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Do you have a Corona cover?

by Money Puzzle   ·  June 15, 2021   ·  

Do you have a Corona cover?

by Money Puzzle   ·  June 15, 2021   ·  

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Aptly named Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak, these are insurance plans which don’t protect you from the disease, rather they help you manage the expenses related to hospitalization if you get a severe bout of the viral infection.

While it’s true that the bulk of the Covid infected population does not need hospitalization, but if you are one of the few who do your expenses can be managed well with the help of either of these notified insurance policies.

What are the options?

Both of these insurance policies have been mandated by the Insurance and Regulatory Authority of India, IRDA, to be included in the product basket of general insurers in India. Corona Kavach was formulated with the objective of covering hospitalization, pre and post hospitalization expenses and home care treatment related to Covid -19 infection.

Corona Rakshak will give you a benefit equal to the sum assured if the due to Covid -19 you require hospitalisation of 72  hours or more.

The features for both these policies are slightly different and depending on what your requirement is, you can go for either or both.

How they stack up?

Both the policies have a similar waiting period of 15 days. Which means, after being allotted the policy you will be able to put in a claim only once 15 days have gone by. The cover under Corona Kavach is a minimum of Rs 50,000 and can go up to Rs 5 lakh. Whereas, under Corona  Rakshak it is a minimum of Rs 50,000 and can go up to Rs 2.5 lakh.

The biggest difference is that Corona Kavach reimburses the costs you incur including room charges, charges for isolation, supportive care, oxygen, PPE requirements, dedicated hospital stuff, ICU charges (if any) and waste management. In the case of Corona Rakshak, the lumpsum amount equal to the sum assured is paid out as a claim.

Moreover, a claim under Corona Kavach can be initiated on hospitalisation of 24 hours and for Corona Rakshak you have to wait for 72 hours of continuous hospitalisation.

Both of these are temporary policies which come to an end once a claim has been settled. You can get a cover for a minimum period of 3.5 months and a maximum period of 9.5 months.

Corona Kavach will cover hospitalisation for co-morbidities even if it is a known pre-existing disease. Plus, if you have been prescribed hospitalisation but aren’t able to get a bed and create a hospital-like arrangement at home you can put in a claim for that too. For this, you will need a valid doctor’s prescription note.

The premium for these policies can be as low as Rs 500 or as high as Rs 5000 a month or higher depending on the policy term, your age, sum assured and pre-existing co-morbidities. There are roughly 10-11 Corona Kavach policies offered by various insurers and 3-4 Corona Rakshak policies. You can go to online websites of general insurers or aggregator insurance portals to check the pricing.

What should you do…

… If you already have a medical cover from work or personal health insurance:

Despite this, it is advisable to get a Corona Kavach policy in place as it accounts for specific Covid-19 related costs. While the cover from your work may cover hospitalisation charges, costs like PPE, isolation and waste management etc which are specific to Covid-19 may be deducted from room charges. Secondly, many policies come with limits on room rent and if you need special care, isolation or ICU, charges may not be covered under your medical cover from work.

These charges will then go out of your pocket.

It’s best to get a Corona Kavach policy in place first and then if you feel you need an additional cover because of high co-morbidities you can go for Corona Rakshak too.

Both these policies are temporary and specific in nature they do not compensate for the need of a regular permanent health insurance.

You still may not get the entire claim amount

Lastly, despite the comprehensive nature of the policy cover, the claim settlement is not a guarantee. Insurers have come together in these times to invoke the reasonable and customary charges clause, given that there health care regulation is not water tight. Hospitals are not really regulated as far as costs and charges are concerned. As a result, insurance companies have gotten together and put down a list of standardised costs for things like PPE suits, ICU beds, ventilator costs, oxygen costs and so on. They have even spelt out exactly what can be covered in room costs for Covid-19 related hospitalisation, lest the costs get elevated by the hospitals.

Unfortunately, hospitals and insurers are not in agreement over these boundaries. Additional charges above the agreed-upon standard costs as per the insurers will have to be paid out of pocket by you. Nevertheless, having some cushion thanks to an insurance policy is better than having nothing.

We are just about getting out of the second wave of Covid-19 and there is no telling when a third or fourth wave might hit us.

The one learning of the last one and half years in the pandemic has been the importance of being prepared. A Corona Kavach policy is the least you can do to be prepared for any hospitalisation related exigency arising from an unexpected Covid infection. There is no substitute for good immunity to fight the Covid infection, but at least you can get the benefit of reimbursement for hospital expenses incurred for this virulent infection.

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