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The global pandemic of COVID-19 has increased the demand for health insurance policies and products. The spreading virus has made people aware of how much they need some monetary support for medical expenses in case of medical emergency or hospitalization. But people are only inclined to buy the health insurance policy if it meets their basic requirements at an affordable price. Hence, The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has made some recent changes in the health insurance policies in order to make sure that insurance policies are more customer-friendly and all the customers receive quality treatment at a pocket-friendly price. Over the years, many changes and regulations have played a crucial role in promoting the growth of the insurance industry.

Let’s look at some necessary changes made by the concerned authorities that will help a large population to invest in health insurance policies and protect themselves and their loved ones.

  • Launch of Arogya Sanjeevani policy:

Arogya Sanjeevani policy is a standardized insurance plan, launched on 1st April 2020, under an indemnity plan to allow affordable health insurance coverage. Policyholders can enjoy a sum insured of up to INR 10 lakhs and get coverage for their entire family under this policy. Since the health insurance products available in the market can be confusing and overwhelming to understand. Arogya Sanjeevani provides a standard health plan that has been introduced by every insurer to support Indian policy seekers to purchase health insurance.

  • Specialized policies for COVID treatment and hospitalization:

Treatments for COVID-19 and the cost of hospitalization can be expensive, especially for people experiencing severe coronavirus symptoms. The introduction of the Corona Kavach policy has helped policyholders get treatment without having to worry about hospital expenses. These plans allow people to cover themselves and their families against the pandemic. These standard health plans cover COVID related claims on an indemnity (Corona Kavach) or on a fixed-benefit (Corona Rakshak) basis.

  • Easy instalments:

During the pandemic, in order to reduce the financial burden on the policyholders, IRDAI, allowed policyholders to pay Health insurance premiums in instalments. Now, most of the insurance providers offer EMI options on premium payments. So, as a policyholder, you can now pay premiums on a monthly, quarterly, or half-yearly basis. However, with monthly or quarterly payments, you will get a lesser free-look period than yearly premiums.

  • Transparency in exclusions:

IRDAI is making sure that there is less ambiguity in the policy wordings. Declaring that there should be standardisation of health exclusions, including simplification of the definition of pre-existing diseases. Under the mandate, it is stated that the insurers should specify the excluded diseases in their policy terms and conditions, and the policyholders can declare a disease after 3 months of the policy purchase. Hence, the diseases that the insurer will not cover for 4 years from the date of purchase of the policy, are specified clearly in the policy-related documents.

  • Prioritizing mental health:

In times like this, depression and anxiety are silent killers, and people do not seek treatment for mental health-related illnesses thinking they are not as a severe ailment. However, IRDAI has been making efforts to change the same and has asked insurers to include mental problems, genetic diseases, neurodevelopment disorders, and psychological disorders in the health insurance policies.

The changes in the health insurance sector are helpful to the policyholders and people seeking to buy health insurance plans. Since buying health insurance and securing yourself and your family against any unforeseen emergency is one of the most crucial things you can do.

This article is authored by Ravichandran N, the Chief Technical Officer at Kotak General Insurance, and views expressed in this article are the author’s personal views.