The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) takes various steps to ensure that insurance plans fulfil your requirements and prove relevant to your insurance needs. Given the difficulty of comparing insurance plans due to the different benefit structures, IRDAI introduced the concept of standardized insurance plans. Standardized insurance plans are those that offer a standard set of coverage benefits which is uniform across all insurance companies. There premiums, however, are determined by the insurance companies themselves.
The benefit of standardized insurance plans is to allow individuals to opt for a basic insurance coverage at affordable rates. Moreover, since the plans have uniform features, you can also compare the premiums across different insurers and buy the most affordable coverage.
Ever since the pandemic struck, IRDAI has introduced a range of standardized insurance policies. Three of the most popular policies are as follows –
- Aarogya Sanjeevani Policy
This is an annual health insurance policy that provides basic health insurance coverage at very affordable rates. The features of the policy are as follows-
- It can be taken either on an individual or on a floater coverage basis
- The sum insured is limited to INR 10 lakhs
- Coverage is allowed for inpatient hospitalisation, pre and post hospitalisation, day care treatments, AYUSH treatments, modern surgeries, among others.
- 5% cumulative bonus for every claim-free year up to a maximum of 50%
- Pre-existing waiting period is 4 years
The Aarogya Sanjeevani Policy is suitable if you are looking for affordable health insurance coverage. If you don’t have health insurance and want to start with a basic cover, this policy would be suitable. The policy would cover the common medical costs associated with hospitalisation. However, there are sub-limits under most coverage benefits and so you should check these sub-limits when buying the plan.
How to buy?
Many insurance companies offer the policy online through their websites while some companies offer only the offline mode. You can also buy the policy online through Turtlemint, to compare the premium charged by different insurers and then find the best rate.
How to claim?
If you are hospitalised and incur medical costs that are covered under the policy, you can make a claim. The policy is an indemnity based health plan which means that the policy covers the actual medical costs incurred. You can make a cashless claim at networked hospitals or reimbursement claims at non-networked hospitals.
- COVID-specific health insurance plans
Given the rising incidence of hospitalisation following COVID, IRDAI introduced two standard COVID related plans – Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak. The features of these plans are as follows –
- Both plans cover only COVID related claims
- Corona Kavach is an indemnity health plan that covers the actual medical costs incurred on hospitalisation due to COVID. Corona Rakshak, on the other hand, is a fixed-benefit plan that pays a lump sum benefit on hospitalisation due to COVID.
- The sum insured of Kavach is up to INR 5 lakhs while for Rakshak it is limited to INR 2.5 lakhs
- Kavach can be taken on a floater basis while Rakshak is available only on an individual basis
- Both plans pay COVID related claims without any deductibles or limits
- The tenure of coverage is 3.5 months, 6.5 months or 9.5 months.
- The waiting period for COVID claims is 15 days
If you are looking for a specific plan to cover possible COVID infections and the consequences, you can invest in these plans. Their premiums are low and they pay COVID-related claims without any deductibles and after a waiting period of only 15 days.
However, remember that your normal indemnity health plan also covers COVID. So, do not substitute an indemnity plan with these plans. You can buy these plans in addition to an existing indemnity health policy.
How to buy?
Both these plans are available online as well as offline. You can buy them through the insurer’s website or an aggregator’s website after comparing the premium rates.
How to claim?
Cashless claim facility is available under both the plans. For Corona Kavach you need to be hospitalised for at least 24 hours or more to make a claim. In case of Rakshak, however, hospitalisation of 72 hours or more is needed for an eligible claim.
- Saral Jeevan Bima
This is a standard term product that provides financial security. The plan offers a death benefit in the case of death during the policy tenure. Here’s a look at the plan’s features –
- Flexible premium payment options are available. You can pay single premium, limited premium or regular premium
- You can buy the plan in the age group of 18 to 65 years while coverage is allowed till 70 years of age.
- The sum assured starts at INR 5 lakhs and there is no maximum limit
- The plan does not pay any maturity benefit
A term insurance plan is essential for financial security of your loved ones in your absence. Saral Jeevan Bima, therefore, provides financial security at affordable rates. If you are looking for a simple plan with pure risk protection, this can be a good choice.
How to buy?
Like the afore-mentioned health plans, Saral Jeevan Bima can also be bought online or offline. Buying through Turtlemint allows you to compare the premiums of different insurers. Since the plan’s features are same across insurers, comparison allows you to get the best rates.
How to claim?
If the insured dies, the nominee should inform the insurance company for getting claims. The claim form should be filled and submitted along with the death certificate of the insured and the identity proof of the nominee for claim settlement.
The bottom line
All these insurance plans are simple plans that offer the basic coverage at affordable premiums. They also allow you the benefit of premium comparison so that you get the best deal. So, assess your coverage needs and then invest in these plans for securing yourself financially.
