While the pandemic is creating havoc in the country, people are getting more and more scared. This fear is now leading to a lot of questions in one’s head. One amongst them is what after you contract the virus? What if you die due to this virus? Will you be able to afford the treatment? Will the life insurance benefit you in this era of pandemic? Well, here’s what you need to know.
While the older insurance policies of general health insurance excluded the coverage of an epidemic, the Insurance Regulatory Authority Development Authority (IRDAI) has said that these policies will now cover Covid-19.
The regulator, in an earlier circular, had said coronavirus treatment would be covered like any other illness under products where hospitalisation is covered. If an individual passes away due to the coronavirus and has a life insurance policy, the nominee of the policy will get the sum assured as the death benefit.
According to the guidelines, while the insurance will cover the death caused by the virus of an existing policy-holder, the case of fresh applicants or the applications in process, the insurer might consider your current health and medical conditions to determine the premiums apart from holding or rejecting an application if an applicant has already contracted the virus.
There’s another possibility where the insurance company can deny the coverage. A lot of life insurers don't cover critical illnesses in their policies. It is believed that most of the life insurance policies don't explicitly deny payment or benefit for deaths caused by any illness.
However, one will need to consider the conditions of the life insurance policy add-ons, whose benefits will be paid out only if those conditions are adhered to. For instance, for life insurance policies with critical illness benefits, claims may not be entertained in an instance where medical advice was not adhered to/by the policyholder.
However, every policyholder should look over the exclusions of their life insurance policy carefully to know of the various situations where they will not be covered.
A few insurance companies have approached the IRDA for an approval of issuing a separate policy for Covid-19. Star Health and Allied Insurance Company are offering Star Novel Coronavirus Insurance Policy — a product that provides lump sum benefit to the insured, aged between 18 to 65 years, who is hospitalised and diagnosed positive with Covid-19.
This recently launched plan can be bought online, without pre-medical screenings. It is also made available for anybody with an international travel history. While most insurers have come up with exclusive policies for Covid-19, there's also the new standard health insurance policy 'Arogya Sanjeevani' for all 29 general/health insurance companies, with the cost of premium roughly about Rs 1,000 for every Rs 1 lakh of coverage.
Meanwhile, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the government will provide an insurance cover of Rs 50 lakh for 90 days to a total of around 2.2 million public healthcare providers, including community health workers, who may have to be in direct contact and care of Covid-19 patients and who may be at risk of being impacted by this. It will also include accidental loss of life on account of contracting Covid-19.
However, these policies are inapplicable to workers in the informal sector, leaving them vulnerable. An insurance scheme for the poor called the ‘Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana’ under the National Health Authority (NHA), has been instructed to tighten their protocol and provide health packages for the financially weaker sections of society.