Evaluate insurers’ claim settlement ratios and cashless network of hospitals
Ever since COVID-19 spread its tentacles, buying a health insurance policy has become most important. Considering the prevailing conditions, the only way to stay financially protected against the pandemic is by buying an adequate health insurance policy. If you get hospitalised for treating the coronavirus infection, your health insurance plan will safeguard medical expenses. You can buy a health insurance policy with an adequate sum insured for as low as Rs. 1,000 per month. However, there are many people in the country who cannot afford Rs 1,000 per month for buying comprehensive health insurance for themselves and their families.
In order to tackle this crisis and to make sure that maximum number of people are covered under some kind of health insurance policy against COVID-19, on the directions of IRDAI, general and health insurers have started offering standard Corona Kavach – an indemnity based health plan – and Corona Rakshak – a fixed benefit health insurance policy. These individual COVID-specific standard health policies will address the basic health insurance needs of the public. Customers can either buy these policies through the insurers’ websites, online web aggregators or directly approach the branch offices or agents of the insurance companies. These policies can be bought for as low as Rs 100-200 a month.
Choose the right Insurer
While choosing the insurer for your health insurance plan, there are numerous factors that must be kept in mind. First is the claim settlement ratio of the insurer. The claim settlement ratio reveals the percentage of claims the insurer has paid out during a financial year. Second, do check the number of the network hospitals of the insurer in your city. Network hospitals provide the insured with the various benefits of cashless hospitalization. Third, you must also look for trust and faith of customers for a particular brand. Insurers with maximum features and excellent customer service rank high with customers. It is very important to choose the right insurer while buying a health insurance policy to have a flawless customer experience.
Before buying a Corona Kavach or Corona Rakshak plan, it is important that you are well aware of the various benefits of each of these plans as both these plans function differently. You must be sure about your specific needs and requirements and only then invest in any of these plans.
One of the most important benefits of the Corona Kavach health plan is that it will pay for the cost of personal protective equipment (PPEs) and other hygiene-related consumables such as gloves and masks, which form a major chunk of hospital bills. Additionally, there won’t be any sub-limits on room rent. Capping of room rent usually results in increased out-of-pocket expenditure.
Since the policy is for the short term and is limited to a single ailment, the pricing is much lower than a regular health cover. The Corona Kavach is available for as low as Rs 208, for a policy tenure of 3.5 months with Rs 50,000 sum insured. For instance, in the case of Bajaj Allianz, the lowest premium is Rs 447 for a Rs 50,000 sum insured in the case of a customer aged up to 35, for 3.5 months. The premium rises with age and period. The same customer will have to pay Rs 745 for a 9.5-month policy which is the maximum period. For the maximum sum insured of Rs 5 lakh, the individual will have to pay Rs 1,320, with the premium rising to Rs 5,630 for those over 60. On the other hand, for an individual aged 36-40, for a sum insured of Rs 5 lakh and tenure of 9.5 months, Oriental Insurance has priced the base product at Rs 1,286 plus taxes. Customers may experience a huge variation in rates among different insurers, as there is inadequate data available on claims and the infection.
The Corona Rakshak works as a fixed benefit plan and pays the policyholder the entire sum insured upon hospitalisation due to COVID-19 infection for a minimum of 72 hours.
All benefit-based policies pay out the entire sum insured to the policyholders if they are diagnosed with the ailments covered under the policies. The minimum sum insured shall be Rs 50,000 and the maximum limit is Rs 2.5 Lakh. For a 40-year-old individual buying a Rs 2.5 lakh cover, the premium for Star Health and Allied Insurance will be Rs 3,846 for a tenure of 3.5 months, while the premium for 9.5 months will be Rs 5,192. For the same plan, Future Generali Insurance will charge Rs 510 for 3.5 months, while the price for 9.5 months will be Rs 1,079. The prices for Universal Sompo General Insurance company are Rs 577 for 3.5 months and Rs 1,635 for 9.5 months.
If you already have an adequate health insurance plan that covers the pandemic as well, you don’t have to invest in corona-specific health insurance plans. However, a person can consider investing in corona-specific plans for fixed benefits. Such plans help you to get additional coverage for PPE kits and other consumables required during the treatment. But to provide maximum value to people, a comprehensive health insurance plan that protects against a wide range of illnesses including coronavirus, will be more suitable.(The writer is Health Business Head, Policybazaar.com)