Covid-19 came much like a tsunami- three unexpected giant waves which swept many people away into poverty. Health insurance in India does not seem to be doing its job. As it is, India has one of the highest out-of-pocket expenditures in the world, around 65% and Covid-19 has only amplified and deepened this issue.
Only around 38% of Indians are covered under health insurance. For private insurance companies, the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India, came up two short-term insurance policies, Corona Rakshak and Corona Kavach. During the first wave, insurance companies shelled out huge amounts of money.
But, it dwindled during the second wave as cases began to be classified as mild, moderate and severe as per norms. Settlement of claims was delayed and hospitals started demanding advance deposits by patients. Some families claim that they were reimbursed only a fraction of their money or their claims were rejected. Also, insurance companies did not accept new clients who had tested positive.
The better-off who were financially literate and sound enough to afford private health insurance, faced financial troubles due to the pandemic. What about the poor, the marginalized sections and informal sector workers?