The mounting COVID-19 cases and shortage of beds and oxygen are driving many people to get treated at home. The hospitals are providing COVID homecare packages to patients. If you have a health insurance policy, you must be wondering if your policy will cover treatment at home. The answer is yes. Sanjay Datta, Chief - Claims, Underwriting and Reinsurance at ICICI Lombard General Insurance says at least 1,000 cases a month are coming of COVID home treatment.
"Instead of managing care at home, people rush to hospital if they are insured. They should know that insurers honour home treatment of COVID-19. A number of hospitals are giving COVID packages for treatment at home. It is a directive that all policies have to cover it. Some of older policies may not be covering it, but all new policies have to cover it," says Indraneel Chatterjee, Co-founder at RenewBuy.
What are the pre-requisites?
First and foremost, you must have following two documents:
1) A COVID positive report from an ICMR-approved lab
2) Doctor's prescription for home isolation and treatment
Note that antigen reports are not honoured by the insurers. The reports have to be RT-PCR having Specimen Referral Form (SRF) ID.
"There are two conditions when domestic hospitalisation is recommended. First, no medical facility available at hospital, and second, when a patient's condition is too serious to visit a hospital. So, this is not really a COVID specific thing. In normal cases also domestic treatment is covered under health insurance policies," says Amit Chhabra, head of health insurance at Policybazaar.
Do all policies cover home treatment?
Most of the policies will cover it, but one must check with their respective insurers to enquire about it. Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak policies, which were launched in 2020, have this policy feature. "Domiciliary treatment is an important factor that one must look at if they are buying a new health insurance policy. If your existing policy does not cover it, you should consider porting to the one that covers it. Portability does not affect waiting period and no claim bonus benefits," says Chhabra.
Datta of ICICI Lombard confirms that all health policies at ICICI Lombard cover home treatment - whether old or new ones.
What all is covered?
When the hospitals do not have capacity to admit patients, they provide homecare packages. "This involves medication, nurses' and doctors' visit at home to measure vitals and tests such as CT scan X-ray and of course COVID. Essentially, all medical expenses until the person tests negative are covered. However, there is no concept of pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses in home treatment," says Datta.
He emphasises that recommendation and treatment by family doctors or institutions providing homecare treatment on full-time basis are also covered. "One must inform the insurance company just when the patient is detected positive," says Datta.
The way hospitals are being overburdened, home treatment of COVID is quite a possibility. It is prudent to know all about it beforehand. Reach out to your insurer to get policy-specific details.
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