HIV! The moment we hear the word, we either feel pitiful or disgusted. It is such a shame that till date, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is still considered a taboo subject in India. Ultimately, it’s all a social stigma. Indians shy away from discussing HIV and refrain themselves from associating with those infected with the virus, virtually treating them as outcasts.
Moreover, HIV is most often considered a synonym for AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). But, wait! Let’s clear the confusion!
HIV and AIDS are two different things that are interrelated only because HIV increases the chances of a person contracting AIDS. While all AIDS patients are HIV infected, not all HIV positive people get AIDS.
This draws us to the primary question - is health insurance available for people infected with HIV? Let’s find out.
Why do insurers hesitate to cover HIV?
HIV is an infection that destroys the immune system of the body, making the individual more prone to infections and diseases. With weakened resistance, your body becomes a dwelling place for innumerable diseases that leads to an early death. Being aware of the high risk of HIV infection, health insurance companies exclude any complications arising out of HIV/AIDS from their scope of coverage.
Sadly, people infected with HIV are denied health insurance coverage. Most of the times, insurance claims of those who contracted the virus later years after buying the plan are rejected on the ground that HIV is part of the exclusions list. IRDA in October 2013 urged health insurers to cover HIV infected people. So far none of the companies have come up with any plan for HIV infected people.
How did Star Health India bring about a change?
Star Health decided to step forward with a plan for HIV positive patients. They made certain allowances to cover the HIV infected persons in its Medi-Classic Insurance Plan.
Let us understand the technicality of HIV coverage under the plan and look at the other benefits offered by the plan:
What does the Star Health Medi-Classic Insurance Plan include?
In this plan, individuals can claim expenses which are incurred for treatments if their CD4 count at the time of buying the plan was lower than 350. The plan excludes any expenses arising out of Human T-Cell Lympho Trophic Virus Type III (HTLV-III) or Lymphadenopathy
Associated Virus (LAV) or AIDS. But, it does take into consideration the treatment costs of HIV patients and makes a provision for their claims, covering them if they meet the specified criteria.
Other benefits under the plan include:
a. Inpatient hospitalization cover
b. Pre-hospitalization and post-hospitalization cover
c. Automatic restoration of the sum assured if the coverage gets exhausted in meeting any claim
d. Non-allopathic treatments are also covered
e. No claim bonus accumulates every year @ 5%
f. Allowance of hospital cash by paying an additional premium
g. 101 Day-Care procedures are covered that can be treated within 24 hours due to advancement in technology
h. Free health check-up after every 4 claim-free years up to a maximum cost of Rs. 5000
i. No pre-entrance medical tests are required if you are aged below 50 years
If you are an HIV positive, don’t feel ashamed and consider yourself a social stigma. There is a health plan specially designed for you. Go ahead and take advantage of the benefits offered by the plan.
Looking at the advantages that HIV people can gain from the above Star Health plan, we can only hope that other insurers will come up with such plans on the grounds of humanity.