Remember what the year 2019 was like? Yes, those golden pre-corona days with no eminent threats looming over your life. And then nature cast its die with COVID-19 knocking on our doors. This virus infected people across the globe, affecting life as we knew it. We witnessed sudden lockdowns, adjusted to the brand-new work-from-home and online classes, and lived in constant fear. It is impossible to forget the challenges that have been thrown your way these past three years. Corona has changed our world forever and we must accept it in this new colour.
COVID-19 changed many things for us right, from exercise to work preferences. Digitisation received a much-needed boost; people started adding Pilates and Yoga to their routines to maintain their fitness, while significant changes in economics were also noted. The health sector was impacted the most as it was tasked with finding the cure for this novel ailment. Rising cases made people realise the need for excellent financial backup in case of a medical emergency. With a large number of hospitalisations and increasing medical treatment costs, the average person also realised that health insurances need an upgrade. This has led to major changes in medical insurance that you might be unaware of. Would you like to know what these are? Let’s get right to it then.
One of the greatest changes insurance policies made is to include COVID-19-related costs in their coverage. These now include hospitalisation and treatment expenses after witnessing the effect of such pandemics and endemics on one’s health and finances. Some companies have created new products specifically to tackle such medical emergencies. The IRDAI further made it mandatory for all insurance companies in India to develop corona-specific plans.
Healthcare plans have grown to become more comprehensive and inclusive over time. They are now structured to provide coverage for pre-existing ailments. Home care treatments and OPD visit expenses have been added to some policies while keeping in the experiences of the COVID-19 era. Comprehensive sets of daycare procedures are further included in the plan. These have reduced the burden of piling hefty bills for the everyday man and have ensured that you can get the required treatment without any worries.
The pandemic was an eye-opener for all those who believed that health problems arise only after you cross a certain threshold in life. Corona went against the common belief that only older people fall sick easily. The world realised that your health can be impacted at any stage of life, be it infancy or retirement. Hence, it is imperative that the younglings get insurance just like senior citizens and adults.
In 2020-2021, TATA AIG recently observed a 39% growth in fresh health policies issued to those between 0 to 35 years of age compared to 2018-2019. This indicates that the citizens of India have also realised the need to have good medical coverage from an early age. To cater to this requirement, insurance providers have launched multiple low-premium plans. These come with additional benefits like instalment payment options and broader coverage. Getting medical insurance beforehand is a good idea, as a disaster like the pandemic can strike at any given moment.
While the world continues to modernise, health insurance has gone through its own path of progress and change. One thing that was immensely impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic was connectivity. The lockdown imposed across the globe protected us from the further spread of the virus while restricting our communications with the world. The fear of further spread even restricted some of us to stay at home rather than going to a hospital to get diagnosed with other diseases.
It was crucial that people be able to contact their doctors from the comfort of their homes for the safety of world citizens and themselves. Here, teleconsultations played a massive role in helping people get diagnosed quicker without leaving their homes. The insurance policies were then modified to include these in their covers to provide the facility to hundreds of people to get treatments and cures without having to visit the extremely busy hospitals and clinics.
Disconnecting from others and the world also led to a considerable rise in mental health issues. As per a study conducted by the World Health Organization, the pandemic led to a 25% rise in the prevalence of depression and anxiety across the globe. The Mental Health Act of 2017 provides guidelines for treating mental disorders. Under it, the IRDAI made it compulsory for insurance companies to extend their coverage towards mental illnesses in 2018. While this mandate was drafted in India before the pandemic, it was finally brought into effect on 1st November 2022. This is due to the rising awareness of mental health problems during the lockdown and the need to get them treated by highly skilled and trained professionals. These advancements in medical covers have helped ease the pressure of high-cost treatments for mental health problems.
Digitisation has been a great driving force behind multiple industries. The insurance sector is no different. From buying a new policy to claim settlement, everything has been made 100 times easier with the help of advancing technology. You can now analyse, compare, and select the policy of your choice online. Moreover, you can also apply for it conveniently with all formalities having taken a digital turn. So, let go of the hassle of physical documentation. Even the signatures required, and issuance has become entirely digital. Time taken for claim settlements has been brought down to about 30 minutes with help from some insure-tech companies. Chatbots, screen sharing, and so on are now available to provide effective contactless assistance. The emerging digital health lockers are a great boon as they help record and maintain all your medical records in one place, streamlining your health insurance process.
Customers are always on the lookout for something tailored to their needs. Who knew even insurance policies could get so flexible? Health plans have now advanced, offering multiple payment options, online transactions, and innovative products. Contactless purchase and hassle-free renewal policy renewal are also appreciated by this generation, which is now accustomed to social distancing.
Some companies have lowered their premium rates and extended their services to cover COVID-19 treatment costs and so on. Meanwhile, others have taken this opportunity to develop budget-friendly targeted products. The concept of pocket insurance has gained momentum with policies aimed at specific requirements, even in medicine. Products like Angioplasty Indemnity Cover, Infection Cover, Burns Cover, and Gym Injury Cover provide monetary assistance in case of specific accidents and incidents. These have gained popularity as they fit into the common man’s budget and provide substantial coverage. Bajaj Markets is one place to check out such products and more.
Health insurance has grown by leaps and bounds in the last three years to encompass all your needs and requirements. COVID-19 has impacted us all in unique ways. What remains common for us all is the ability to overcome it all, just like your health care plan. Don’t have your own medical insurance yet? Don’t wait! Hurry and go on Bajaj Markets! Choose from a wide range of offers and service providers. Analyse and compare your options before picking the plan which checks all your boxes. Apply and insure your health now!