In 2014, India was said to have the third highest number of AIDS infected people in the World. This is a disturbingly high number. Considering that the virus can affect anybody and there is no immunity or cure for this virus invented yet, it is one of those diseases that are much dreaded. While the equally dreaded cancer is considered as critcal illness, HIV/AIDS is far more dangerous because there is no cure yet and the person has to live with the disease for the rest of his or her life. However, if you have the financial help to survive, life might seem a little easier for most since you would have one thing less to worry about. Health insurance specifically for HIV/AIDS patients might be able to provide financial support, when it comes to fighting the disease.
Why Health Insurance is Required for HIV Positive/AIDS Patients?
HIV and AIDS are two of the most dreaded abbreviations in the line of medicine. Continuous research is being done to find the cure of HIV/AIDs. People are hoping that in the next few decades there will be an adequate solution. Currently there are medicines and treatments that help people survive for a longer period of time with the disease. These treatments and medical aids are not only expensive but have to be taken for a patient’s whole life. A health insurance, therefore, becomes absolutely necessary for such patients. It also harbours sudden costs and is able to provide for the newer treatment which scientists are working on, at all times.
What are the Challenges Faced in Providing Health Insurance for HIV/AIDS patients?
HIV virus attacks the immune system of an individual’s body, leading the person to be prone to any infections or diseases which the body could otherwise fight. When the body’s immune system is damaged, diseases could lead to death faster. Though people can live with the disease as mentioned earlier, it is very risky for insurers to invest on. Most companies in India make this disease part of their exclusion list for health insurance coverage hence providing no financial aid. However, in 2013, IRDA which is the leading insurance administrative body in India has urged health insurance providers to provide some sort of cover for these people. So far, there is only one insurance company which came forward covering this disease which is Star Health India.
Star Health India’s Plan for AIDS/HIV Patients:
Star Health is the first company to come up with a plan for AIDS/HIV positive patients in India. Some allowance in their plan provide coverage for HIV infected patients in their health insurance policy.
Star India Medi-Classic Insurance Plan:
Star as a conglomerate has always been a company which has indulged in philanthropy through health care, an important mission of their group, and hence have tried to make it work for the worst situations in health.
Benefits and Features of Star India Medi-Classic Insurance Plan:
- If the CD4 count for the disease is lower than 350, people can claim for coverage through this plan.
- Expense claims for Human T-Cell Lympho Trophic Virus Type III (HTLV-III) or Lymphadenopathy Associated Virus (LAV) or for that matter AIDS are not covered. However, it does consider treatment costs of HIV patients if they meet certain criteria for treatment and stage. This means that they cover people who are in the earliest stages.
- This plan also covers costs incurred for:
- Inpatient hospitalization
- Non-allopathic treatments
- 101 Day-Care procedures
- The sum assured is automatically restored if the coverage is exhausted when meeting any claim.
- No medical tests required if the individual is under the age of 50 years.
- Free health check-ups for people who do not make any claims in 4 years worth upto Rs.5,000.
- Other exclusions include:
- Expenses incurred in treating HIV
- Confirmation of being infected by AIDS within 90 days of policy commencement.
- Any medical conditions that are pre-existing
If someone has the disease or is HIV positive, it is essential that they come forward and seek treatment through such plans. The plan has also been recently upgraded to Star Health Netplus.
GST rate of 18% applicable for all financial services effective July 1, 2017.
Disclaimer: Premiums may vary depending upon factors like age, location and prevailing taxes/GST.