The world is still fighting against the global pandemic and people are worried about their lives. People were eagerly waiting for the vaccination; however, they are still found positive even having the complete doses of the vaccination.
One side where people are facing shortage in supply of oxygen, on the other side, essential medicines are going out of stock. Everyone is struggling.
In the middle of all this, there is big news coming from the insurance industry. Due to the emerging COVID-19 patients and their insurance claims, now insurance companies are restricting new subscriptions from the COVID-19 strain. That means, people who had COVID-19 cannot buy the insurance policies; even if they are negative now.
So, if you are someone who has just defeated the virus and got the "Negative Status," still, you cannot take a new health or life insurance plan like earlier. Generally, people have to wait for 6 six months before applying for the respective services.
Amit Chhabra, head of health insurance at policybazaar.com reported:
"Insurance companies are not sure of the long-term effects of Covid-19. Different companies are taking different stances on people who have just turned Covid-19 negative. Some companies have a cool-off period of three months, others six months or for some no cool-off period at all. It depends on underwriting guidelines of an insurer,"
A person needs to submit his past COVID-19 medical reports or relevant documents. Users need to be transparent and honest with the insurer while disclosing their past medical history. After submitting the form with the detailed information, the underwriting team will get back to the applicant, if required any additional details.
As per the details submitted in the proposal form, the insurer will accept or reject the health insurance application. Besides, if needed, the applicant will undergo another COVID-19 test; this depends on the insurer, and varies company to company.
As reported by Saniay Dutta, Chief Underwriting- Claims and Reinsurance of ICICI Lombard General Insurance:
"Medical tests will not be mandated just on the basis of a COVID-19 declaration. A customer is subjected to it depending on various factors such as age/sum insured opted for/ any pre-existing conditions etc. Having said that, insurers may further refine the tests that COVID recovered patients may be subjected to, if need be,"
"COVID-19 is known to have long term side-effects affecting major organs such as the lungs, heart etc. With the advent of the second wave, even the medical fraternity is gradually learning about new long-term implications of the disease which were not seen to a large extent in the first wave,"
Similarly, Dr. S. Prakash, MD- Star Health and Allied Insurance has his own views on this:
"We have no special criteria to cover Covid-19 recovered patients. The problem is many insurance companies do not engage with qualified medical doctors in underwriting areas. Our underwriting team comprises a highly qualified expert panel. We have studied the data. We are convinced that without any compromise we are willing to cover people who were diagnosed with Covid-19. They just have to declare it and submit discharge summary,"
Generally, Life Insurance is a long time contract between the insurer and the insured person; hence it is more strict to its guidelines. As per reports, HDFC Life and Msx Life have declared a cool-off period of 60 days and 90 days respectively. These companies don’t even allow to proceed with the proposal form before the given time frame.
Sajja Praveen Chowdary, Life Insurance (Head) from PolicyBazaar shared his views:
"Life insurers always ask you if you have had a severe disease in the last six months. Earlier most people were answering no to the question. Now a lot of people are declaring having been Covid-19 positive. As a result, more and more people are falling in this category,"
Representing Aegon Life Insurance, Kamlesh Gupta- Appointed Actuary stated:
"For recovered patients, if they have a history of COVID hospitalisation in the last three months or if they were home quarantined in the last 30 days, the waiting period is a minimum of three months,"
"Also, it is important to maintain the COVID 19 vaccination details. Due to the uncertain nature of COVID 19, there can be additional medical tests required to rule out medical risks as required by the Underwriter,"
The virus is affecting more and more people every day, and it is creating trouble for insurers to deal with the rising claims due to the uncertain disease. It is a worrisome situation to bring people on-board with COVID-19 history.
Due to the pandemic, insurance companies are updating their policy approvals. Just like any other pre-existing disease, people recovered from COVID-19 will have some specific terms.
If you are planning to get health or life insurance, please be transparent to avoid future complications during claims and maturity.
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