COVID-19 has changed our life in the most drastic way possible. Navigation through this new normal is not always easy, whether it is isolating yourself, staying indoors, making children sit through the online classes, working from home with no household help, being away from loved ones etc. All this can take a toll on your health, both mental and physical.
Every day we are dealing with new challenges. We are maintaining physical distance, washing our hands, staying indoors as much as possible, maintaining hygiene to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe against his pandemic. In such a scary scenario, it has been realised that self-care can make a great difference to our well-being.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care, according to the World Health Organisation, is “the behaviours you do to take care of your own health and can include hygiene, nutrition, leisure activities, sports, exercise, seeking professional healthcare services when needed, and much more.”
Self-care is not a luxury, it is an elementary part of this new normal life that we have been given. When the situation is out of our control, the best way to move forward is to accept the reality without dialling up stress levels.
Self-Care In COVID Times
Over 1.63 crore Indians have received the coronavirus vaccine so far, and thankfully most recipients did not face any adverse effects. Soon, vaccination for people 18 years of age will also start. Here are some basic self-care tips that you can follow before and after your vaccination.
- Build your Immunity
The first step to self-care is by building your immunity. And in order to build your immunity, you need to do a lot more than take your multivitamins.
- Have a healthy Diet to Maintain a healthy Lifestyle
Eat fresh, home cooked food that is full of proteins, green vegetables, fruits
- Prefer foods that Build Immunity
- A piece of raw amla (gooseberry) in your mouth for an hour
- A spoonful of chawanprash
- Hot water, 3-5 glasses a day
- Turmeric tea
- Ayurvedic herbal tea
- Half a garlic clove
- Vitamin Supplements
Vitamin supplements can act as immunity boosters. They are available in forms of juices, tea, kadha, capsules, etc.
- Exercises to build immunity
Practise Pranayama, Yoga and meditation
- Avoid Smoking, Alcoholic drinks
As they tend to weaken the capacity of your lungs
- A Positive Attitude
A positive mindset is key to physical well being
- Sleep for 7 to 8 hours
An improved sleep recharges your mind and body
- Have a healthy Diet to Maintain a healthy Lifestyle
Having a mask on your face is not enough. Follow these mask etiquettes diligently:
- Wash your hands before touching the mask
- Cover your mouth and your nose
- Remove the mask holding the straps behind the ears
Washing your hands
Follow the simple 6-step process of washing your hands so that it is clean and free of virus.
- Social Distancing Norms
- Wearing a mask in public is mandatory
- Try to maintain a distance of 6 feet between people
- If someone in the family is infected, wear masks at home too
- Avoid crowds
- Avoids spaces that are poorly ventilated
- Cover coughs and sneezes
Keep yourself well those around you safe. Follow these simple Rules:
- Wash your hand regularly. Clean them with a sanitizer
- While sneezing/ coughing use a handkerchief
- If feeling unwell do not delay speaking to your doctor
- Avoid meeting others if you are not feeling well
- Spit in public
Cover your mouth and nose keeping your elbow bent or with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. Dispose off the tissue immediately. Breathing exercises can greatly help in maintaining your oxygen levels. You can practise then in various positions:
- Sitting cross-legged on the floor
- Sitting in a chair
- Sitting cross-legged on bed
Normal level is between 94 – 100. If the oxygen drops below this, consult your doctor immediately. If you feel slightly breathless or your oxygen saturation is low, you could try self-proning. Try to spend 30 minutes on each:
- Lay on your belly
- Shift to your right side
- Sit up with legs extended in front
- Lay down on your left side
- Lay down on your belly
This mobile-base application ensures safety of the citizens from this disastrous disease. The app would highlight a hotspot or any high-risk areas. You can also check for symptoms associated with Covid in a few moments. To get started:
- Download the app from PlayStore or AppStore
- Allow location sharing and give access to bluetooth
- Enter the OTP received on the mobile number
- Fill in the required fields
- Start the assessment test
Self Care Guidelines
- Before Vaccination
- If you are allergic to certain medicines, get an all-clear certificate from your doctor
- Eat well and stay relaxed before the vaccination
- Get a minimum of 6 -8 hours of sleep
- Speak to your doctor if you are on regular medication
- In case you are a diabetic or have BP issues, speak to your doctor before the vaccine
- Cancer patients need to act only on their doctor’s advice
- If you have been infected with Covid already, it is recommended that you avoid the vaccine for the next 2 months till you do an Antigen test and check with your doctor before taking the vaccine.
