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How The COVID-19 Pandemic Reshaped The Health Insurance Industry


Jul 20 2021


The Coronavirus pandemic has changed life as we know it, perhaps forever. Most of us reminisce about how ‘normal’ our lives used to be before the virus upended our ideas of normalcy. It has changed the way we live and function. On a broader level, it has also changed how economies function and countries do business. Sectors like retail, travel, banking and insurance and manufacturing have changed irrevocably.

The following are the main changes one has observed in the Indian health insurance sector after the Coronavirus pandemic struck:

  • The introduction of dedicated Coronavirus health insurance plans.

Before the pandemic started raging around the world, regular health insurance plans covered the costs and treatment associated with illnesses, hospitalisation, surgeries, accidents, critical illnesses, etc. There were separate health plans such as critical illness insurance, top up policies, super top up policies, etc. But the pandemic changed the health insurance sector’s perspectives completely. By June 2020, insurance providers had announced two Coronavirus-specific health plans: Corona Rakshak and Corona Kavach, which were dedicated solely to the treatment and hospitalisation of policy holders struck by the virus. While the Corona Rakshak policy is an individual Corona health plan, Corona Kavach offers both individual and family coverage. This has been the first time ever in the history of health insurance in India, that one category of a virus has health plans offering coverage against it.

Leading insurance providers refined the plan offering by including cashless tie-ups with hospitals, increased coverage amounts for greater protection of the entire family and revised renewal dates for both plans (up to September 30, 2021).

  • A digital-only interface for policy purchase.

Earlier, most health and life insurance plans required the policy holder to undergo a medical check up before the policy was deemed purchased. The premium would go up slightly if any illnesses or disorders were observed during the medical check, or the policy approval would be withdrawn. However, the Coronavirus pandemic necessitated human beings to keep away from each other and avoid any social contact to contain the virus. In this scenario, health insurance providers improvised to allow a digital-only interface for purchasing new health insurance plans, especially the Coronavirus health plans. Payments, calculations and all communication is done digitally to ensure that there is no human-human contact at any point during the transaction.

Accordingly, insurance providers have shifted all their policies and related products online and put in place robust security and automation protocols to safeguard customer information and privacy. The fully digitised insurance process now means that you simply need just a smartphone or laptop to check on your policy, make payments, renew the plan, enhance coverage, and so on.

  • Faster claims and processing times.

The speed with which the Coronavirus infection moves and spreads among the population has brought home the fact that life is short and unpredictable. The dreaded virus has already claimed millions of young and old Indians alike. The fast and furious nature of the virus has spurred the health insurance industry to process claims much faster and help customers navigate the process with the right paperwork. Even approvals for new policy purchases are being sent much quicker than before. Insurance providers understand that time is of the essence as far as health coverage is concerned, which was not the case earlier.

Why you need health insurance more than ever…

The fact that the Coronavirus pandemic can uproot life as you know it, has shaken many a person to their core. But even apart from the paranoia of COVID-19, we have all been subjected to over a year of uncertainty and home confinement. During this time of WFH and home education, most of us have gained weight, becoming addicted to fast food, and led largely sedentary lifestyles. It is inevitable that this shift in our lives will have detrimental effects on our health going forward. Lifestyle diseases are imminent. Even younger age groups are at risk from both physical and mental health issues.

In this scenario, it has become doubly important to secure health insurance for ourselves and our loved ones. Health insurance plans from trusted providers in India like ManipalCigna Health Insurance will make all the difference between ill and good health in the future, and paying the high costs of treatment and hospitalisation in India.