Health Insurance January 13, 2022

The COVID pandemic has been a harrowing experience for even health insurance policyholders as they have had to pay a substantial amount towards treatment against the virus. The General Insurance Council of India, while talking to Economic Times, a leading English Daily, stated that an insured person was paying 40% of the treatment expenses on average, from the advent of the pandemic till May 2021. Health insurance companies settled around INR 95,000 on average in response to a total claim amount of INR 1.54 lakh. The hospital bills of COVID patients went up 30-40% across major cities considering the extensive use of PPE kits, sheets, disposable gloves, etc. These equipment are generally not covered under most health insurance plans, forcing many to pay towards COVID treatment.

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Now, Omicron, a new COVID variant, has made its way to India with a much faster infection rate than its predecessors. This could lead to a repeat of the situation discussed above. But the lack of adequate cover can’t be attributed solely to the use of the equipment mentioned above. Even policyholders may have made a few tactical errors. We’re thus here to share with you some important health insurance strategies which you can implement for comprehensive COVID coverage. Let’s check out!

Let’s Check First the Expenses Generally Involved During COVID Treatment

COVID hospitalization cover is permitted to those who can be treated only at hospitals and not at home. Hospitalizations generally come up with room rent for self-isolation, ICU accommodation, etc. Here’s how they generally cost in India.

Accommodation TypesRoom Rent Cost Per Day (In INR)
Isolation Bed10000
ICU with a Ventilator18000
ICU without a Ventilator13,000-15,000

Note – All these are approximate figures. The eventual one might differ.

Let’s Come to the Health Insurance Strategies Now

The extensive use of PPE kits and other equipment during COVID hospitalizations makes it a strong case for a health insurance plan having coverage for the same. Secondly, some plans may come with a sub-limit basis room rent and disease-wise. With that in place, chances are that you might pay too for your treatment. Some might even choose a copayment to ease the premium payment burden. Doing so could backfire you with tall medical bills to clear upon discharge. Let’s discuss the plausible health insurance strategies in lieu of the current COVID scenario.

Search for a Health Insurance Plan with Consumable Coverage

Health insurance with coverage for consumables (PPE kits, gloves, masks, etc.) is absolutely vital given how much they add to your hospital bills. Some plans may not have the same under the base coverage but would have under a rider. If you choose to add that rider to your base plan, the premium will increase accordingly. Here, you’ll need to pay the premium for your base plan as well as the rider. But paying the same makes sense given the spiralling medical bills and people having to pay despite health insurance. We’ve put before you a few health insurance plans that cover consumables used during the treatment. Let’s check!

Consider Having a Health Insurance Plan with no Sub-limit

Health insurance plans may come with a sub-limit on room rent, diseases, etc. These limits can increase the possibilities of out-of-the-pocket expenses for you to bear. For example, a health insurance plan comes with a sub-limit of say INR 5,000 per day on room rent. In case the actual room rent remains INR 8,000 per day, be ready to pay the extra INR 3,000. The overall liability will only mount should the hospitalization continue for a fairly long time. So, the focus should be to buy a plan that comes with zero sub-limits.

Don’t Fall Prey to Low-premium Lure & Compromise on Your Overall Financial Protection

Many fall prey to low-premium tactics by opting for a lower coverage amount, and when hospitalization expenses exceed the same, all they do is vent out frustration and anger! It’s a cardinal sin to commit given the times when we’re in now! And some opt for copayment in exchange for a lower premium. A copayment of 10% or so applies, which means you need to pay that 10% of the claim amount first before the insurer starts doing its bit. But for COVID hospitalizations, even that 10% would come big in absolute numbers. Cases, except for senior citizens, do not come with a mandatory copayment clause.

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