New Delhi : Amidst the rising cases of COVID-19 reaching close to 9 lakh and the limited public healthcare infrastructure and resources in India, the surplus cases will go to private hospitals, which is beyond the affordability of a common man. As per reports, more than 80 per cent of COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms and do not require hospital care. In such a situation, home healthcare is helping address a substantial portion of the present healthcare requirement.
And, in this regard, a recent Delhi Govt. report reveals — of 691 deaths that took place during the last fortnight in Delhi, only 7 deaths took place in home isolation (between June 24 and June 30). However, in July not a single patient died in home isolation. This shows that home isolation has been resulting in a decline in fatality rates.
“As the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing exponentially, there may be a shortage of beds if all patients are admitted. Majority of patients with mild symptoms don’t require hospitalization as the recovery period of such patients is about 14 to 17 days if proper home isolation guidelines are followed. With mild symptoms, there is no need to immediately rush to a hospital. Such patients can self-isolate in the comfort of their home. Also, people with underlying medical conditions, perhaps now less inclined to go to the hospital, may choose home care too, and even those who are hospitalized with the virus will need home care post-discharge. In fact, home healthcare has started showing good results in COVID-19 scenario”,said Dr Gaurav Thukral, COO, HealthCare atHOME (HCAH).
As COVID-19 has expanded the market for home healthcare providers, the number of patients seeking home healthcare services will increase accordingly. Also, in the wake of the pandemic, there has been greater concern and awareness about health, and enquiries about health insurance policies have increased by 30–40%. The pandemic also provides an opportunity for insurance companies to innovate and serve the evolving needs of a more informed population. Several insurance companies have come forward and added home healthcare segments in their healthcare policies. Recently, ICICI Lombard General Insurance has added benefits related to the treatment of coronavirus to its existing health insurance indemnity policies. Apart from leading hospitals, ICICI Lombard has tied – up with top home care service provider — Healthcare at Home (HCAH).
“Our recent tie-up with ICICI Lombard, GIC has offered additional benefits to the insured patients, at no extra cost. This would enable the policyholders to derive maximum benefit from their health insurance cover. As part of this offering, insured patients can get themselves treated at home instead of having to avail hospitalization to avail of the insurance claim. This will significantly benefit those patients who wish to avail treatment for any ailment in the safe environment of their home, rather than a hospital, thereby ensuring social distancing and reducing COVID-19 infections. This will also go a long way in benefiting the patients who will tend towards home healthcare and also help in increasing the number of health insurance seekers. Also, amid COVID-19, and after, the Indian home healthcare users are expected to grow significantly”, said Mr Vivek Srivastava, Co-founder & CEO, HealthCare atHOME (HCAH).
“The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, coughing, and breathing problems. Unless you have severe symptoms, you can most likely treat them at home, the way you would for a cold or the flu. Most people recover from COVID-19 without the need for hospital care”, added Mr Srivastava.
Given the global COVID-19 pandemic, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI) has decided to mandate all general and health insurers to offer Individual ‘COVID Standard Health Policy’. The COVID Standard Health Policy also offers ‘Home Care Treatment Expenses’, wherein, the insurer shall cover the costs of treatment of COVID incurred by the insured person on availing treatment at home maximum up to 14 days if the Medical practitioner advises the insured person to undergo treatment at home.
“The IRDAI mandates that all general and health insurers shall offer the COVID-19 Standard Health Policy is indeed a welcome step. As per this mandate, the insurer shall also cover the costs of treatment of the insured who is going under Home Care Treatment for COVID-19 with certain conditions. The decision taken by the IRDAI in the current scenario will equip the people to take healthcare insurance policies without any hesitation”, said, Ms. Shobha Mishra Ghosh, Assistant Secretary General, FICCI.