Fri. Jul 10th, 2020

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Covid effect: Hospitalisation may not be mandatory for insurance

HYDERABAD: Most health insurance covers require that a patient be admitted to a hospital for at least 24 hours before he can avail the benefits of the policy. But this basic tenet of the insurance sector is set to go due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
An increasing number of insurance companies are looking to provide cover to those being treated at home. This is largely because many Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms are being encouraged to stay home so that they don’t strain the already stretched infrastructure at hospitals. Also, many people are avoiding hospitals, unless it is an emergency.
ICICI Lombard General Insurance chief (underwriting, claims and reinsurance) Sanjay Datta says they rolled out home healthcare benefits last week, allowing customers to get treated at their residence for any ailments. “In the coming days, we expect the insurance sector to start covering home healthcare, but it will take some time before specialised stand-alone home health covers are launched in India,” he says.
Healthcare experts are seeing this as a game changer that will not only prompt more people to opt for these services but also reduce the burden on hospitals. Companies say this will be beneficial for insurers and the reduced stay at hospitals will bring down overall claims.
Apollo Homehealthcare CEO, Dr Mahesh Joshi, added that they are in advanced talks with two insurance companies to launch offerings in the next couple of weeks. “In developed countries, this service is covered. It is only after the government recognised home healthcare as a complementary delivery system to fight Covid-19 that insurance companies have begun to consider this aspect,” he said.
After Covid-19, many insurance companies have also started covering home healthcare on a case-by-case basis. Edelweiss General Insurance ED & CEO Shanai Ghosh pointed out that they have a ‘domiciliary hospitalisation’ feature. It allows medical treatment at home to be covered if advised by a registered medical practitioner.
ManipalCigna Health Insurance MD and CEO Prasun Sikdar says many companies were not covering home healthcare because there are only a handful of players serving patients in the metros. “This is set to change in the coming days as, due to Covid-19, many patients will start opting for medical services at homes.”
Portea Medical COO Vaibhav Tewari adds, “As people are living longer, the cost of healthcare in sunset years is becoming prohibitive. Insurance products for eldercare, rehabilitation, palliative and hospice care — most of them done at home — is the need of the hour.”



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