While the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has proposed a benefit-based policy for the treatment of covid-19, insurers such as ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd are adding covid-19-specific benefits and features to their existing health insurance plans.
All existing and new policyholders of ICICI Lombard General Insurance’s Complete Health Insurance, Health Booster, group policies, and Health Care Plus will have the new benefits at no extra cost.
ICICI Lombard has reduced the waiting period to cover covid-19 from 30 days to 15 days. In other words, you will get a cover for covid-19 after 15 days of buying a policy.
Moreover, in case of a hospitalization claim due to covid-19, the no-claim bonus (NCB) benefit will not get impacted.
The insurer has also added the home healthcare feature to cater to policyholders who may not require hospitalization or want to avoid hospitalization in order to maintain social distancing. The home healthcare benefit will be applicable till 31 March 2021.
With hospitals flooding with covid-19 patients in metros such as Mumbai and Delhi, hospitalization for someone with mild to medium symptoms may not be possible, as authorities may advise home isolation or treatment. That’s where this feature could come to your rescue.
Besides covid-19 treatment, the home healthcare feature will cover the cost of treatment for all kinds of fever, acute gastroenteritis, respiratory and urinary tract infections, asthma, post-operative care, physiotherapy and wound care. However, it’ll not cover the management of co-morbid conditions, speech and behavioural therapy, treatment at OPD, unmanageable behavioural issues and neurorehabilitation.
“If you are at home and are asymptomatic or have symptoms such as only a mild fever which means there aren’t any big expenses then the benefit won’t kick in. However, if you require assistance such as doctor’s supervision, paramedic and so on, then you can make a claim," said Sanjeev Mantri, executive director, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd.
If the policyholders avail of the home healthcare service through Lombard’s network healthcare providers, they can gethe cashless claim facility. Others can reimburse their bills but will have to intimate the insurer as soon as the home healthcare service commences.
“I think these are great benefits, especially the home healthcare feature for covid-19 in light of the shortage of hospital beds in cities," said Mahavir Chopra, founder, Beshak.org, an independent research platform for insurance buyers.
“The fact that NCB remains unaffected and reduction in the waiting period is an advantage because the infection is spreading fast and many people could end up contracting it," said Chopra.
He expects most other insurers to follow suit.