- Wear your mask, face shield and gloves
- Carry a sanitiser, keep using it
- Wear loose clothes so that your upper arm is easily accessible
- Stay hydrated, dehydration can cause fatigue and dizziness
- Stay calm and have good, positive thoughts in mind
- Keep monitoring yourself for any side effects
- Contact your doctor in case of vomiting, itching, fainting
- It is better that you avoid alcohol the day you get your shot
- Take your regular medication after consulting your doctor
- Mark the Calendar for your Second dose
Self Care if You Get Infected With Covid
- Symptoms: The common symptoms of Covid are
- Dry Cough
- Loss of smell or taste
- Sore Throat
- Nasal Congestion
In case you think you have got infected with Covid, the first important thing is that you do not panic. Call your doctor or the Covid-10 helpline to find out where and when to get a Covid test.
- Severe Symptoms of Covid include
- Shortness of Breath
- Persistent chest pain or a feeling of pressure on the chest
- High fever
If you do not have any severe symptoms, it is quite likely that your doctor would advise you to stay at home for 14 days. You would be asked to isolate yourself. Stay away from others and keep a check on your health. Follow the guidelines given below:
- Take a lot of rest
- Stay hydrated, drink lots of fluids such as
- Water, nimbu-pani, fresh fruit juice, coconut water
- Use a “Steam Inhaler” to get relief from congestion
- Drink warm/ hot drinks to get relief from sore throat
- Avoid spicy/ fried food. Eat healthy
- Keep washing your hands every hour or so, for 20 seconds at least
- Make use of a sanitizer at regular intervals
- After consulting your doctor, take Paracetamol and/or Ibuprofen to reduce fever and body aches
If you are infected and are at home, follow these guidelines:
- Stay isolated in a room, away from all members and pets
- Wear a double face mask if you have to use a common room
- You must not share dishes, clothes, towels, bedsheets and utensils with other members
- After use, make sure you sanitise and clean hardware and surfaces
- You haven’t had a fever for the past 72 hours/ 3 consecutive days at least
- You no longer show any common symptoms
- It has been a week since you showed your initial symptoms
Self Care Essentials During Covid
Keeping an emergency home kit is extremely essential these days. Keep these items handy to keep yourself and your family members safe.
- A thermometer
- Oximeter, if possible (normal SpO2 levels are 94-100)
- Over the counter medicines such as
- Cough Syrup,
- Nasal Spray
- Vitamin B complex, C and D3
- Betadine gargle
- Karvol vapour
- Steam inhaler
- Hand gloves
- Make sure you have enough soap, sanitiser and detergent
- Keep disinfectant wipes at home
- Keep disposable/ washable masks and gloves marked for each member to avoid mixing
- Keep a first-aid kit with bandages, pain killer, anti-allergy medicines
- Avoid having overly spicy food
- Prefer warm drinks
- Keep a list of emergency numbers ready, that includes details of:
- Your Doctor
- Nearest Hospital
- Ambulance Service
- Family Members (In case you have young children at home)
- Write down important passwords
- In advance, keep one room allotted as the isolation room. Keep sheets, towels, toiletries dishes here, for anyone who is ill
- Loose clothes and hand towel
- Arogya Setu App
Self Care – Being In Isolation and Dealing With It
One of the major reasons that can cause anxiety and stress is staying in isolation. Being alone during such trying times can indeed destabilise your positivity. That is why self-care is so important. It includes all the practices that relate to your mood and thus, your mental and physical health.
So how can one strike a balance, how can one cope with being in isolation? Here are some ideas that can occupy you when you are struggling:
- Sleep. It is one of the few things that always work
- Meditation and yoga would help you keep your sanity in place
- Start writing a journal or poetry. Years later when you read it you’ll be all smiles
- Pursue that hobby that you always wanted to, read a book, start to paint, take an online music class
- Call old friends and your relatives with the extra time at hand. Chatting and having zoom calls might be fun
- YouTube is filled with tutorials. You can learn a new skill or concept by going through the Tutorials of Turtlemint on YouTube
- Catch up on the shows or movies that you had missed earlier
Self Care During Work From Home
Remember the time when you had to wake up early, commute for an hour to give a presentation in the office. How you wished you could do it from home. How you wished you didn’t have to travel so much every day to reach the office. Well, the prayers have been answered, though in a very mysterious way.
Work From Home is something that we couldn’t have comprehended in pre-Covid times, but it is now a reality we live with. It is probably a feasible solution that most companies and organisations could think of. If COVID-19 has forced you to become a Remote Worker or a Worker From Home, follow these tips to keep yourself motivated, cheerful and healthy.
Being regular in your workout has multiple benefits. Now that home is the office, you ought to be out of excuses. Walking around the house, aerobics or a cardio workout. Do anything, but do something
- Use your commute time to work out
- Steal a few minutes from between the meetings
- If you can, Sweat it out with Workout Sessions, there are plenty on YouTube
- Choose exercises that you can do while sitting:
- Body Fold
- Side Stretch
When the lockdown first happened, most of us utilised the extra time by sleeping. And though it felt great in the beginning, over-sleeping tends to make you lethargic. Bedtime and wake time are one of the most important aspects of self-care. Avoid the temptation to take a long nap in the afternoon, and then binge-watch movies till late at night.
