COVID – 19 forced rapid adoption of telemedicine in the recent past. This also sparked the demand for health insurance plans that also covers online doctor consultation fees. This post will try to shed more light on the matter.
Health insurance is a necessity these days and not a luxury. A person insures their car, their home, and even their business but often, people tend to shy away from investing in a comprehensive medical insurance plan that can provide them and their loved ones with the financial assistance they need during medical emergencies.
Like any other insurance plan, there are countless reasons why one should invest in a medical insurance plan. In this context, the following sections will shed light on a few obvious benefits of health insurance hence, please pay attention –
- For starters, health insurance allows a person to keep their life savings intact by providing the necessary financial assistance one needs in times of medical emergencies. The medical sector is meant for saving lives but that comes at a cost. Medicines, medical equipment, hospital staffs and infrastructure – all of these needs to be procured, hired and maintained. Hence, irrespective of whether the hospital is a privately owned institution or government-run, the services will come at a premium cost. This is the reason why hospital bills are most of the time exorbitant even when the malady diagnosed in a patient was relatively simple.
- One of the most crucial and attractive benefits of health insurance is that an applicant can get tax benefits when they apply for one. On top of this, the tax benefits increase with the increase in premium which happens after every claim.
- Furthermore, most (if not all) insurers offer a lot of attractive offers to applicants in terms of policy renewals and premium amount increments after each claim. It all depends on the age of the applicant, the number of family members and a host of other factors.
- Another obvious benefit of investing in a health insurance plan when the applicant is still in his or her prime health and age is the low premium amounts they would need to bear. As a person ages, the chances of the same coming down with an illness increases as well! How? Well, with age, the human body tends to lose its immune strength by a large margin. On top of this, a sedentary lifestyle, bad food habits and lack of health consciousness lead to illnesses in aged individuals. Hence, if a person wants to secure his or her along with their loved one’s futures then they should invest in a comprehensive health insurance plan.
- There are several kinds of health insurance plans but one must always choose to invest in one that offers comprehensive cover to the applicant. What is a comprehensive cover? Well, a health insurance plan that offers financial assistance to the claimant for all medical expenses. These medical expenses could be day care at a hospital, bed costs, medication costs, pre-operation preparatory costs, post-operation care costs and more recently, online doctor consultation costs. Yes, the reader read that right!
- The COVID – 19 pandemic made it mandatory for everyone to adopt telemedicine apps for general doctor consultations. This is the reason why the popularity of telemedicine apps is skyrocketing in recent days. At the same time, the cost of online doctor consultations used to be somewhat cheap back in the initial days of these apps but not anymore. Hence, investing in a health insurance plan that can offer comprehensive cover including the cost of online doctor consultation charges is the way of the wise.
Read Also – Why you need to buy health insurance online
Okay so how exactly does the claimant can get coverage for telemedicine costs?
Any individual who is adopting telemedicine for their personal or family-related use can claim the expenses from their insurer if the health insurance plan they have chosen has a clause where the insurer is liable to pay the claimant the costs of OPD (Out Patient Department) expenses.
On top of this, if the claimant has claimed for assistance from the insurer during their pre or post-hospitalisation process and that includes the cost of telemedicine consultations then the insurer is liable to pay the said expenses to the claimant.
Will the insurer follow suit?
Yes, they will as new guidelines are already in place all thanks to the Medical Council of India who recently formulated telemedicine practice guidelines and also looped in IRDAI.
In simple terms, if an insurer fails to pay for the telemedicine expenses of a claimant then they will be liable for prosecution.
However, there are certain clauses that an applicant needs to keep in mind.
For instance, the claim settlement should be part of the claim and not to be filed separately.
Secondly, the –
- Monthly limits
- Norms of sub-limits
- Annual limits etc. of the policy will be applied minus relaxations.
In the end, it is safe to state that the pandemic has changed a lot of things in recent years hence; the adoption of telemedicine was inevitable. On top of this, it was high time that the costs of online consultation fell under insurance coverage which it did all thanks to the efforts of apex authorities like the MCI and IRDAI.