People protect themselves by wearing masks in Mumbai
People protect themselves by wearing masks in Mumbai

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic the same day after Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) had instructed insurance companies to insure those suffering from the disease, irrespective of the policy that they had bought.

While this may sound like good news, an Economic Times report on Thursday, your insurer may not settle a claim under your health insurance policy if the disease is declared an epidemic or a pandemic by WHO.

Both the IRDAI and the insurance companies have to come to a consensus. Also, the insurance companies may have to fine tune their fine print in case they do go ahead and adhere to the IRDAI's guidelines.

While speaking to Free Press Journal, Prasun Sikdar, MD & CEO, ManipalCigna Health Insurance said that with the rising number of confirmed and suspected coronavirus cases, our top priority is the safety and service of our customers, clients, employees and partners. "Our comprehensive health insurance plans continue to cover medically necessary treatment associated with coronavirus or similar such diseases. We would also like to assure our policyholders that we will prioritize the assessment of claims related to the treatment of coronavirus and will be claimable to the full extent of the coverage available under our health insurance plans as per the terms and conditions of the policy contract.”

Earlier, IRDAI on March 11 had instructed insurance companies to include medical cover for people suffering from coronavirus, irrespective of the type of policy.

"For the purpose of meeting health insurance requirements of various sec tions, insurers are advised to design products covering the costs of treatment for coronavirus," the Irdai said in a circular.

The circular further added that under existing policies where hospitalisation is covered, all the medical costs of the treatment pertaining to coronavirus will be covered.

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