Even when you don’t have a con-call in the morning, stick to your schedule. If you are free, go out to the balcony for a while, walk the dog, water the plants.
- Set alarms for wake time as well as bedtime
- Put your phone away at least 30 minutes before sleep time
For many people, the working from home routine has been a major reason for not just overeating but unhealthy eating as well. Many of us enjoy munching on snacks while on a conference call. But keeping your nutrition in check is a very important aspect of self-care. Mindless eating will not wreak havoc on the waistline but can greatly sabotage your health.
- Avoid working in/ around the kitchen
- Plan your meals ahead, save yourself from snacking
- Missing meals will make you eat at the wrong time
- Prefer balanced and healthy food
- Keep yourself hydrated
- When you have a craving, drink water
- Stay away from sugary foods and drinks
- Don’t bring junk food home
- Avoid eating with a screen, you would end up eating more
- If you feel like munching, don’t eat from the bag. Portion it out before eating
You need to have a formal work schedule for working from home. Taking a shower and dressing “up” for work instead of working in your pyjamas would give you a sense of having a proper work schedule. You need to be in formal attire every day but at the same time don’t consider WFH an all-day pyjama fest. This simple act of being office-ready gives you a feel-good factor and is thus an important element of self-care.
Prepare your brain that you are not on a holiday, you are not sick, you are simply Working from Home.
Remember, the long list of things you thought of doing while cursing the nerve-wracking traffic jam. Well, now is your opportunity to do just that. Use this time in the best possible way.
- Sip your morning tea out on the balcony
- Do some yoga for a while
- Start a book
- Meditate – you can’t go outside, but you can surely go inside
- Listen to music while you do your chores
- Use this extra time to network. Speak to clients, potential clients, etc.
- Devote this extra time to develop your pipeline projects
For many of us, our laptop is our office. Of late, we have started carrying it to the bedroom, on the bean bag, to the terrace and even in the loo! It would be helpful in designating a place entirely as your work area, as it helps your brain in preparing for the work.
Also, make sure you pick a comfortable chair when you work.
- Avoid slouching
- Sitting in the right posture improves attention, energy and attitude
- Keep your work area tidy
Not overworking and over-exerting yourself simply means knowing when to stop. You can be as efficient during work hours as you want, but knowing when to shut down the laptop is important. This again is about ‘routine’. Answering a few more emails, making one or two phone calls might seem a small job, but can often take up more time than you expected and make you burn out.
- Start winding up work fifteen minutes before your work time is over
- Unless urgent, avoid starting a new assignment in the last half hour of work
Self-care and me-time have certain similarities, but they aren’t really the same. Me-Time simply means, a few minutes with yourself, alone.
- Early morning or late at night, take out some time for yourself
- Do nothing, just sit and relax
- If you want to, Think. If you don’t, just let your mind wander
This too Shall Pass
Apart from taking care of yourself for the vaccination, it is imperative that you stay motivated and healthy. The future may often seem bleak, but like always, this too shall pass. Your emotional wellbeing is very important, now more than ever. It is indeed a time of anxiety and tension. However, we need to focus our energy and thoughts on things that make us feel happy and uplifted. It is important that you indulge in self-care that helps you in dealing with negative emotions.
Self-care is not really a new concept. Our parents, grandparents were stern believers in self-care. It is not uncommon to see many senior citizens wanting to try their own tricks and treatments and unwilling to see a doctor unless it is a serious matter. Self-care basically means maintaining good health and coping with illnesses without the help of a healthcare worker. With COVID-19 forcing us to stay locked in our homes, we are rediscovering and learning the art of self-help.
Ever since the COVID vaccine was launched in January 2021, a new ray of hope has emerged. Though the infection is still not under control, the hope of a vaccine has created a positive environment in the country. Now, with the vaccine available for all adults, the Government of India has undertaken a massive vaccine drive. So, here’s everything that you need to know about the COVID vaccine.
Types of vaccines
Currently, two COVID vaccines have been authorized by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) for use in India. These are as follows –
- Covishield ® which is AstraZeneca’s vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India
- Covaxin ® which has been manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited
Development of COVID vaccines
Ever since the COVID pandemic struck, India has been involved in launching a vaccine as soon as possible. As such, the two vaccines have been developed. The development of vaccines has been done in different phases which are explained below-
- Pre-clinical –
vaccine is tested in lab animals
- Phase 1 –
Clinical trial in limited participants to determine the right dosage
- Phase 2 –
Clinical trial in a few hundred participants to check whether the vaccine generates an immune response
- Phase 3 –
Clinical trial in thousands of participants over 1-2 years
Both the vaccines have completed the first two phases of trials and Covishield has completed the third phase trial in the UK and the bridging trial in India.
