With the country focused on re-opening the economy while fending off a pandemic simultaneously, there have been serious concerns about how to protect oneself from COVID-19. In an effort to reassure the public, the insurance industry has developed two new offerings to help customers cope with the possible financial burden that testing positive for COVID-19 could lead to. 

A per the instructions of the Indian Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), all insurance companies will be offering two new coronavirus specific insurance products called Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak

Under Corona Rakshak, should the insured test positive for coronavirus and is hospitalized for up to three days, the hospitalization costs up the insured sum will be paid out by the insuring company. Corona Kavach, which is somewhat more comprehensive than Corona Rakshak, will cover the costs of treating coronavirus as well as any co-morbid or pre-existing conditions for a tenure spanning between 3.5-9.5 months. 

The premium rates for the plans will be released on July 10th, 2020, the same days the plans are launched nationwide. There is much speculation regarding the premium rates and whether they would be able to match the affordability of the Aarogya Sanjeevini Policy, a standard health insurance policy which was launched by the IRDAI earlier this year on April 1st, 2020, and has much wider coverage. 

The great thing about these initiatives by the IRDAI is that there is a conscious effort being put into making insurance more affordable and the terms and conditions simpler to understand for the everyday Indian. 

At a time like this, knowing that the finances will not be an issue if you were to test positive for COVID makes stepping out of the house just a little bit less stressful so these two insurance products are a good fit at a time like this. Those who can afford more comprehensive coverage should most definitely opt for Corona Kavach while those who don’t have the finances in place for it are still encouraged to get Corona Rakshak to keep themselves protected at least from COVID-19.

Purchasing coronavirus specific insurance, however, is just a start; these plans have been designed to quickly address the current pandemic but they have their limitations. The tenure is less than a year, there are eligibility criteria in place like with any other insurance and the coverage amount will definitely have a cap on it. These products cover you for a while, but you still have the rest of your life to think of.

A regular health insurance plan, which you should be considering purchasing, as a priority if possible, gives you the option of maximum coverage against all kinds of conditions with a much higher insured sum. This not only covers the basic hospitalization costs but also pre-hospitalization costs (CT scans, x-rays and sonography), post-hospitalization costs (medicines, tests, etc), ambulance charges, daily cash allowances (some plans even cover the cost of food and transportation) and day-care treatment that doesn’t require long-term hospitalization.    

There are also multiple benefits like lifetime renewability (being able to renew the policy for your lifetime), cashless treatment (as mentioned in yesterday’s post, insurance companies have affiliated hospitals where you can receive treatment without paying cash upfront), and family floater plans (being able to cover your whole family under one plan). Most regular insurance plans also cover coronavirus treatment as per the IRDAI’s instructions but for the few that don’t, you can simply add-on to your policy with coronavirus specific insurance. 

So what’s the takeaway?

If you really can’t afford a regular insurance plan, the coronavirus specific insurance plans being launched on July 10th by the IRDAI might be the perfect fit for you and are worth considering. It is a great way to protect yourself against the medical costs associated with coronavirus. 

That being said, what these plans are not are a replacement for regular health insurance. If you can afford a comprehensive health insurance policy, you most certainly should invest in it for yourself and your family at the earliest. Though the current pandemic is the immediate cause for concern, it is most certainly not the only thing you need to be protected from. What you spend on it today can come back to you ten-fold during a medical emergency. 

Note to the reader: As mentioned in the article, most health insurance policies do provide for coronavirus treatment but many customers are unaware of this. If you’re already holding a health insurance policy and considering purchasing coronavirus insurance separately, please do check with your current health insurance provider whether your current policy covers treatment for coronavirus.