta.

Another case involved a Singaporean who had visited her sister in Indonesia who had pneumonia.

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