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Home / Money / Personal Finance /  Five health insurance lessons from the covid pandemic

Covid-19 has shaken up the world in more ways than one. As we all try to adapt to a new normal in the aftermath of this health crisis, it is important to ask ourselves: Is my health insurance adequate?

This is a very pertinent question to ask because we have all heard horror stories of how hospitalization costs of more than one family member infected by covid-19 has meant that a family has had to dip into their life’s savings to meet those costs, because the health insurance coverage was not enough.

Against this backdrop, here are five important health insurance lessons to learn from the pandemic.

Ensure adequate sum assured: The pandemic has taught us how important it is to have adequate health coverage. “With medical inflation rising by more than 50%, i.e. from 4.39% in 2017-18 to 7.14% in 2018-19, people are slowly getting their minds around the fact that a health cover of 5 lakh- 10 lakh is inadequate," says Amit Chhabra, head - health insurance, Policybazaar.com. Therefore, he advises to go for higher cover policies. Just by paying 20% more, you get 10 times more coverage than your regular plan, with additional benefits and features.

Also, as more and more customers are inclined to buy health insurance with a high sum insured amid the ongoing pandemic, the payment of premiums on EMI option is now available on these plans. “With the flexibility to pay the premium in instalments, it becomes more accessible and affordable for customers," says Chhabra.

Review floater policies: The chance of more than one member of the family falling ill simultaneously means that existing floater policies may not be enough. “If you go for a floater policy, the overall sum assured should be high enough to accommodate multiple members of the same family falling ill simultaneously. Alternatively, one may also purchase multiple floater policies with each covering different family members to ensure that enough cover is there for everyone," says Chenthil Iyer, a Sebi-registered investment adviser.

This may also help reduce the premium outflow since it is calculated on the basis of the eldest member in the group.

Consider co-pay and room rent limits: Health insurance policies come with co-pay and room rent limits. “Both mean you could end up paying part of the healthcare expense in a situation where you need to make a claim on your insurance policy," says Mayank Kale, chief executive officer and founder, Loop Health. Policies come with these features to lower premium. “Though it may cost you some extra premium, it is better to go for policies without any sub-limits and co-payment so that you wouldn’t have to think too much about arranging for money by liquidating investments if and when such an event happens. The peace of mind is well worth the additional cost," says Iyer.

Avoid covid-19 specific policies: There are several covid-19 specific policies available in the market. However, it is important to remember that covid is not an exclusion in any health policy and is hence covered without exemption. If you have adequate health insurance, a specific covid-19 policy is not recommended. “It is better to go for a comprehensive health insurance policy with a higher cover, as covid is now bringing along a lot of other diseases also which a covid specific policy will not cover," says Chhabra.

Do not depend on employee cover: People rely on very small coverage offered by employers. This is not a good idea, and everyone should maintain their own health insurance policy alongside. “A pandemic comes with the risk of losing one’s job as well and in such a circumstance, if one relies only on employer’s insurance, it may result in zero coverage when the disease hits you," says Iyer.

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