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Insurers begin to get Covid-19 health insurance claims, but too early to assess impact

03-Apr-2020

After the government allowed the private sector hospitals to treat covid-19 patients last week, insurers have begun getting health insurance claims. According to data compiled by the General Insurance Council, an industry body for non-life companies, as on 30th March, the insurance sector got a total of 34 claims, up from 22 claims as on 28th March, with a claim size of around Rs58.05 lakh. Of this, the industry has settled ten claims so far of Rs14.20 lakh placing the average claim to about Rs1.42 lakh.

Earlier when the government allowed private labs to test people for the virus, it recommended a cap of Rs4,500, but in the case of treatment there doesn’t seem to be any cap. As per the data, the claims show huge variation: as little as Rs50,000 to as much as Rs4.3 lakh.

“Covid-19 is an infectious disease and only a small percentage of the population will need critical care. However, patients will need to be isolated with some baseline treatment being given. Hospitals have to earmark isolation wards for treatment and so this may come at a higher cost. Right now there isn’t any capping on the cost of covid-19 treatment as the cost could vary depending on the severity of the condition,"said Bhaskar Nerurkar, head- health claims, Bajaj Allainz General Insurance Co. Ltd. City and hospital chosen would also impact the cost. So far India has seen more than a 1000 cases of covid-19 whereas world over the tally has crossed 7 lakh.

According to experts, the cost of treating covid-19 is expensive due to the antivirals, ventilators, and personal protective equipment kits (PPE) and separate wards. “Covid-19 treatment is expensive in most cases, but the real worry for the insurance companies is going to be managing the volume. Even as the government has allowed the private sector to treat patients, it will have to step in to subsidise the cost else private treatment can become unaffordable for the uninsured,"said Kapil Mehta, co-founder, SecureNow Insurance Brokers Pvt Ltd. According to Mehta, insurers with a large group portfolio will feel the pinch and may have to revise prices upwards.

While reiterating that it may be too early to assess the impact on the insurance sector, Nayan C. Shah, managing director, Paramount Health Services (TPA) said that the cost of treatment for Covid-19 has already been revised upwards. “Every incoming patient will have to be tested for Covid-19 and the hospital staff will need to take protective measures.

Source : Live Mint

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