Decoding Insurance

Want coverage for consumables? Add riders to your health insurance plan

Covid-19 has been a lesson for us to realize the importance of health insurance in our lives. Before COVID-19, the average hospitalisation bill was between Rs 50,000- Rs 60,000, during the pandemic it has increased to Rs 80,000 – Rs 90,000. 

Covid-19 has been a lesson for us to realize the importance of health insurance in our lives. The virus has spread like wildfire and there’s no stopping to it. Be it young or old, Covid-19 has not spared anyone. At this point in time, having an adequate health cover that financially protects you and your loved ones at the time of a health emergency is a must. Add-ons are also a great way to enhance your coverage. Hospitals are charging exorbitant prices for treatment of Coronavirus patients. Cost for hospitalization has gone up by 35-40% for all major private hospitals, especially with increase in consumption of consumables like PPE kits, syringes, along with addition of sanitisation costs.

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While before COVID-19, the average hospitalisation bill was between Rs 50,000- Rs 60,000, during the pandemic it has increased to Rs 80,000 – Rs 90,000. For critical care, hospitals are charging as high as Rs 30,000 per day over and above oxygen, bipap and gloves. There are media reports where a person residing in Delhi was shocked to receive a hospital bill of Rs 19 lacs for treatment of his wife for Covid-19. The pandemic has brought not just tragedy to the doors of lakhs of grieving families in India. Undoubtedly, such high costs are terrifying for a middle-class salaried person.

Increase in share of consumables in hospital bills

The share of consumables in hospital bills has also increased significantly during the pandemic. Earlier, they occupied around 3-5% of the medical bill. However, after the pandemic, the share of consumables has increased to 25-30%. Consumables are medical items that have to be discarded after use such as PPE kits, masks, gloves, crepe bandages, syringes, etc. Hospitals across India have made it mandatory for their staff to wear protective gear during the pandemic while treating Covid patients. It has become imperative to consider these points when buying health insurance in these times.

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In order to address the needs of customers in these tough times, insurers are now offering riders for coverage of consumables that can be added to the base plan.
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“Thus, in our pursuit to remain customer-focused, we addressed this issue under our flagship product ReAssure by providing an optimal benefit Safeguard,” he added.

For a nominal premium amount, the safeguard benefit offers three very important and powerful benefits to the consumer. Firstly, it safeguards the sum insured by automatically enhancing the sum insured every year by inflation. Secondly, it protects the accrued Booster benefit which can even be 100% of the base sum insured, from claims upto Rs. 50,000 a year. Lastly, it safeguards claims by paying for the non-payable items, as defined by the regulator.
 
“The benefits overall gives customers the confidence of 100% hassle-free cashless hospitalization. By paying for the non-payable items, the safeguard rider helps in providing a superior customer experience while paying more from the policy purchased than usual. Seeing the positive response for the feature, we have now introduced Safeguard as a rider with all our other existing products, with customers having the option to choose the feature at a reasonable rate,” added Dr. Mishra.

Based on an analysis of non-Covid reimbursement claims, it was found that the claims payout ratio for those who had opted for Safeguard rider is 94% in 2021 as opposed to 87% for those who had not opted for the rider.

Similarly, Care Insurance is also offering a Care Shield rider that offers triple benefits to customers. Firstly, it provides coverage for consumables. Secondly, when buying a health insurance policy, medical inflation is an important consideration for sum insured and this rider offers inflation benefit too.

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Another benefit offered by Care Shield Rider is the No Claim Bonus Shield. No Claim Bonus Super is a reward given to policyholders during renewal in case no hospitalization claim is registered for the policy in the previous year. For instance, if a customer purchased a policy on 01 January 2019 and No Claim was registered during the policy year (between 1st January 2019 to 31 December 2019), then the policy sum insured is increased by 60% on renewal at no extra cost.

“Even if policyholders make a small amount of claim, they don’t get the No Claim Bonus next year. However, with No Claim Bonus Shield, policyholders don’t lose No Claim Bonus even if they claim an amount up to 25% of the sum assured. For example, if you have taken Rs 10 lacs health cover and make a claim of even Rs 2.5 lacs, your no claim bonus won’t be lost,” said Shrotriya.
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