Administration of COVID vaccine – the timeline
The Government of India introduced the vaccination in a phased manner. The vaccination drive started with frontline and healthcare workers who were at the highest risk of contracting the infection. Then it was percolated down in descending order for individuals with the highest risk of COVID.
Here’s the timeline of how the vaccine drive was introduced by the Government of India in phases –
- 16th January 2021
- Both the vaccines were launched
- They were available for healthcare workers and frontline workers
- 1st March 2021
- Persons aged 60+ eligible for the vaccine
- Persons aged between 45 and 59 eligible if they have co-morbidities
- 1st April 2021
- Vaccine available for those who are aged 45+ years
- 1st May 2021
- Individuals aged 18+ become eligible for vaccination
Registration for vaccination
If you or any of your family members are eligible for availing of the vaccine, you would have to register yourself for the same. Registration is compulsory either in advance or on the spot. You can register online on the Co-WIN portal developed by the Government or on the COWIN or Aarogya Setu mobile applications.
Relevant Links: https://www.cowin.gov.in/home
Download the Arogya Setu App from PlayStore: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nic.goi.aarogyasetu&hl=en_IN&gl=US
Or simply scan to download: https://www.mygov.in/aarogya-setu-app/
Benefits of registration
Here are some of the benefits of registering for the COVID vaccination –
- You can enrol yourself and your family members for the vaccination
- You can fix the time for availing of vaccination
- You can choose the vaccination centre wherein you want to get vaccinated
- You can also reschedule the vaccination date if you miss or are unable to visit the centre on the scheduled date
- Your vaccination certificate would be shared with you when you are registered
- Vaccines would be given at both Government health centres and private health facilities. These are called COVID Vaccination Centres (CVC).
- In the case of vaccination in private CVCs, you have to register yourself prior to vaccination.
- In the case of vaccination in Government health centres, a part of the slots would be reserved for online registration. However, the rest of the slots would allow walk-in or on-site registrations and appointments.
- The appointment slots for any date would close at 12 pm a day before such date.
The process of registration
Here is a step-by-step guide to register yourself and/or your family members on the COWIN portal for vaccination –
- Visit www.cowin.gov.in and click on ‘Register / Sign In Yourself’
- A new page would open wherein you would have to provide your mobile number for getting an OTP. Alternatively, you can sign in using the Arogya Setu or Umang application.
- Enter the OTP received for verification and to proceed with the registration
- A new ‘Registration for Vaccination’ page would open containing the fields which you need to fill with your information.
- The information that should be provided includes –
- The photo identity proof that you are submitting for registration
- Number of the identity proof
- Birth year as in the identity proof
- After the details are provided, click on ‘Register’ and you would be able to register yourself successfully.
- You can, then, go into your account and check your details. You can also add up to four additional family members under a single registration
- To add members, click on ‘Add More’ on your ‘Account Details’ page. Provide the information of the member (s) and the member (s) would be added
Appointment for vaccination
Once the registration process is complete, you can fix your appointment for vaccination. It can be done using the following steps –
- On the ‘Account Details’ page, click on the ‘Schedule’ button next to the registered name to schedule an appointment.
- You need to enter your PIN code or your district name to find the CVCs wherein vaccinations are available.
- When you choose any centre, the available slots would be displayed for a particular date. It would also show the capacity of the respective slot.
- Choose a relevant and suitable date and fix your appointment
- After you choose any slot, click on ‘Book’. An ‘Appointment Confirmation’ page would open that would show your name, date and time of appointment.
- Click on ‘Confirm’ to confirm the details and your appointment would be booked.
- You would, then, be able to see an ‘Appointment Successful’ page such as
Then you can download the Appointment Slip as well. The appointment slip has the details of the centre, date and time along with your name and your ID document with a registration ID.
The confirmation of your appointment is shared with you through an SMS that states the date, time and the centre of vaccination. Once you take the vaccination on the scheduled date, another date is automatically allotted for the second dose.
Rescheduling your appointment
If you want, you can reschedule your appointment any time before the appointed day. To do so, log in to the COWIN portal with your mobile number. Verify your account with an OTP. Thereafter, here are the steps for rescheduling the appointment –
- Go into the ‘Account Details’ and click on the calendar icon to reschedule your appointment
- Choose a new date and then click ‘Book’ to reschedule
- Click on ‘Confirm’ and verify the date and appointment time
- A new page would open showing that your appointment is rescheduled
Booking the appointment through the Arogya Setu App
- You need to log in with your phone number and OTP
- You can register up to 4 people with the ID, Photo ID Number, Beneficiary Name, Gender and Year of Birth
- Once the registration is done, you need to schedule the appointment. Click on the same and schedule for vaccination
- You can search by Pincode and Date to find the nearby vaccination centre
- Check and confirm the time and availability of the vaccination
- Confirm the time slot and then click proceed
- Then the appointment details would reflect and you need to confirm the appointment
- The appointment details would reflect in your App.
