Does Health Insurance Cover Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is the latest disease to make its way to India while we are still battling the consequences of COVID-19. In just two weeks, four cases of monkeypox have been detected in India. Besides, WHO declared monkeypox a global health emergency. Fearing the disease will spread rapidly like COVID-19, people want to know if monkeypox is covered by health insurance in India. Read on to find out.

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    What is Monkeypox?

    Monkeypox is a rare viral disease caused by the monkeypox virus of the orthopoxvirus family. It has smallpox-like symptoms but is comparatively less contagious. Monkeypox causes less severe illness among adults and is rarely fatal. However, children are more prone to monkeypox as compared to adults. 

    Monkeypox is a communicable disease that spreads from one person to another by coming in close contact with an infected person, animal or contaminated material like clothes. It can also spread through the exchange of bodily fluids from an infected person. Generally, the disease lasts for about 2-4 weeks and goes away on its own. Though, the disease can lead to complications in children that can also turn fatal.

    The symptoms of monkeypox are milder than smallpox. Some of the most common symptoms of monkeypox are:

    • Fever
    • Rash on face and body that looks like pimples or blisters 
    • Chills
    • Headache
    • Swollen lymph nodes
    • Muscle aches and backache
    • Exhaustion
    • Discomfort

    Monkeypox is usually found in tropical rainforest areas of west and central Africa. However, an outbreak of Monkeypox occurred in the United Kingdom in May 2022 and within two months, it managed to come to India. As of 24 July 2022, more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been detected across 75 countries. In fact, some countries have declared monkeypox as an endemic. 

    Looking at the increasing number of monkeypox cases across the globe, World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared monkeypox a global health emergency on 23 July 2022. In such a situation, a lot of people want to know if their health insurance policy will cover the treatment cost of monkeypox. 

    Let’s find out.

    Is Monkeypox Covered by Health Insurance Plans in India?

    Yes. 

    Monkeypox is covered by all health insurance plans in India. This is because monkeypox is an infectious disease and all health plans provide coverage for medical expenses incurred in the treatment of infectious diseases. Thus, all regular health insurance plans will cover the treatment cost of monkeypox.

    A person with a valid health insurance policy can get coverage for hospitalization costs, OPD treatment charges, ambulance charges, ICU charges, etc. However, the scope of policy coverage will differ from one plan to another. For instance, hospitalization expenses are covered by most health insurance plans. However, OPD treatment expenses are covered under some plans only.

    Therefore, it is advisable to read the terms and conditions of the health insurance policy before raising a claim.

    Waiting Period for Monkeypox Under Health Insurance

    A health insurance policy will not provide coverage for monkeypox from the first day. Instead, the coverage will be available after the waiting period is over. All regular health insurance plans in India come with an initial waiting period of 30 days. During this period, all non-accidental claims are not covered by the insurance company.

    Thus, a policyholder will be able to raise a claim for monkeypox after the initial waiting period of 30 days is over. In case the insured raises a claim within the first 30 days of the policy start date, the insurance company will reject the claim.

    7 Easy Tips to Prevent Monkeypox

    Take a look at five easy tips to prevent getting infected with the monkeypox virus:

    1. Avoid coming in close contact with people who have a rash similar to monkeypox.

    2. Do not touch the rash of the person infected with monkeypox.

    3. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer to clean your hands.

    4. Do not share food or drink from the glass used by a monkeypox-infected person.

    5. Make sure to eat only eat fully-cooked meat.

    6. Avoid touching the bedding, clothes and towels of a person infected with monkeypox.

    7. Avoid coming in contact with stray monkeys, rodents and sick or dead animals.

    In a Nutshell

    Monkeypox is spreading across the world with each passing day. Although it is less infectious than smallpox, it can lead to major complications, especially among children. Will monkeypox see a widespread outbreak like COVID-19 is yet to be seen. But the best you can do is to keep yourself fully prepared for an outbreak and cover your entire family under a health insurance policy.

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