There have been several media reports on the exorbitant bills charged by some private hospitals to treat patients of COVID-19.
Meanwhile, a recent report by Economic Times citing unpublished industry data compiled by the General Insurance Council (GIC), the average insurance settlement for a patient hospitalised for COVID-19 is Rs 90,118, whereas the average claim size is Rs 1.56 lakh, falling short of around Rs 65,000.
If you had purchased a mediclaim-type health insurance policy in the pre-COVID times, these policies generally do not cover the cost of a majority of consumables used to treat coronavirus patients. Consumables in health insurance mean single-use items like gowns, tissues, syringes, etc, that are used in medical procedures but considered as non-medical items due to their nature.
For COVID-19 treatment, there are added costs of consumables that are generally not needed in other medical treatments like the requirement of hospital staff to use personal protective equipment (PPE) kits, that includes N-95 mask, nitrile gloves, face shield, shoe covers, etc, plus sanitisers and disinfectants. Each of these items in the PPE kits, sanitisers, disinfectants are considered as separate consumables, and not covered by your general medical insurance.
Most policies, existing before the coronavirus pandemic will not cover these expenses. Additionally, hospital costs have also increased due to social distancing measures. Where a ward could handle 20 patients in the pre-COVID times, it will now only be able to deliver services to 10, increasing costs.
If you planning to buy a new cover or to renew an existing one, you can ask your insurance company on the charges that may or may not be covered.