Documents needed for vaccination
You need to provide identity proof that would be required for registering for vaccination. Some of the acceptable identity proofs include the following –
- Acceptable identity proofs:
- Aadhaar card
- Driving License
- PAN Card
- Voter ID Card
- Bank passbook
- MNREGA Job Card
- Health insurance Smart Card that has been issued under the scheme launched by the Ministry of Labour
- Any official identity card which is issued to MPs, MLAs, or MLCs
- Any pension-related document
- A service identity card issued by the Government to Government employees
Besides these, you can also provide the following as identity proofs –
What is Comorbidity?
If multiple health conditions are present in a person, it is known as comorbidity. So, if you have hypertension or diabetes, etc. and then have Covid-19, then hypertension or diabetes are considered as comorbidities along with Covid-19.
Furthermore, if you have any comorbidity, you would have to carry a certificate of comorbidity, filled and signed by a registered medical practitioner. The certificate of comorbidity should be filled in the format provided in the link: Certificate of comorbidity.
Once the vaccination is done, you would get a digital certificate certifying the completion of the vaccination. A provisional certificate would be issued after the first dose and once the second dose is completed, you would get a QR code-based final certificate. You can, then, download the certificate for your use.
Dosage for the vaccine
After the first dose of the Covishield vaccine is taken the second vaccine should be taken within the next four to eight weeks. In the case of the Covaxin vaccine, the second dose should be taken within four to six weeks after the first dosage.
In case of people diagnosed or suspected of COVID infection are required to wait for 14 days for taking the vaccine. On the other hand, if you have recovered from COVID you should wait for at least four to eight weeks to get the vaccination.
The body takes about two to three weeks to develop an adequate immune response to COVID after both the doses of the vaccine are taken.
Side effects of the vaccine
Like other vaccines, Covishield and Covaxin have side effects too. These include the following –
- Mild fever
- Pain or irritation at the site of the injection
- Mild fever
To deal with these side effects, you can take paracetamol.
Cost of the vaccine
The cost of COVID vaccines is different for the different types of medicines. Moreover, the cost also varies depending on the COVID Vaccination Centres (CVCs) that you choose. Here are the costs –
- For individuals aged between 18 and 45 years
- Covishield Vaccine – For State Government INR 400 and for private hospitals INR 600
- Covaxin Vaccine – For State Government INR 600 and for private hospitals INR 1200
However, many State Governments are offering free vaccines at Government health centres. These States include the following –
- Madhya Pradesh
- Jammu and Kashmir
- Uttar Pradesh
- West Bengal
- Tamil Nadu
- Andhra Pradesh
Healthcare workers, frontline workers and individuals aged beyond 45 years can get free vaccinations at Government healthcare centres.
So, understand everything about the COVID vaccines and register yourself for the vaccination if you are eligible for the same.
The last few months of this pandemic outburst has led mankind with an unseen virus killing us in millions at once. We’ve fought together by locking ourselves down, shielding ourselves with masks & sanitisers and perhaps a lot more. India needs us once again -Let’s rise up to this and join this battle as INDIA FIGHTS CORONA with the vaccination of its citizen. Lets #GetVaccinated We care for you and we want to extend our support to get you vaccinated. Leave the vaccination cost to us and get yourself ready to fight Corona.
Process to redeem vaccination cost of upto 300:
- Get yourself vaccinated at the nearest vaccine centre
- Upload your proud picture on Facebook and/or Instagram – Don’t miss to Tag Turtlemint on Facebook & Instagram with #GetVaccinated #IndiaFightsCorona
- Click on this link and upload your Facebook/Instagram link along with your contact details
- This is an initiative by Turtlemint in association with Digit Insurance & Manipal Cigna
- The vaccination reimbursements are available for verified Turtlemint POSP only
- The vaccination reimbursements are available for vaccines done by 31st May 2021
- The above process is mandatory to claim the vaccination reimbursements
- In case of conflict, Turtlemint holds the right to accept or reject the application
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The alleged second wave of the pandemic started in February-March 2021 as COVID cases started climbing even when the vaccination drive is in full force. Many States have seen a considerable hike in COVID positive cases which has prompted them to take serious actions to stop the spread of the infection. Even health insurance companies are reeling under the heavy claim burden brought on by increased COVID related claims.
Insurance companies reported receiving increasing COVID-related claims from July 2020. Have a look at the claim trajectory –
Source: Business Standard
As you can see, the number of claims started with 81,000 in July 2020 and climbed beyond 6.5 lakhs by December 2020. The total claim amount the companies settled during this period amounted to INR 9989.89 crores.
