The chaos around buying a health insurance cover against the corona virus illness has settled after the insurance regulator came out with a specific protection policy for covid 19. However, there are still a few doubts on buying of renewing the existing health insurance policy by people who are either at present under the attack of the virus or those who got the virus and have recovered now. We spoke to the two eminent players in the insurance industry to get the answers for the three most commonly asked questions on buying health insurance, impact on premium rates, change in policy term at the time of renewing the policy by those who were covid positive earlier.
Rakesh Jain, Executive Director and CEO, Reliance General Insurance and V Suryanarayanan, Managing Director of Chola MS General Insurance answered the questions to bust the myths. Here is what they said:
Myth 1: Buying a new health insurance plan or renewing the existing health insurance policy will be difficult for people who suffered but have successfully recovered from corona virus now.
Rakesh Jain, Reliance General Insurance: The corona virus is considered to be a viral disease but with a higher severity and it’s not a lifestyle disease like diabetes, hypertension, liver disease, etc. The lifestyle disease will always have the impact on regular health insurance premiums. If a corona +ve patient have already recovered from the disease, then there would be no impact on buying of fresh Individual health insurance policy or getting it renewed.
V Suryanarayanan, Chola MS General Insurance: Infection of covid 19 will not impact renewal of a health insurance policy. Until it is medically established that Covid 19 impacts a human in other ways over a longer term, it will not be considered as a pre-existing ailment and to this extent, it is similar to a situation of a vector borne infection.
Myth 2: Those who have a history of corona virus will have to pay higher premiums now even if they have recovered fully.
Rakesh Jain, Reliance General Insurance: As per regulatory guidelines in an individual health insurance policy, at the time of renewal of policy insurers are not allowed to apply claim-based loadings, only the loadings which were applied at the time of fresh purchase they would be continued.
V Suryanarayanan, Chola MS General Insurance: Except for price adjustments relating to changes in age slabs and medical inflation which, in India, is in the range of 10-12% p.a, individuals having a history of corona virus may not have to pay higher premium. If however, it is medically established that Covid 19 impacts a human for a longer term and makes an individual susceptible for hospitalization for after effects, then the frequency assumptions as to hospitalization can change causing a repricing of health premium.
Myth 3: The experience of buying or renewing a health insurance policy by those who were corona positive at any point of time will not be same as general public.
Rakesh Jain, Reliance General Insurance: Since the insurance companies do not apply claims-based loadings there will be no change. Insurance companies would be charging the premium based on the current age wise premiums that were already filed. Based on the age renewal premium would be calculated and insured may pay it for renewal of policy.
V Suryanarayanan, Chola MS General Insurance: Nothing changes if individuals / families buy a basic health insurance cover now. In fact, this is the right time to actively secure a health cover for an appropriate sum Insured.