Since 2020, life hasn’t quite been the same. The infamous COVID-19 pandemic struck India and triggered a nationwide lockdown. This isolated people to their homes, left uncertain about the conditions of the world outside. Their only source of news was online media outlets and channels that spoke about companies laying off employees to balance losses.
In addition, the terrifying tally of active COVID-19 cases and its high death rate had citizens concerned for their loved ones’ safety. However, things have nearly gone back to normal with people once again returning to public and office spaces. Don’t you still feel apprehensive about touching surfaces in public? News outlets continue to talk about COVID-19’s presence in the country, including its mutations and other variants.
This month started with positive news: India’s caseload has fallen to 4,767 in the last 24 hours, with only 118 new reports. These figures were provided by the Union Health Ministry on 1st December 2022. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country in 2020, the total cases reported so far are over 4.46 crore. The death toll for the infection stands at more than 5.3 lakh.
As of Thursday, over 2,14,021 tests have been conducted for the infection in the past 24 hours. Under India’s nationwide immunisation drive, over 219.92 crore vaccines have been administered to eligible individuals. Meanwhile, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), co-initiated by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), is closely monitoring the situation.
Owing to the decline in cases, many state governments have lowered COVID-19 restrictions, including wearing masks. The health ministry has mandated that in-flight announcements about infections be followed. They should preferably be demonstrated by using masks and keeping a physical distance.
You might wonder, “what can I do to keep myself and my family safe from COVID-19?”. This depends on whether you already own health insurance or plan to buy one. Moreover, even if you’re insured, it’s best to check with your insurer if treatment for this illness is covered. But did you know? A considerable population of India remains insured.
According to reports, nearly 42 crores of Indian citizens, i.e., 30% of the population, are without health insurance. There’s also a chance that these figures are higher due to potential gaps or overlaps between medical schemes.
To boost the number of insured people in India, the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog suggested that low-cost health plans should be introduced. They will cater to the missing section of India, helping the country achieve its goal of universal health coverage.
In a report for ‘India’s Missing Middle’ on health insurance, released in October-end, NITI Aayog stated, “Low government expenditure on health has constrained the capacity and quality of healthcare services in the public sector. It diverts the majority of individuals – about two-thirds – to seek treatment in the costlier private sector.”
If you aren’t part of the missing middle, then it’s about time to contact your health insurance provider. While it’s likely that your existing health plan covers COVID-19 treatments, it’s best to avoid any unpleasant surprises during an emergency.
After facing a high inflow of COVID-19 patients, the government expanded the capacity of private hospitals to boost their operations for conducting tests. However, with low health insurance penetration levels and soaring medical inflation, treatment costs have been on the rise.
In such times, a top-up or standalone health insurance could cover the cost of treatment if your diagnosis is positive. Those with family floater plans will benefit from a higher sum insured. But if you have a family or medical history of respiratory diseases, then it’s best to opt for a specific critical illness cover that caters to it.
Already own active health insurance? Look for the following factors to ensure you and your loved ones are medically and financially covered for COVID-19 treatment expenses.
Even if you own health insurance, it may not necessarily cover treatments related to COVID-19. To confirm the same, contact your provider and verify whether your existing policy is eligible for coverage against the infection and its associated expenses.
While discussing the above-mentioned factor with your insurer, enquire about the extent of coverage provided under such circumstances. These could include the availability of treatment at cashless network hospitals, adequate sum insured, etc. This will allow you to gauge the scope of expenses that can be taken care of if you or a dependent is diagnosed with COVID-19.
If you have a weak immune system or are more susceptible to COVID-19 symptoms, your treatment may require intensive care to prevent organ failure. This could result in hefty medical bills so it’s crucial to have a high sum insured to cover such expenses. Owning a family health plan would be an advantage in such situations to overcome these potential expenditures without exhausting the amount.
Except for accident-related emergencies, most insurers require their customers to wait for at least 30 days before reimbursing their medical expenses. However, this is just the timeline after the policy’s initial purchase. If you plan to purchase health insurance today, all claims for hospitalisations can be made post-30 days.
The Indian Government is working relentlessly to help the missing middle catch up and avail health insurance benefits. So, if you haven’t purchased one already, don’t delay contacting your insurer! Make a list of questions to clarify doubts and confirm pre-requisites, if any. Your proactive approach will help keep you and your family safe from unexpected COVID-19 medical expenses!
COVID-19 might not be as bad anymore, but its risk has definitely not disappeared. If you still haven’t bought health insurance, it’s about time you do! Simply head over to the Bajaj Markets website or download the app and choose a policy from a host of insurance providers. Each policy comes with its own benefits and could provide you access to an extensive network of network hospitals for cashless treatment. Insure yourself and your family today!