The insurance regulator has told insurance companies to allow those holding Corona Kavach or Corona Rakshak insurance policies to renew their policies up to March 31, 2021, migrate to another policy, or port to another insurer. This is set to benefit people who may have opted for either of these policies as they couldnâ€™t afford a comprehensive health cover.
When the policy is renewed, an additional waiting period of 15 days will not be imposed, according to the new guidelines.
The short-term Corona Kavach or Corona Rakshak policies were launched in July as standard COVID-specific products in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Corona Kavach is an indemnity plan that covers hospitalisation expenses, cost of treatment for any comorbidities along with COVID-19 and range from anywhere between Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh. It comes for a tenure of three-and-a-half months, six-and-a-half months and nine-and-a-half months.
Corona Rakshak is a fixed benefit plan, where the person insured gets a fixed sum if they are diagnosed and hospitalised for more than three days. For this plan, the fixed sum is between Rs 50,000 and Rs 2.5 lakh, with a tenure between three-and-a-half months and nine-and-a-half months.
IRDAI has said that policies of any tenure may be renewed for another three-and-a-half months, six-and-a-half months and nine-and-a-half months based on the choice of the policyholder, but must be done before the existing policy expires.
IRDAI said that during renewal, the policyholder can also change the sum insured. Any waiting period that is there will only be invoked for the additional sum they have taken.
IRDAI said general and health insurers can allow policyholders of Corona Kavach (individual) policy to port from one insurance company to another.
"The accrued gains of waiting period served in the existing Corona Kavach policy shall be protected in respect of coverage of COVID-19, by the porting-in insurer," it added.
Those holding Corona Kavach individual policies can also migrate from this policy to any other indemnity based health insurance product offered by the insurance company as per the option exercised by the policyholder.
Commenting on IRDAI's circular, Amit Chhabra, the Head of Health Insurance at Policybazaar.com said that amongst the various guidelines issued, the most important for consumers is that they can now shift from a corona specific health policy to a comprehensive health insurance cover that will apart from providing them protection from COVID-19 will also provide adequate coverage for more severe ailments like cancer, heart disease, accidents, kidney-related ailments and many more.
"The consumers even have the option of enhancing the sum insured of their policy. This is being seen as a welcome move as more and more people will now switch to comprehensive cover for overall protection thus enhancing the health insurance penetration rate in India," Chhabra added.