A health insurance policy for COVID-19 patients- “Corona Kavach” – How is it better from other policies.

In the past few months, due to the mass spread of COVID-19 buying a health insurance cover has been tough. This health insurance policy is only for individuals who are showing even minor flu-like symptoms. To tackle the crisis, a COVID specific product – “Corona Kavach”– has been designed by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA). This policy has already entered the market with around 30 generals and health insurers, who are mandated to offer this policy by IRDA. while some insurers currently don’t pay for the cost of personal protective equipment (PPE’s), and other hygiene-related products, which increases the hospital bills. The Corona Kavach policy includes the payment for PPEs, gloves, masks, and hygiene-related expenses. The minimum sum insured under this policy is Rs. 50,000 and a maximum of Rs. 5,00,000, in the multiples of 50,000. 

Corona Kavach policy is available for individual and family floater basis, for the age group of between 18 to 65 years. It can be availed for self, spouse, parents, parents-in-law, and dependent children of three months upto 25 years. The policy tenure is of 3.5 months, 6.5 months, or 9.5 months, with the waiting period of 15 days. The health insurance rules such as lifelong policies, renewability is not acceptable. This policy includes the cost of the treatment for any co-morbid conditions along with the treatment of COVID-19. 

According to this policy, there are no sub-limits on the room rent – which is an advantage. Usually, patients experience the pressure of room rent on bills results in out-of-pocket expenditure. Another worrisome matter is the cost of nurses and doctor fees. Corona Kavach is an indemnity-based policy but optional cover will be available on a benefits basis. This policy has an optional daily cash cover where insurers have to pay only 0.5% of the money insured for every 24 hours of hospitalization. The benefit will be payable for up to 15 days policy period. 

Not only this policy cover the hospital expenses but also the cost of at-home treatment, providing a continuous active line of treatment and monitoring by the medical practitioner. 

IRDA left it to insurance companies to decide the premium. The public sector insurers such as Oriental Insurance and United India Insurance has priced the product at the lower end of the spectrum whereas Go Digit and Star Health are using a conservative approach, by pricing its product at the higher end.

For Example, Oriental Insurance, for an individual between the age group of 36 to 40 years, with the sum insured of 5Lakh and tenure of 9.5 months, has priced the base product at Rs. 1,286 plus taxes. On the other hand, Go Digital Insurance has priced the product at Rs. 17,573 plus taxes. United India Insurance and Star Health have priced it at Rs. 2,029, and Rs. 5,172, respectively, excluding taxes. 

Other than the 5% discount is mandated by the regulator for healthcare workers. There are additional discounts offered by some companies if they choose a family floater plan and the purchase is made online. 

While this policy could be very fruitful for uninsured, if you already have adequate health cover, you could give this product a miss. Supposedly, if you already have Rs. 10Lakh plus coverage, there is no need to supplement your policy with Corona Kavach. But if you are under-covered, then going for COVID policy which is less expensive will definitely help. 

Buying the policy at this time makes sense especially if the person is dealing with cash crunch!

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