Is Omicron Covered Under Your Current Health-care Plan?
Updated On May 14, 2022
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As of February 2022, India has detected about 4,26,92,943 cases of COVID-19 in the country. Amongst these, about 5,09,358 people have lost their lives due to the disease. Moreover, over 10,050 omicron India cases have been reported.
On the other hand, more than 5,50,000 cases of the omicron variant have been reported by over 150 countries across the world as of January 2022. Besides South Africa, the omicron virus has spread to Australia, Canada, the United States, France, Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Germany and Denmark amongst others. As of February 2022, the total tally of global coronavirus cases is 41,34,80,802 while more than 58,26,378 people have lost their lives.
What is Omicron?
Omicron is the new variant of SARS-CoV-2 or coronavirus, which has more than 30 mutations on its spike protein. Also known as B.1.1.529, this variant was first identified in South Africa on 22 November 2021. This heavily mutated COVID variant is being considered more contagious than even the Delta variant as it contains more than twice the mutations. In fact, the COVID-19 cases in South Africa have increased up to four times over the last two weeks due to the new omicron virus. On 26th November 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared ‘omicron’ as a coronavirus variant of concern.
The omicron symptoms are mostly the same as the other coronavirus variants except for scratchy throat and extreme tiredness irrespective of the patient’s age. Besides, people diagnosed with the omicron virus do not complain of loss of taste or smell. Moreover, most omicron COVID positive people have recovered without the need for hospitalization as no major drop in oxygen saturation levels have been reported.
However, the omicron variant of COVID-19 has been discovered recently and thus, the details on the severity, transmission and impact of this variant on the COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines will unfold in the coming weeks. Keeping the devastation by the second COVID-19 wave in mind, it is wise to stay prepared for sudden medical emergencies due to the omicron variant by buying a health insurance policy.
Key Benefits of Health Insurance for Omicron COVID Variant
Take a look at the benefits of buying a health insurance policy covering COVID-19 variants, including omicron below:
Hospitalization Expenses – It covers the insured against any medical expenses incurred on hospitalization due to testing positive for the omicron virus.
Home Treatment Expenses – It pays for the medical expenses incurred on availing treatment for the omicron variant at home as long as it has been advised by a doctor.
Consumables Expenses – It covers the cost of consumables, such as masks, gloves, PPE kits, oxygen, etc., used during the treatment of the omicron COVID variant.
Cashless Hospitalization Facilities –It allows the insured to avail cashless hospitalization facilities for the treatment of omicron virus at a wide network of hospitals affiliated to the insurance provider.
Co-payment – It usually does not come with any co-payment based on the age of the insured at the time of claim settlement as in the case of COVID health insurance plans.
Add-on Covers – A few add-on covers can be used to enhance the policy coverage against the omicron virus under this policy on the payment of an additional premium amount.
Is Omicron Covered under the Existing Health Insurance Policy?
Yes. All existing health insurance plans in India will cover the expenses incurred on the treatment of the omicron virus because omicron is a variant of coronavirus and not a new disease. As per the direction of the Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India (IRDAI), all existing health insurance plans are liable to provide coverage for COVID-19 irrespective of its variant as it is an infectious disease. Therefore, all plans offering coverage for COVID-19 will automatically cover the treatment cost for the omicron variant.
If a person owns a health insurance policy before getting diagnosed with the omicron virus, the insurance company will pay for all his/her treatment expenses. On the contrary, if a person does not have an existing health insurance plan and purchases it after testing positive for the omicron variant, then his/her policy will not cover the resultant treatment cost.
No additional waiting periods are applicable to avail the coverage for omicron treatment costs under existing health insurance plans. But if someone is diagnosed with the omicron variant of coronavirus during the initial waiting period of their health insurance plan, then the medical expenses incurred on the treatment will not be covered.