My Life and Health Insurance Coverage during COVID-19
By Violet Mordichai ~ Managing Director at AAR Insurance Tanzania on 29 Apr 2020Health & Wellness
Every new day that passes comes with new revelations on the COVID-19 situation either at an individual perspective or a business perspective. A global crisis such as the current Covid-19 affects all business sectors at different levels from employers, their staff all the way across various stakeholders. Like any other sector, Insurers have been put on a spotlight for unforeseen events and most specifically on the Health and Life Insurance covers.
While there has been an increased emphasis for institutions to suspend investments and where possible limit their spending during this crisis, it is quite a challenge for the Health Insurers to hold back such activities as this is the time to invest on its operational excellence in order to offer comfort and support to the policyholders. This period calls for improved technology in offering active and aggressive care through modern digital platforms.
I have in the recent past received a number of questions from people on how their existing Life and Health Insurance covers may help them. It may be worth sharing some insight with you for information;
Does my Life and Health Insurance Coverage help during COVID-19 Pandemic?
Most Health insurance covers will cater for consultations and treatment for symptoms such as flu, headaches and fever prior to testing positive for covid19 virus. After positive testing, your critical illness cover may kick in subject to the sub limits as per your benefit schedules and terms of your policy. Some Health Insurance covers may include a Wellness package/benefit which caters for mental wellness over and above physical wellness. This would be a good time to utilize this benefit to manage the current uncertainty that may cause depression and stress to employees. It is important to regularly check your cover provisions and consult with your health insurer for any other support not listed.
Like Health insurance, most Life insurance covers will cater for loss of life or disability as a result of the COVID-19 effects. Life Insurance kicks in on the event of a death to pay a lump sum to nominated beneficiaries in the event an insured person passes away while the policy is in force. If your policy is active, then your beneficiaries are illegible for claims associated with COVID-19. It is important to check your life insurance cover provisions and ensure your policy is active and in force. Be sure to update your next of kin and beneficiary details.
Can I upgrade my Life and Health Insurance Package in-between policy period to Cover for COVID-19 during a crisis?
The answer is NO. You cannot upgrade your active policy midstream to cover for an event which already exists. However, you could wait until the renewal period is due to upgrade you coverage. Nevertheless, if you have an existing Life or Health coverage, you may review the benefit structure upon renewal of the policy on the expiration of the policy term. Life and Health insurance covers are offered on an annual basis and are age sensitive and hence get more expensive with age. It is prudent to have your cover well in advance to avoid an age cut-off.
Should I Save or Buy Insurance on my Life or Health at this time?
With no doubt we all agree that, it is important to save during uncertain times such as these. Bear in mind that buying a new cover on your Life or Health at this time will not help you immediately as certain waiting periods may apply.
If you have an already existing life or health insurance cover, it is important to ensure that your cover is active and has not lapsed. This will save you any challenges when lodging a claim.
However, despite the pandemic and health scare, the human life cycle continues to exist and you must consider to buy reasonable insurance cover enough to protect you and your family in the event of an occurrence. For this reason, YES it is prudent to buy Life and Health insurance policies that will protect you and your loved ones when the need arises.
What Should I Consider when Renewing or Buying Health Insurance Cover at this time?
- Life events are changing fast. Secure your health coverage renewals ahead of time to avoid uncertainties
- Negotiate a reasonable critical illness benefit to cater for unforeseen future diagnosis.
- Negotiate and ensure to include a Wellness package in your health insurance coverage to cater for the mental health of your family
- Select the right insurance amount enough to cover for your annual medical needs given your past medical history
- Carefully study the network of hospitals available from your insurer. You must ensure a cashless network to benefit from your insurance cover in case of emergency services.
Lastly, to share some coping tips that have helped me navigate during this period
- Feeling overwhelmed in absolutely normal in a crisis. Stop for a minute and regain your bearing then move on a step at a time – a day at a time.
- Stay hydrated to help calm your nerves. The brain acts irrationally when under undue pressure.
- Understand the ABCs and steps take in case of an incident. This will give you the confidence to manage the situation when you or someone around you shows symptoms of COVID-19.
- Follow Government updates and directives on staying safe and ensure you have the necessary Personal Protective Equipment whenever you are exposed.
By Violet Mordichai ~ Managing Director at AAR Insurance Tanzania