The outbreak of the novel coronavirus is believed to be at its peak as the virus has already infected more than 23 million people in different parts of the world. The total death toll is soon expected to cross 1 million mark as the situations turn more grave. With each passing day, several new cases of coronavirus infection are being reported in different parts of India as well, taking the total count of Indian patients to more than 3 million, of which more than 57,000 people have already lost their lives due to COVID-19. While the possibility of invention of a vaccination for coronavirus infection still looks like a far cry, the government is leaving no stone unturned to maximize the usage of existing infrastructure to contain the virus and make sure that minimum people are infected with the novel virus.
While the government continues to play its part, it is also the responsibility of the citizens to take all precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus. One of the most important things we all need to do is stay adequately protected by covering ourselves under a comprehensive health insurance policy. If you get hospitalised for treating the coronavirus infection, your health insurance plan will safeguard medical expense and pay for the treatment cost. You can buy a health insurance policy with an adequate sum insured for as low as Rs 800 – Rs 1,000 per month.
Timely Product Intervention by IRDAI
With the number of people infected with COVID-19 mounting in the country each day, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) mandatorily asked all general and health insurers to come up with a standard individual COVID-19 health insurance plan for the benefit of consumers. The product was precisely designed keeping in mind the healthcare needs of people who cannot afford to pay Rs 800 – Rs 1,000 per month for a health insurance policy with minimum sum insured. Considering the prevailing conditions and in order to make quality healthcare within the reach of each and every one, the IRDAI took an initiative by directing the insurers to come up with a standard health insurance product that provides adequate treatment for COVID-19.
The product is designed keeping in mind people looking for an adequate solution for the treatment of COVID-19. While Corona Kavach is an indemnity-based health plan, Corona Rakshak is a fixed benefit health insurance policy and both these standard health policies address the basic health insurance needs of the people, especially young individuals.
Buying Trends of Standard Health Policies
As per the latest trends, the fear of contracting COVID-19 is pushing more and more individuals to cover themselves under any of these standard health insurance policies. Surprisingly, even people who are already covered under regular health insurance policies are buying these plans for a guaranteed coverage. Between 10th July – when the policies were launched – and 5th August, India’s largest insurance marketplace – PolicyBazaar claims to have sold over 1,000 policies per day, including both individual and family floater plans. The company found the most preferred tenure to be 9.5 months with 70 per cent customers choosing the tenure while buying the policy. Similarly, the most preferred sum insured is Rs 5 lakh, which is the maximum allowed under the policy construct. Amongst Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak, 85 per cent of the customers bought Kavach while 15 per cent chose to cover themselves under Corona Rakshak. According to the company, they are seeing a greater uptake from tier-II and-III cities.
The trend shows that there is huge demand for short-term COVID-19-specific covers, especially among the first-time buyers of health insurance. The uncertainty around the novel coronavirus is driving more and more people to buy health cover for themselves and their families which is available at highly affordable prices. It is believed that both these products have the potential to witness skyrocket sales. However, the awareness around these products is relatively low until now. It will require the industry to invest substantially more in distribution and marketing to achieve its potential. However, it is always suggested to opt for a comprehensive health insurance cover in the long run as it provides you with adequate coverage against all possible ailments along with epidemics like COVID-19. Moreover, there are now even plans available with Rs 1 crore sum insured which cost approximately Rs 10,000 – Rs 12,000 for a 30-year-old individual.
Prices of Corona Specific Plans
You can buy Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak plans as an add-on while buying a term insurance plan. The plan is available for a tenure of 3.5 months, 6.5 months and 9.5 months for a sum insured ranging from Rs 50,000 – Rs 5 Lakh in the multiples of 50,000. The premium of Corona Kavach policy for a 32-year-old individual buying a Rs 5 lakh sum insured plan for 9.5 months’ costs approximately between Rs 1,000 – Rs 1,500, depending upon insurer to insurer.
Amit Chhabra, Head-Health Insurance, Policybazaar.com – Financial Express