- 20 Mar 2020 11:35 AM
First, if you do not know what COVID-19 or Coronavirus, is then where have you been lately? By now everyone should at least be aware of the public health risk facing the majority of the planet.
This is the most virulent flu-type virus to mutate into humans since at least Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
This new strain, not previously identified in humans, was picked up in Hubei Province China in December, and the World Health Organisation (WHO) was notified about its existence on 31st December 2019.
The virus itself was identified on January 7th by the Chinese authorities which was then followed by the WHO who declared a ‘public health emergency of international concern’. On 11th March 2020, the WHO upgraded this warning to ‘pandemic’.
Reaction varies on country to country so I will not go into details on that, other than to say that clients should follow local rules on self-isolating and avoiding public gatherings, etc. This is addition to self-evident habits of washing your hands with soap and hot water or sanitiser regularly especially after handling food, waste, coughing/sneezing, going to bathroom and when caring for the sick.
AVC Health have received guidance from a number of the Insurance Partners we work with (principally Allianz, CIGNA and Bupa) about advice and what clients can expect from the plans they hold.
First, in terms of advice, they suggest that all who are concerned should get the annual vaccine for normal influenza. They suggest to avoid travelling to affected areas and if they are returning from likely areas, they should be aware of symptoms such as coughing, fever and sore throats. They advise to call your Doctor should you experience these symptoms and NOT to visit a hospital.
Although many insurance companies have an exclusion for 'Pandemics', the quality international providers which we work with are waiving this exclusion for any treatment regarding the Covid-19 virus.
Of course, benefits and coverage will still have to be within reference to each clients' plan but the coverage is there, for both testing and treatment.
Testing for COVID-19
Testing for COVID-19 is currently being co-ordinated and provided by local government health systems around the world. If not available locally, most international insurers will cover medically necessary testing for COVID-19, in line with your plan's coverage for diagnostics for other illnesses, and according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
Currently this is for people who:
● are exhibiting symptoms (fever with cough and/or shortness of breath) and/or
● have had an exposure to a confirmed case of COVID-19 infection in the 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms.
If your plan has any restrictions or cost sharing (e.g. co-pays, co-insurance or deductibles/excess) for outpatient diagnostic testing, then some insurers are even waiving these for COVID-19 testing in line with members plan's coverage.
Treatment for COVID-19
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, reputable international medical insurers cover treatment for illnesses designated as a pandemic in line with policy coverage and in the same way as any other illness, and you will be supported with your care needs. Members are encouraged to refer to the terms of your policy for coverage details.
If you have any problems or questions, please dont hesitate to get in touch with our AVC Health staff or your medical insurance provider.
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