The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we perceive ‘normal’. The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have brought about a major change in the way we function and live our normal lives. The last two years have also changed the way businesses and countries do business. In fact, many sectors have experienced irrevocable changes. Today, we will talk about the health insurance industry and look at the ways in which COVID-19 has reformed it.
COVID-19 Health Insurance Plans
Before the pandemic, the health insurance industry offered a range of plans to cover the costs associated with various diseases and illnesses, including hospitalisation and pre-hospitalisation expenses. They also offered critical illness cover to help people manage the costs associated with life-threatening illnesses.
However, the pandemic changed this completely. While the number of cases was kept in control by extensive lockdowns, people who were infected and needed to be hospitalised had to bear the costs associated with the entire treatment. As a result, by mid-2020, insurance providers had launched two Covid-19 insurance plans that were specific to the coronavirus:
- Corona Kavach: dedicated to the treatment and hospitalisation of individuals infected by the virus
- Corona Rakshak: designed for the treatment and hospitalisation of individuals infected by the virus including family coverage
This is the first time that a health insurance plan has been designed to offer coverage against one virus. The Covid-19 insurance in India was dedicated solely to the costs associated with the treatment and hospitalisation of patients infected with the COVID-19 virus. Many insurance providers tied up with top hospitals for cashless treatments and even offered a higher sum insured for family plans.
Let us understand the Covid impact on the Health Industry
Two Major Covid Impacts on the Health Industry
Here are the major impacts of Covid on the health insurance industry:
- Digital policy purchases
The pandemic also saw a shift in policy issuance from offline to online platforms. Before the pandemic, most health insurers required the policyholder to undergo medical tests to determine any pre-existing illnesses. Policyholders with pre-existing medical conditions had to pay a higher premium or were even denied the policy.
When the WHO declared the coronavirus pandemic, people were advised to stay away from each other. This was done to reduce social contact in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. Health insurance providers realised the importance of social distancing and started offering health insurance policies online, especially coronavirus-specific plans.
They created a digital interface that offered end-to-end support for buying a health insurance policy. People could also compare health insurance providers and plans and choose the best option. Insurers ensured that people could buy policies with no human contact.
To support this digital move, insurers adopted top-notch security and automation protocols to ensure the safety and privacy of the information of customers. Today, you can buy, manage, and renew your policy online in no time.
- Faster claims processing
The pandemic has reaffirmed the importance of time for people including insurance providers. The virus spreads at a fast pace and has already claimed millions of lives. The insurance industry needed to speed up its claim processing times to be able to help people navigate the costs associated with the treatment.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we understand life. An entire year of uncertainty and being confined to our homes has led most of us to lead sedentary lifestyles. With work from home also becoming a norm, many people have gained weight and are experiencing lower fitness levels. This changed lifestyle can have detrimental effects on our health in the future. While it is important to inculcate healthy habits, prudence lies in being prepared for lifestyle-related illnesses and diseases. Hence, it is important to ensure that you have a comprehensive health insurance policy that offers coverage based on your specific needs.