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Should you buy a Coronavirus-specific insurance policy?

The Covid-19 outbreak is not just a public health emergency but has also shaken the businesses, financial markets, travel industry, and overall global economy. All of these consequences also had an impact on insurance coverage. People out there want to know if the health cover protects them if they get tested positive for Covid-19, or if their travel insurance covers them if they need to cancel their trips and if their life insurance covers them if their conditions get critical or die from novel coronavirus.

On the other hand, with the havoc of coronavirus and an increased number of affected cases across the world, the health insurers put their cards up rolling out the COVID-specific policies. These policies are fixed benefit products and are being offered at attractive premiums. The big players of the insurance game have flooded the market with their COVID-specific products covering a variety of benefits and exclusions, ranging from the quarantine coverage to per day cash provision and no pre-medical check-ups to considering overseas travel history.

In UAE, Dubai Health Authority licensed health facilities received a January 30 circular that states “based on the directives received from the Ministry of Health and Prevention, all the cases (both suspected and confirmed) should be considered as emergency cases”.

So, if the patient is insured by the Health insurance in Dubai then the insurance companies will honor the claims received and if the patient is uninsured and falls under suspected or confirmed case then he/she will still not bear any payment of medical costs at healthcare facilities. This is said to be applicable throughout the UAE.

So, if you are planning on buying one such COVID-specific insurance policy, here are few things you need to know that will also help you decide if you actually should buy a Coronavirus specific insurance policy or not?

  • A glance at what theses COVID-specific insurance covers offer

If you are tested positive and getting treated in a private hospital requiring ventilator support for 15-20 days, then in such cases all the medical expenses should be met from your pocket and a basic health cover can serve a much better purpose here.

Another thing you can count on is that most of these COVID-specific plans provide a lump sum amount on diagnosis and it can be used as per one’s discretion. Most of the plans available in the market will help you in a confined manner, while some of them provide 50% of the sum assured for the quarantine if you were to require isolation and intensive care.

  • The sum insured and the exclusions of the COVID-specific health insurance policies

The cost of treatment depends on the severity of the condition. Most of the defined-benefit health insurance policies will get you the complete sum insured but the claim making requirements vary from company to company and policy to policy.  It is important to consider all the aspects and take a close look at the fine print before you zero-in on any COVID-specific policy. Since these policies come with a host of exclusions there is very little chance of the policyholder to file a claim. Most of the policies offered are valid for a period of one year that may come with the exclusions like no travel history to certain countries and individuals with symptoms like cough, cold, shortness of breath, etc., Also few policies do not allow the policyholders to make a claim before 24 hours of hospitalization.

  • Who should look forward to buying it?

It is highly advisable for everyone to have a regular health cover. If you do not have a health policy then consider buying such a policy but only after understanding the exclusions. Be it a basic health cover or a COVID-specific one, they are designed with several exclusions, and therefore, it is a must for an individual to carefully understand the product before purchasing. It is always better to have something that could cover your medical expenses rather than having nothing at all. The health cover can at least some cost of treatment gets covered in case of being tested positive.

Take away

Always go for a standard healthy policy that ensures adequate sum. If the cost of the treatment is high, the policy will get you covered with almost all of your expenses. Most of the health insurance policies cover pre and post-hospitalization expenses. However, if you think the sum insured may not suffice then you can consider buying a top-up. If the policyholder has other pre-existing ailments, then he/she may not get covered in a benefit-based policy for COVID-19. Although UAE assures to apply the free health care policy to all the suspected and confirmed novel coronavirus cases, getting covered by a regular health plan or a COVID-specified health cover in such testing times would be a wise decision.

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