- Few health insurance companies offer Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak policies online.
- Insurers offering Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak online do not allow people with pre-existing conditions to purchase
Around 30 insurance companies began offering the regulator-mandated standard covid-19 health insurance product, Corona Kavach, effective July 10, and selected insurers also offer the standard benefits-based policy, Corona Rakshak. For now, premium factors and online shopping may play a role in your purchasing decision.
Although the features and wording of both policies are standard across all insurers, their premiums vary greatly, encouraging potential buyers to look for insurers that have rated products at the low end compared to others. Another factor that people might consider when purchasing these policies is the topic of online shopping.
Since social distancing is a necessity due to covid-19, people may prefer to purchase policies online, especially those with comorbidities, as they would be at increased risk of infection. However, most insurers do not offer policies online. Among those who are, some do not allow online shopping for those with specific pre-existing conditions. These people may also find it difficult to purchase these policies offline. Experts said there could be cases where people with pre-existing conditions could end up getting a policy, but this could involve agents who don’t disclose all the details, causing problems at the time of the claim.
Insurers said the time limitation was one of the main reasons why most of them still did not offer policies for buying online.
Ravi Vishwanath, president, accident and health, HDFC Ergo General Insurance Co. Ltd, said that Corona Kavach launched on July 10 and although the policy-related information is already available on the company’s website, they are working hard to offer it. online in a few weeks. “Since we have a large distribution force, it takes some time before all channels can be activated.”
Aditya Birla Health Insurance Co. Ltd is working on online preparation and the product will be available soon, CEO Mayank Bathwal said. “The product launched in a very short time. Customer response has been encouraging, and Corona Kavach can be purchased in our extensive distribution setting, where our distributors can assess your health insurance needs and advise you on the best offer for you. ”
Gurdeep Singh Batra, lead retail insurer, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd., said the length of time to launch Corona Kavach was a key factor in why the policy is not available for direct online purchase. “We wanted to present the product to the masses according to the deadlines for which we have enabled the installation of ‘call us.’ However, we are also in the process of developing direct online purchase of the product.”
An insurance expert, who declined to be identified, said that only insurers that have rated the product extremely high may not want to be aggressive and sell this product. For others, the short timeline may have been a problem. He added that most insurers take longer to develop the product from a technological point of view, which may have delayed online availability.
Please note that at least three insurers are currently offering the Corona Kavach policy through online aggregators. “In the case of Corona Kavach, it is a fairly simplistic proposal form that any client can complete in two minutes and buy the policy. Some insurers verify pre-existing diseases and may apply some charges. Although some insurers may reject the proposal based on its underwriting rules, there are some companies that don’t have medical questions and don’t charge anything, “said Amit Chhabra, head of health insurance at Policybazaar.com.
Challenges for people with pre-existing diseases
Some experts said insurers may not find it financially feasible to cover a person with comorbidities, which explains why people with pre-existing conditions might have a hard time shopping online or even otherwise.
“Even people who approach agents to buy covid-19 policies cannot obtain coverage for family members with chronic illnesses. I think there is a fear of experiencing a high volume of claims, which is natural due to the 15-day waiting period, “said Mahavir Chopra, founder of Beshak.org, an independent research platform for insurance buyers.
So what could have been the way out? “My view is that the government should have allowed PSU insurers to seamlessly provide policies over the Internet to the general public, including older citizens with chronic medical conditions, perhaps with a slight burden, if they so choose.” Currently, they are either not offering the policies online or putting blockers for people with chronic conditions, “Chopra said.
While insurers have said they are working to offer covid-19 policies online, it remains to be seen how many of them will eventually be provisioned.