The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone to adapt to the new environment. Regardless of how difficult it was for all in the beginning, the COVID-19 safely regulations have become a part of our daily lives. Be it the social distancing, use of mask or proper sanitization, people have altered their lives to get through this pandemic. Not only the people, the health insurance industry has also undergone major changes to set about the challenges thrown by pandemic. The following changes that help the health insurance companies to provide health insurance to a large public without being exposed to Covid-19 pandemic.COVID-19 Health Insurance Plans- Corona Rakshak and Corona Kavach policy were the two plans launched in India under the direction of IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) which are available for the short-term period of 3.5/6.5 and 9.5 months. It includes all the expenses related to coronavirus and also of the consumables like PPE kit, masks, gloves along with the medical cost arising out of comorbidities.
1. COVID-19 Health Insurance Plans-
Corona Rakshak and Corona Kavach policy were the two plans launched in India under the direction of IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) which are available for the short-term period of 3.5/6.5 and 9.5 months. It includes all the expenses related to coronavirus and also of the consumables like PPE kit, masks, gloves along with the medical cost arising out of comorbidities.
2. Availability of Telemedical Coverage-
Telemedical coverage means the consultancies taken over phone calls, text messages, video conferencing or any other online means. Following the social distancing norm, IRDA suggests it would be best to include Telemedical consultancies in the health insurance plans. Thus, the health insurance companies has now started covering the costs incurred in telemarketing expenses.
3. Introducing Installments in Health Insurance Premiums-
Many economies have been adversely affected by the pandemic, people losing their jobs and causing a financial set back (including India). So, this pandemic has also led to the introduction of installments payments in health insurance premiums. Thus, enabling people to opt for the best health insurance plan with less burden of complete payment on their shoulders.
4. Boost in Online Sales of Health Insurance-
Every industry has witnessed a shift to digitization. The pandemic has taught us that almost every work that required physical presence can be done online. Thus, IRDA enables the online sale of health insurance products with the ease of buying. Now customers could easily renew their policies, do online KYC and complete the process on video calls.
5. No Need of Physical Signatures-
With the online insurance becoming more popular, there is no longer need of physical signatures while buying a health insurance policy. The IRDA has ensured to allowed to skip for the physical signatures. But at the same time, they use one-time password (OTP) to ensure the verification of the customer.
6. Claim Decision within 30 Days-
The IRDA has issued the guideline starting form 1st October, 2020 that the insurance companies are required to make the decision on the claim within 30 days. They are to approve or reject the claim within 30 days of the claim request. If they fail to do so, they have to pay 2 percent interest above the applicable bank rate on the claim amount. It means they will pay additional amount over and above the claim amount.
Although, pandemic has caused disasters in people’s lives, but it also brings some healthy changes in the working of major industries, including the health insurance industry. The digitization of the entire process has not solved the problem for present, but it would be a great convenience for the future. Covid has given an adequate push in technological changes that has increased efficiency and ease of doing work.
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