New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday noted that with non-availability of hospital beds amid the second wave of Covid-19, a large of insured people could not avail benefits of their health insurance policies and asked the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) to see if such people can be covered.
A bench, comprising Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh, said a large number of people could not receive benefits under their policies as they could not get a hospital bed. This cannot be termed as their fault, as the situation arose due to the dearth of medical infrastructure, it said, asking the sector regulator to discuss with insurance companies, the terms and conditions under which such people could be covered.
“About three to four weeks when the current wave of the pandemic was at its peak, there was acute shortage of hospital beds not only in Delhi but in the entire country. Covid-19 patients, who required hospitalisation, could not get hospital beds, as a result, several people had to take treatment at home with oxygen supply and other equipment,” the bench said.
Observing the insurance policies issued by various companies do not cover claims unless the insured is hospitalised, it directed IRDA to examine various aspects through which people can receive benefits of health insurance and place a status report before it.
It has posted the matter for further hearing on July 14.
Also after learning that Covid specific polices are meant for people between 18-65 age group, the bench said people above 60 years are more vulnerable to Covid-19 and excluding them will not help. It asked IRDA to examine possibility of a Covid specific insurance policy for citizens above the age of 65 years.
Noting that the IRDA has taken steps to mitigate the sufferings of people on account of Covid-19, it however, said that there are a couple of issues that it should consider.
Counsel representing IRDA submitted that against the backdrop of the pandemic, it has notified two policies: Corona Kavach Policy and Corona Rakshak Policy and apart from them, various companies are offering other policies on individual and group basis.
The counsel added till April 30, 26.37 lakh corona kavach policies were issued and 4.73 lakh corona rakshak policies were issued. However, the bench responded that insurance companies are not doing any charity, if one were to look at the premium collected in comparison with the amount disbursed.