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Are covid-specific policies good option as Irdai extends validity?

Are covid-specific policies good option as Irdai extends validity?

Given the continuing situation of the covid-19 pandemic, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has further extended the validity for sale and renewal of short-term covid-specific health insurance policies.

Accordingly, Corona Kavach policies (offered as covid standard indemnity-based health policy) and Corona Rakshak policies (offered as covid standard benefit-based health policy) are also permitted to be offered and renewed by all insurers up to 31 March 2022.

Currently, the short-term covid-specific health policies issued under these guidelines have remained valid until the end of the current month, 30 September. Short-term covid-specific health policies are offered for tenures of 105 days, 195 days and 285 days, respectively.

Sanjiv Bajaj, joint chairman and managing director, Bajaj Capital, said that in June 2020, the regulator had asked insurers to come up with need-based policies covering the cost of treatment of coronavirus infection. At that time, all insurers (lifegeneral and health insurers) were allowed to offer covid- specific, short-term health insurance policies subject to short-term covid-specific health insurance policies guidelines.

Bajaj further said, “Such short-term health policies were to be issued for a term of less than one year, and the guidelines were valid till 30 September. Now, the regulator has further extended the timeline, and all insurers are allowed to offer and renew short-term, covid-specific health insurance policies by up to 31 March 2022.”

Weigh your decision: Covid-specific insurance policies are a good example of standardized products launched in the wake of the pandemic to safeguard the masses from a specific infection.

However, comprehensive health insurance policies also provide coverage for covid-19 infection and complete healthcare support for other medical requirements. Hence, if a person already has a comprehensive health policy, he/she might not need a covid-19 specific plan separately.

Naval Goel, chief executive officer, PolicyX.com, said that while covid-19 specific policies are designed for a short duration and incur an expense for covid-19 hospitalization, comprehensive health plans also cover hospitalization in makeshift facilities or homecare treatments, depending on the policies that extend the bandwidth of the coverage.

“Additionally, the comprehensive health insurance policies now come with additional riders that allow the coverage of non-payable items such as PPE kits, gloves and masks. This can further prepare the comprehensive policies ready to deal with the covid-19 treatment,” said Goel. Moreover, comprehensive health policies are also liable to manage hospitalization expenses if covid-19 vaccination causes adverse effects, which is not available in covid standard policies.

However, suppose a person doesn’t want to use up comprehensive health insurance policies for covid-19 treatment, they can opt for such standard, short-term, covid-specific policies as they won’t affect the sum insured of their comprehensive policies. The covid-19 standardized policy will incur the expense of the covid-19 related treatment.

Adding to it, Aatur Thakkar, co-founder and director, Alliance Insurance Brokers, said covid-specific policies have more benefits at a low-cost premium.

“One should go for these short-term, covid-specific policies if one doesn’t have a comprehensive policy,” he added.

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