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Coronavirus — Your health insurance will cover this too

Bavadharini KS, BL Research Bureau | Updated on January 31, 2020 Published on January 31, 2020

In the last five years alone, the world has faced outbreaks of dreaded viruses such as Ebola, Zika, Mers (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome), more recently Nipah, and now Corona. The Corona virus has already infected over 8,000 people globally, mostly in China. In India too, a person was diagnosed with Corona on Thursday. Though it is an isolated incident until now, it is important to understand if your health insurance policy provides cover to treat this infection.

If your health policy is not disease-specific, it can provide cover for hospitalisation and out-patient department (OPD) expenses, irrespective of the disease you are diagnosed for. Bhaskar Nerurkar, Head of Claims, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, says, “A health policy covers for all infections and Corona is one such infection. Coverage will be available from day one of infection in all health insurance policies including ours.”

Besides, since new diseases such as Corona do not fall in the category of pre-existing illnesses, these will be covered by your health policy. Thus, all covers such as in-patient treatment, pre-hospitalisation, post-hospitalisation, OPD and ambulance cover that your health policy provides will be available to you, if you happen to seek treatment for Corona.

How to claim

Health policy claims can be made in two ways — reimbursement and cashless method (where the bills are directly settled by the insurer to the hospitals).

Most insurers offer cashless facility these days. Under this, the insured is not required to pay hospital bills upfront and the insurer settles the bill directly with the hospital (if it is in the network hospital list of the insurer). The insured, though may have to pay charges such as non-medical item expenses (for example soap or shampoo), doctor charges and admission charges.

Do note that there are situations when insurance companies may not be able to provide cashless facility. This is common when a hospital is not networked with the insurer or if your policy does not provide cover for cashless settlement of expenses such as OPD. In such cases, you will have to first pay the bill, and then claim reimbursement from your insurer. The good news is that most health insurance companies these days provide cashless settlement for OPD expenses too.

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Published on January 31, 2020
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