Talking about the current year, there has been a fresh surge in COVID cases and claims have started rising. As of 25th February 2021, companies have received more than 9 lakh claims related to COVID which amount to INR 13, 752.41 crores, as per GIC’s compiled data. Out of the claims that insurance companies have received, more than 7.6 lakh claims have been settled amounting to INR 7141.33 crores. This figure is close to 15% of the total health insurance premiums that the companies had collected till January 2021. The average claim settlement amounts to INR 93, 758.17 per claim.
Source: Business Standard
What so the insurance companies say?
Many insurance companies are stating that the number of claim settlements did not reduce despite the reduction in COVID cases towards the end of 2020. This is because many claims were reported on a reimbursement basis wherein the insurance companies need time to assess, analyse and settle the claims. So, even as COVID cases were declining in the last months of 2020, the claim settlements were not because of the payment of reimbursement claims. This is also the cause for the gap in the number of claims reported vis-à-vis the number of claims settled.
Impact on insurance companies
The high claim volume is distressing for companies as it impacts their profitability. With COVID specific health insurance plans becoming popular, insurance companies might face more claims if the COVID cases continue to rise despite the vaccination.
The true picture would become clear only after the pandemic subsides but for now, the high claim volumes are becoming a cause of concern for insurance companies. This might also convert to an increased premium in the coming years if the claim burden does not reduce.
Impact on policyholders
The claim experience of insurance companies does not affect you, the policyholder. In the case of genuine claims, insurance companies are bound to settle the claims within the prescribed time limits to avoid penal interests. So, if you suffer a COVID related claim, you would get a settlement for the claim if it is covered under your health insurance plan, whatever is the claim experience of the insurer.
However, if the premiums are revised, then you might feel a higher pocket pinch when you renew or buy a new health insurance plan.
The pandemic has been a rocky road for individuals and companies alike. Though it has resulted in higher claims, health insurance companies are also banking on the popularity and demand of health insurance plans, especially COVID insurance plans. A high claim volume is a short term phenomenon specific to the pandemic and as the pandemic subsides, things would settle down. Till then, insurance companies need to battle out the claims that they get.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) made several standardisations in health insurance plans. These standardisations were done with three main objectives –
- To make health insurance plans easy to understand
- To make health insurance plans comprehensive in their scope of coverage
- To increase the penetration of health insurance in India
The first two objectives aimed to make health insurance more customer-friendly so that the coverage needs of individuals are duly fulfilled. The third objective was aimed to make health insurance an important part of everyone’s financial portfolios.
Though these standardisations have improved the benefit structure under health insurance plans, in many cases they have given rise to increased premiums. However, before analysing the reason for the increase in premium, here’s a quick look at the main standardisations that were implemented in health insurance plans –
- Standardised policy wordings for common coverage benefits
- Coverage for mental illnesses, modern treatments and robotic surgeries
- Coverage for developmental ailments and learning difficulties, for example, dyslexia
- Standardisation of free-look period across all plans, payment of penal interest if claim payment is delayed, clauses of portability and migration, grievance redressal and renewal
- Complete disclosure of information by the insurance company
- A standardised proportionate deductible clause in case of room rent limit
- Coverage for telemedicine
- Standardised Arogya Sanjeevani Policy
All these standardisations have made health insurance plans more exhaustive in their scope of coverage.
Reasons for the increase in premium
With these standardisations, health insurance premiums have undergone a change and have increased for many policyholders. Following are some of the reasons for such an increase –
- Wider coverage
As insurance plans are offering a wider scope of coverage, the premiums for the policies have increased. If you buy a modern-day health plan or port to one, you would have to pay an additional premium for availing of a comprehensive scope of coverage where modern and robotic treatments and telemedicine are also covered.
- Higher claim experience
Due to standardisations, health insurance plans have become more inclusive in their coverage. So, as new and advanced policies are being designed to include the standardisations mandated by the IRDAI, insurance companies face a higher probability of claims. So, to make the plans financially feasible and profitable, health insurers have to increase the premium rates.
How does it impact you?
As a customer, your premium outgo would increase as premiums are hiked across policies. However, you are also getting the benefit of wider coverage from the health plan. In fact, the scope of coverage far outweighs the marginal increase in premium that has been observed.
Moreover, since health insurance plans now allow instalment premiums, thanks to IRDAI’s directive, you can bear the premiums easily, without hurting your pockets. So, a wider scope of coverage with the facility of instalment premium is a win-win situation even if there is a premium hike.
Also, comparison across different health insurance plans has become easy with standardised terms and conditions and coverage benefits. You can, therefore, compare different plans on their coverage parameters and premium rates and choose the most comprehensive policy with the most reasonable rate of premium.
