Opinion: Why to opt for Health and Life insurance policies during COVID times?

Ankit Agarwal, Managing Director, Alankit limited

There is no question that addressing the adverse effects of the global pandemic is the first priority of every Government and individuals across the world. Each of us has been making our efforts to suppressing the virus and saving the lives of our friends & relatives, healthcare professionals, and frontline workers. The rapid evolution of the Coronavirus pandemic makes it challenging to measure the tragic effects of its economic, human, and geopolitical consequences with certainty.

With the global economy reeling from the COVID crisis, one certainty, however, is that it brings forth the importance of health. If the humanitarian crisis reinforced something concrete, it was the need for life and medical insurance. Given the severity of the ongoing situation, it presents an occasion to think about how health & life cover insurance can act as a safe harbor in uncertain times. Health & Life insurance had always been there, but during the pandemic, the need has become more apparent undoubtedly.

Health emergencies might strike any member of your family and not to mention, it has become extremely difficult to buy life or/and health insurance covers instantly. The reason it has become quite challenging is that many insurance companies require a waiting period of around 30 to 90 days if a COVID survivor applies for a life or/and medical insurance policy. Further, there is a possibility that insurers may ask policyholders to go for additional medical tests.

As a result of the global health crisis, it has become a dire need to choose effective insurance policies – both health and life. Given the intense affects of the health crisis, some existing life/medical insurance policies introduced by different companies have COVID-treatment costs covered. There are different indemnity-based health insurance policies, drawing a lot of attention from potential policyholders as they address COVID-related health issues.

Also Read: Optimizing use of digital channels significant to combat COVID: Ankit Agarwal, Alankit Ltd

Post approval from IRDAI, various health policies launched by different companies enable comprehensive coverage to the insured if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 that includes hospitalization expenses, pre, and post-hospitalization expenses, medical expenses incurred towards Ayush treatment, etc. Additionally, with such COVID-coverage policies, policyholders don’t have long waiting periods compared to waiting period for other comprehensive medical plans.

However, considering the challenges posed by the Coronavirus outbreak, individuals can consider opting for a basic term plan that safeguards their family financially after their death. While the Coronavirus pandemic has created a lot of chaos, it is advised to invest in a policy that ensures your savings don’t take a major hit in case of an unforeseen health emergency and help you recover from substantial loss(if any). It is also recommended to check out short-term medical insurance policies launched by insurer that are tailored to cover COVID-related expenses only.

At a granular level, it is unarguable that COVID-19 will continue to loom around the world for long, boosting the demand for health & life insurance plans. With increasing awareness & demand for the best & cost-efficient insurance policies, smooth & quick claim settlement remains a major concern for both insurance companies and policyholders. The current situation has propelled the insurance industry towards digitization to simplify customer services and expedite claim settlement processes. With the onset of the digital era, the easiest way to obtain your claim is to avail of the cashless facility. Some companies offer WhatsApp-based insurance services and chat bots are hosted by companies to ensure speedy & hassle-free claim settlement along assuring that your hospitalization doesn’t burden you financially (not even on a temporary basis), thus fulfilling the purpose of buying health cover.

Insured individuals can avail of cashless claim settlement facilities at specific network hospitals listed by their insurers. In case of unplanned hospitalization, policyholders must inform their insurers within 24 hours of hospitalization whereas, for planned hospitalization, policyholders can inform the insurance companies prior to hospitalization.

Also, to outline the IRDAI guidelines about the COVID claim settlement system, the turnaround time has reduced by many insurance companies. In case, claims are held up by insurers causing problems to policyholders, policyholders are liable to raise a complaint against their insurer and send it to the regulatory body.

Views expressed in this article are the personal opinion of Ankit Agarwal, Managing Director, Alankit Ltd.

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