Planning for the preventable

Vaccination, inoculation procedures are usually not covered by health insurers

If immunisation is insurance against disease, what about insurance for immunisation? I just checked my policy and immunisation procedures such as vaccination and inoculation are expressly excluded. Some policies exclude them except after a bite, as in the case of rabies.

To be fair, it is a hospitalisation policy and does not cover out-patient procedures but listed day-care procedures. Even those have initial waiting periods before coverage kicks in.

Many general insurance companies offer vaccination cover only as part of maternity benefits under the hospitalisation policy. Vaccination expenses for the new-born, up to a limit, typically ₹10,000, is covered under the policy.

So, what does one do? If your company offers vaccinations as an add-on cover, it makes sense to opt for it. There could be a waiting time for you to become eligible. If you are buying health insurance anew, you can try to buy a policy that offers this as part of the basic cover and there are options available and here, you can claim immediately when the policy commences for some types of vaccines.

When it is a part of the basic cover, the premium is built in and there is a separate limit for immunisation costs so it does not cut into your sum assured. Fortunately, claim for vaccination will also not affect your no-claim bonus.

Insurance for immunisation is not so much a COVID-19 vaccination requirement, because clarity is yet to emerge on it being free or otherwise.

But the thing is, we have largely forgotten vaccinations after that dreaded painful shot in our school days that gave us fever and an ugly scar. Only a few of us have taken adult vaccinations for Hepatitis, typhoid or rabies and fewer still have had even annual flu shots. Exceptions may be when visa applications require it or we become concerned after a conversation with our doctor.

Jabs for children

Vaccinations for children has become universal only recently in India and it’s been quite an achievement to get rid of small pox, whooping cough, polio and that ilk of heart-rending childhood afflictions.

In the same breath, let us see an often-forgotten perk in your hospitalisation policies. Once in block of a certain number of claim free years, your insurance company will pay for your preventive health check. There is an upper limit, usually pegged to your sum assured, and it will defray your expenses partially at least. Availing this too will not affect your no-claim bonus.

Of course, a preventive health check benefits both you and your insurer as you can take corrective measures and save yourself major health problems in the future and save them a claim.

They should start approaching vaccination also similarly as the benefits will only be larger!

(The writer is a business journalist specialising in insurance & corporate history)

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