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A pandemic is described as an epidemic spread of a disease on a global scale, around multiple continents. It is convenient to estimate that such a rapid spread across geographical boundaries implies the number of people getting affected is in millions. The history of humanity is witness to several pandemics such as smallpox, black death, and tuberculosis.
Deaths in large numbers as an aftermath of these pandemics only means an ominous impact on the world. The inclusion of implications from such viruses is a matter of inspecting the fine print for many health insurance seekers and providers today.
One of the most outrageous pandemics to hit the world in the recent past is the 1918 Spanish Flu. It resulted from an H1N1 virus, which is believed to have an Avian origin. Throughout the upcoming two years since 1918, more than 500 million people were infected with the virus. At that time, it meant almost one-third of the world population. Out of these, close to 50 million people lost their lives. The numbers speak for themselves, and clearly, the Spanish Flu was one of the deadliest viruses to hit the human population in the recent past. Lack of health insurance options in such times failed to provide any viable security to people.
Thirty-seven years after the H1N1 virus was detected, a new H2N2 virus triggered a pandemic after it emerged in East Asia. This was the second major pandemic to rattle humanity in the 20th century. Adequate health insurance options had still not developed by this time. An estimated 2 million people lost their lives during this pandemic. The virus was first detected in Singapore, after which it spread through China, eventually reaching the United States.
Originating in China, this pandemic caused an outbreak of influenza, which lasted until 1970. The erstwhile epidemics in 1918 and 1957 were only its predecessors. The death count resulting from this pandemic tolled 4 million. This virus was suspected to be an evolved form of the 1957 virus. Around this time, people had started to grow aware of health insurance options all over the world.
Detected first in the United States, where the awareness for health insurance is vast among people, influenza spread across the world rapidly. This virus particularly impacted the younger population and is believed to have caused over 5 million deaths worldwide.
The coronavirus is the latest in the series of ongoing pandemics in the world after HIV/AIDS and is currently ravaging the human population worldwide. Abbreviated to COVID-19, it has infected almost 2.6 million people at present, and we are yet to see the end to this pandemic. Despite being protected by adequate health insurance, billions of people find themselves confined to their homes, in a bid to control the rapid spread of the virus.
If it was not possible to manifest the impact of a pandemic before now, surely the ongoing COVID-19 situation has given the world a dose of its severe effects. As people remain shut in their homes, the economy finds itself bruised to the core, amidst the abrupt lockdowns imposed across countries. From automobiles, health insurance, mobile phones to educational institutions, and service centres, the world is padlocked.
Today, the world is more crowded than it was at the time of the first few pandemics we have discussed. Despite greater health insurance coverage worldwide, the human population faces an increased threat from such pandemics. Evident from the current situation, epidemics are likely to disrupt various supply chains, including food, energy, and medical supplies, along with healthcare services. The professionals in the medical field are likely to face a dearth of health insurance protection, owing to their risk exposure.
As per an Influenza plan report, the potential hurt to the economies around the world can soar as high as $30 billion within the first few months of the pandemic. With only a third of the countries prepared to tackle a global outbreak, the overall response to an unprecedented event poses chilling outcomes for the human race.
The COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have widespread ramifications for countries. Various industries, including travel, entertainment, FMCG, education, marketing, and eCommerce, are facing the brunt of the pandemic.
The pandemic has altered the lives of people, sealing their sources of income and outlay of discretionary money. While they were likely to spend on casual accessories before, now, an increased amount of expenditure is expected towards food, personal hygiene and healthcare facilities such as health insurance.
As per a recent report that measures the impact across the consumers, spending on all fields except food and hygiene is expected to go down. When it comes to health insurance, companies across the world are expanding their coverage. With this comes a burgeoning burden on the health insurance sector, which will have to cover the frequency and severity of health insurance claims arising from the pandemic situation.
With the looming uncertainty as to the end of this pandemic, it is unclear how the health insurance service providers will tackle the claims arising from patients. However, the growing potential of future health insurance policies will definitely impact the industry in the days to come. Numbers from the previous pandemics speak to the truth of this statement.
A report in China states that the CAGR for health insurance policies increased by 40% during and after the epidemic strike of the 2002 SARS. Similarly, during the spread of MERS, Bupa Arabia reported a 22% spike in health insurance premiums.
Most of the current health insurance policies ardently cushion the impact of COVID-19. People can additionally subscribe to such health insurance policies even now after considering their eligibility criteria, renewal period, and benefits covered. If you want to stay protected during the coronavirus pandemic, start by purchasing the right health insurance plan.
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