Over five months after the Covid-19 lockdown started, people have once against started seeking medical help for other health concerns.
Data with insurance companies reveals that there has been a steady rise in non-Covid health insurance claims in July.
“In the months of April and May, non-Covid claims had come down, but now they are increasing. There was a 64 per cent increase in July for such claims versus average claims in April, May and June,” said Bhaskar Nerurkar, Head, Health Claims, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, adding that by the middle of August, the insurer is now touching almost the regular claim volume.
“Health insurance claims for non-Covid related medical procedures, there are signs that some elective surgeries are once again increasing. People seem to be realising that they cannot postpone medical treatment indefinitely,” said an executive with a public sector insurance company, adding that this is across all cities, even where Covid cases have been rising steadily.
According to Nerurkar, the claims are mainly for treatments of cancer, dialysis, cataract surgeries and cardiac treatments.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, most people had been avoiding hospitals over concerns of contracting the virus and overburdened medical staff, were postponing routine treatment and surgeries as far as possible.
“There were claims arising out of emergency cases like heart attacks and accidents, but largely people were avoiding hospitals,” noted the executive from the public sector insurer.
In his address to the nation on March 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had urged citizens to avoid visiting hospitals for routine checkups and postpone non-essential surgery by a month to ensure that there was no undue pressure on hospitals that have been treating Covid-19 cases.
Many doctors too, had been advising patients to try and avoid non-essential surgeries in the pandemic.