The incidence of dengue has increased quite a lot in recent times. As per a report titled ‘The global distribution and burden of dengue’, about 390 million cases of dengue infections were estimated each year globally and out of these 96 million cases showed severe infections which resulted in hospitalization. (Source: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/dengue-and-severe-dengue). These numbers are expected to grow given the increasing pollution which gives mosquitoes favourable breeding grounds.
In India also, dengue is becoming a common ailment which causes severe health issues. With the monsoon season also setting in, the probability of dengue has increased manifold calling into concern the need for an insurance plan which covers the incidence of dengue.
Dengue coverage in indemnity health plans
In case of hospitalisation due to dengue, a normal health insurance plan usually covers the costs of treatments. But what about the outpatient costs incurred on the ailment which are also quite high?
Normal health insurance plans might not provide coverage for high outpatient costs incurred in treating dengue. OPD coverage is not available in all health insurance plans. It is available in some plans and even then the coverage limit might be restricted. Since in most dengue cases the treatment incurs mostly outpatient costs, indemnity oriented health insurance plans might fall short in providing sufficient cover for dengue.
Dengue specific health insurance plans
A dengue-specific health insurance plan is available in the market which covers instances of dengue. The plan covers both inpatient as well as outpatient costs incurred in treating dengue. Here are the benefits of the plan –
- Outpatient costs incurred on diagnostics, investigations, doctor’s consultations, medicines, etc. are covered
- The premium is a flat rate irrespective of the age of the insured. It is low and very affordable
- There is no pre-entrance medical check-up required and the policy is available easily
- A low waiting period of only 15 days is applicable before coverage begins
The only disadvantage of the plan is that it does not cover hospitalisation due to any other illness and injury except dengue. This drawback is what works against the plan. If the insured does not suffer from dengue, the plan would not be effective at all.
Critical illness vis-à-vis dengue health plans
Apart from indemnity health plans, dengue specific plans are also compared with critical illness health insurance plans. Since in some cases dengue can become critical and also prove fatal, it is expected that dengue would be covered in critical illness plans which would pay a lump sum benefit if the insured suffers from dengue. This, however, is not the case. Critical illness plans cover many critical illnesses and treatments but not dengue. This might make many think of opting for dengue specific plans to protect against the incidence of dengue.
The ideal combination
Amidst the debate between which health insurance plan is the most beneficial, one thing cannot be ignored. Medical emergencies might strike from anywhere and so complete protection is a must. With this view in mind, having a comprehensive indemnity health insurance plan with a critical illness plan is the best bet. The indemnity health insurance plan should have all the essential coverage benefits with an optimal sum insured level to protect the insured against all possible types of medical emergencies. A critical illness plan, on the other hand, would give additional financial aid in case of serious illnesses and surgeries and prove to be a supplemental coverage.
As far as dengue is concerned, hospitalisation due to dengue would be covered under any normal indemnity health plan. For covering outpatient dengue related expenses, a plan with OPD coverage benefit can be chosen. When the plan has OPD cover, the insured would get coverage for the outpatient expenses incurred on dengue up to a certain extent.
So, choosing a dengue specific health plan should never be done at the cost of an all-inclusive health insurance plan. Educate your client to first arm himself with a comprehensive health insurance plan and a critical illness plan and then choose a dengue plan if required and not the other way around. The dengue plan has minimal premiums and can be bought in addition to health insurance and critical illness plans but not in place of them.