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Health insurance is an important financial tool designed to protect yourself from medical treatment expenses in the event of a disease or accident. Over the last few years, the health insurance market has witnessed an expansion, encouraged by the Covid-19 pandemic that pushed the world into a lockdown for a large portion of 2020 and 2021.
The pandemic highlighted the importance of having a comprehensive health insurance plan that protects you in case of unforeseen medical emergencies. Given that we continue to live in a post-Covid world with the threat of more pandemics looming around us, getting adequate health insurance coverage has become ever-important. However, you must take into account certain factors while purchasing a health insurance policy to ensure that the plan you are committing to is fully pandemic-proof.
Here are five factors to consider while purchasing health insurance during a pandemic:
1. Adequate coverage
The primary idea behind a health insurance policy is to compensate your pre and post-hospitalisation expenses. To ensure that the majority of costs are covered, the policy must include an adequate insured amount and favourable terms such as a minimum waiting period. You never know when a pandemic-related medical emergency might knock on your door- having a health insurance plan with a low waiting period can help ensure you don’t eat into your savings getting medical treatment.
Additionally, the insurance plan must cover daycare treatment procedures. Some policies require you to be hospitalised for over 24 hours to qualify for a claim settlement. But with the rise in technology and healthcare infrastructure, specific procedures may need you to spend only a short time in the hospital. Your insurance plan must take such scenarios into account.
Care health insurance’s Corona Kavach policy aims at providing adequate cover to frontline and healthcare workers, in addition to those with weak immunity who are prone to infections.
2. Scope for customisation
While purchasing health insurance during a pandemic, choosing a policy that provides additional coverage and top-ups is always a good idea. You can customise your health insurance to suit your demands by selecting a scalable policy. This can range from planning for diseases stemming from pre-existing conditions or adding maternity benefits that may not be a part of the original policy.
3. Coverage includes home treatment
The Covid-19 pandemic proved that health does not fall into the 'one size fits all’ category. Different people suffering from the same illness may need different levels of care. For instance, certain asymptomatic and mild cases of Covid infection may not require hospitalisation but extensive home care. But even home treatment involves medical expenses in the form of masks, devices such as pulse oximeters, and over-the-counter medicines. In such cases, a comprehensive policy can offer relief from the mounting costs of home treatment that may seem negligible initially but add up to a substantial sum.
Additionally, your insurance policy needs to cover pre-hospitalisation and post-hospitalisation expenses. Insurance policies have a timeframe (in both cases) during which your costs are covered. The wider the timeframe, the better it is for you as a policyholder.
Care health insurance offers plans tailored for coronavirus-related medical expenses. Care health insurance’s plans cover quarantine coverage, in-patient care, and has a waiting period of only 15 days.
4. Ease of claim settlement
Health insurance aims to ease the financial pressure in an emergency medical situation. A tedious claim settlement process can defeat the purpose of a health insurance policy. A critical factor in choosing a policy is a relatively simple and hassle-free claim settlement process. So, an insurer with a high claim settlement ratio suggests better chances of an easy settlement.
Moreover, some insurance providers offer incentives to policyholders who have yet to claim the settlement for the policy year. This incentive, known as the No Claim Bonus, is usually in the form of an additional sum assured and can help increase the overall coverage amount of the policy.
Cashless hospitalisation is another feature that will significantly benefit you during a pandemic. Here, expenses are settled directly between the hospital and the insurance provider without you playing the middleman.
Factors such as co-payment clauses and sub-limits can also affect your claim settlement. Co-payment is a breakdown of expenses payable by you and the share to be paid by the insurance provider. On the other hand, sub-limits are the maximum amount that can be claimed for a particular medical procedure/treatment. These values play a pivotal role in determining your insurance compensation. Therefore, you must study them carefully.
5. Coverage for miscellaneous medical expenses
It is essential to understand that medical treatments and health insurance do not begin and end at the hospital. As mentioned above, some health conditions may need prolonged and comprehensive home treatment. So, your health insurance policy, especially in a pandemic, must extend to the hidden costs of medical treatment. This includes components such as the cost of disposables like masks, ambulance services, doctor's fees, teleconsultation fees, and mental health therapy fees. These components are often neglected and can add to your medical bill in a big way.
The Bottom Line
In a pandemic, you should protect yourself with a health insurance plan that is comprehensive, flexible, and easy to navigate. With many health insurance policies available in the market, the intelligent thing to do is compare the benefits, offers, and scope of the various policies. The terms and conditions and factors such as co-payment clauses and cashless hospitalisation can make all the difference between a good health insurance plan and an ineffective one.