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Does my health insurance cover coronavirus?

With a global death toll of 1,800 people and counting, the latest strain of coronavirus has become a major cause for concern for people all over the world. On January 31, 2020, the COVID-19 coronavirus was declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO). According to experts, the number of new coronavirus cases is expected to rise.

This Pacific Prime China article answers one of the most commonly asked questions nowadays: Does my health insurance cover coronavirus?

What is the COVID-19 coronavirus?

As the name implies, the COVID-19 coronavirus falls under the coronavirus family. Just like other coronaviruses, this new strain originated from animals. The first case of the coronavirus occurred in Wuhan, China, and many of the people who were infected at first worked or frequently visited the city’s Huanan market – where plenty of slaughtered and live animals can be found.

Will my insurance cover me if I get infected?

Even though people all over the world are taking precautions, many are concerned about whether their insurance will cover them if they become infected. Some health insurance providers, such as Aetna and Aviva, say that they will cover infected cases. Mitesh Patel, medical director at Aetna, mentioned that everything will be covered according to the person’s policy, ranging from medical advice to treatment.

Check your insurance policy details

Whether or not your insurance covers coronavirus depends entirely on the type of policy you have. Since insurance providers offer a wide range of insurance products and services across the globe, cover options vary. Therefore, members will need to refer to the terms and conditions of their policy or speak to their insurance agent or broker for answers to specific questions.

If you don’t have a disease-specific health insurance policy, then you might be covered for hospitalization and outpatient expenses, regardless of your medical diagnosis. Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Head of Claims, Bhaskar Nerurkar, said, “A health policy covers for all infections and corona is one such infection. Coverage will be available from day one of infection in all health insurance policies including ours.”

What’s more, since the Covid-19 is a new disease, it does not fall under the ‘pre-existing condition’ category, making it eligible for coverage. That means that all covers, whether it’s inpatient or outpatient treatment, will be available if a policyholder seeks treatment for the coronavirus.

How do I claim?

There are two ways you can make health insurance policy claims: cashless and reimbursement.

Cashless claim

When using the cashless claim method, you are not required to pay for any medical costs yourself. The bills are directly settled by the insurance company to the hospitals. You can only receive treatment at a network hospital with this type of claim, and the claim is settled right away.

Reimbursement claim

When it comes to reimbursement claims, you must front the medical costs first. The costs are later reimbursed once you are discharged from the hospital and have submitted your hospital bills. This claim method allows you to take treatments in any hospital and may take some time until you get your money back.

These days, many insurers offer cashless options. It’s worth noting that the insured may need to pay for admission charges, doctor charges, and non-medical item expenses.

Another point worth mentioning is that insurance providers may not be able to offer cashless facilities in some situations. For example, when a hospital is not in the insurer’s network or if the policy does not offer cover for cashless bill settlements.

What about travel insurance?

It’s no surprise that this health emergency is causing people to second guess their travel plans, especially if they’re heading to areas of concern. While many assume that they can cancel their trip since they have travel insurance, that isn’t necessarily the case. Travel insurance covers what happens to the policyholder, not what could potentially happen to them.

Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that standard travel insurance policies cover outbreaks such as the coronavirus. The reason being that virus outbreaks don’t fall under the regular cancellation reasons for the majority of travel insurance policies.

My flight was cancelled and I had non-refundable hotel/trip bookings

Many airlines are reducing or cancelling services due to the coronavirus outbreak. Some airlines are waiving change fees or giving credit while others are offering refunds. Either way, cancelled flights affect other prepaid plans. With that said, comprehensive travel insurance policies can cover non-refundable expenses such as flights, hotels, and tours.

What if I catch the coronavirus while travelling on travel insurance?

If you have standard travel insurance and catch the virus before your trip or while you’re travelling, your care is likely to be covered. Since coronavirus is now regarded as a “foreseen circumstance”, the cut-off date in your insurance policy will determine whether you’re covered.

What’s the likelihood of being infected with the novel coronavirus?

Your chances of being infected with the coronavirus could depend on where you are. There is always a risk of getting infected with a virus when travelling internationally. To top it off, even a person who is asymptomatic can still transmit the disease.

The best thing you can do to minimize your risk of infection is to practice proper hygiene, such as by adhering to handwashing advice, wear a face mask, and keep your immune system up.

If you’re looking for a health plan for expat family in China, look no further. Pacific Prime is an international insurance company in China that can help you find the right policy for your needs and budget. Whether you’re looking for travel insurance or expat health insurance in China, Pacific Prime China compares private health insurance policies to ensure you know your best options.

Contact us with any of your insurance questions or to receive a free plan comparison or quote today.

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Disclaimer: Pacific Prime China solely represents, operates and manages locally regulated insurance products and services in the territory of PR China. Any references to Pacific Prime Global Company or Group, the international services, insurance products or otherwise stated written or verbally, is for introduction purposes about our overseas network only as each entity is fully independent.