The pandemic has already challenged our healthcare systems in various ways and the anxiety surrounding treatment and medical infrastructure in India is causing a lot of panic among citizens. The shortages of facilities and lack of management is more apparent than ever.

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Keeping the situation in mind, the only hope turns to the health insurance policies of our country. Covid-19 seems to be changing the health insurance policies in a positive manner.  

The way things worked earlier in the pre pandemic world was that health insurance policies required the patient to be admitted to a hospital for at least 24 hours for the insurer to cover the bill. But now since many Covid-19 patients are being asked to stay home, the requirement for hospitalization will not be there anymore. 

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One general insurance company rolled out home healthcare benefits recently where they allowed customers to get treated at their residence for any ailments. Some companies have also started covering home healthcare on a case-to-case basis. 

A lot of health experts look at this as a game changer which will hugely reduce the stress on hospitals that are grappling with huge numbers of patients and are unable to accommodate them. 

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Healthcare workers are finding it difficult to cope up with the exponential rise in cases. Therefore, this strategy will only encourage more people to opt for these insurance services.  

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority in India has come up with two standardised Covid-19 health insurance policies which all the non-life and health insurance companies have to mandatorily offer from July 10th.

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One policy, called the Corona Kavach is a policy that covers the disease with a tenure ranging from 3.5 to 9.5 months. The other policy is an optional standard benefit cover which pays out a fixed amount.  

Lastly come the emergency covers. Earlier life insurance companies could sell only long term policies but the regulator has now directed both life and non-life insurers to introduce short-term Covid-19 health covers for a period of 3-11 months. 

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The point of this was to make these policies affordable for those who can simply not afford it or don’t have a health insurance cover. While the changes are pointing towards a positive step, whether these policies will remain a constant even after the pandemic or not, will be the real test.