The bottom line
Under IRDAI’s regulation, health insurance plans would evolve further. The associated premiums might also undergo a change as health plans become more inclusive. Don’t be afraid of a premium hike because the coverage offered would have a higher value proposition compared to the hike. So, enjoy the modern-day health insurance plans with comprehensive features and get covered against unexpected medical emergencies on better terms.
Work from home became a common phenomenon as the COVID pandemic resulted in lockdowns and social distancing. Even though the lockdown norms have eased up in many places, companies are still promoting the work from home model to ensure safety. Moreover, many individuals have cut down on socialising and lifestyle activities due to safety concerns. As such, the usage of cars has become minimal. Thus, when it comes to insuring the car, many of you might be thinking of going only for the third party cover since you are using the car minimally. But would the third party cover insure the car against other contingencies which might occur even when not in use?
The perils of theft and fire
Even when your car is parked, it is prone to theft and fire. According to data furnished by insurance companies, thefts of SUVs increased by 15% to 20% in the financial year 2019 compared to the last year. About 10, 000 SUVs were stolen in FY 2019. Moreover, out of 100 cars that companies insure, 1% to 2% of them are reported stolen. (Source: Economic Times). Guaranteeing the safety of your car against theft is, therefore, not possible.
Even if you live in a gated community with top-notch security, you can avoid the possibility of theft; but what about the possibility of fire? A short circuit or an electrical malfunctioning can lead to a fire that might damage your car considerably even when it is safely parked. Can you bear the financial loss in such cases?
Theft and fire are the major concerns of damage to a parked car when it is not in use. As such, mere third party coverage would not prove sufficient. You need coverage that would cover the resultant financial loss that you might suffer in case of either of the two perils.
The possible solution
To supplement your third party coverage, you can opt for independent theft and fire insurance plans. Both theft and fire insurance policies are offered by general insurance companies. While theft insurance, called burglary insurance would cover the loss suffered if your car is stolen, fire insurance would cover the loss suffered in case of fire-related damages.
You can buy all three policies independently, i.e. a third party policy, a burglary insurance policy and a fire insurance policy. These policies would secure your car against mandatory third party liability as well as possible theft and fire-related losses.
What if you can buy one single policy instead? Wouldn’t it be more convenient?
An alternative solution – comprehensive car insurance
There is another alternative which would eliminate the need of buying three distinct and independent covers – comprehensive car insurance.
A comprehensive car insurance policy not only covers the mandatory third party liability but also the losses suffered when your vehicle suffers any damage, including theft. So, even if the chances of road theft are eliminated when you don’t use your vehicle, you can get covered against theft and fire under a comprehensive plan. Here are the benefits that you can avail of –
- A single policy to service with a comprehensive scope of protection
- A single premium which might work out to be lower than the aggregate premium of three independent plans
- Customization through the option of add-ons
- Premium discounts for making no claims
- Hassle-free purchase and renewals
- Cashless repairs at networked garages
The bottom line
A comprehensive car insurance policy is, therefore, relevant even if you don’t use your car too often. Besides covering theft and fire, the policy would also provide coverage when you do use the car, however seldom it might be. So, don’t take any chances when it comes to insuring your car. Opt for a comprehensive coverage and get the most inclusive scope of coverage against possible damages.
Life insurance plans are known for their tax benefits apart from the financial protection that they provide. The premiums paid for the policy qualify as a tax-free deduction under Section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961. However, Section 80C allows various other investments and expenses as deductions and the maximum limit of deduction is INR 1.5 lakhs. For example, investment into an ELSS scheme, NSC, PPF, EPF, etc. also qualify for deduction under Section 80C. Thus, most often than not, you might end up exhausting the limit of INR 1.5 lakhs on other investments.
To provide you additional tax relief on your life insurance premiums, the Government has introduced an alternative avenue. In 2021, you can claim tax deduction on life insurance premium under the LTC scheme. Let’s understand what the scheme is all about and what tax benefit does it offer.
The LTC scheme
A Leave Travel Concession (LTC) is allowed to salaried employees as a part of their salary component. Under the LTC benefit, the expenses incurred on travelling can be claimed as a deduction from your taxable income. Thus, the LTC scheme provides tax benefits on travel related expenses.
What are the changes in the scheme?
Given the pandemic situation, many individuals did not take vacations or travel anywhere in 2020. Thus, salaried employees were not able to utilize the LTC benefit to reduce their tax liability. Considering this fact, the Government has allowed the LTC scheme to be widened to include other expenses for claiming tax benefits. If you buy goods and services, on which a GST of 12% or more is charged,
Life insurance premiums have been included under the purview of the LTC benefit and you can claim a deduction under the LTC scheme for premiums paid. In other words, life insurance premiums can be claimed as a tax-free deduction even under the LTC scheme if your 80C limit has been exhausted.
Details of the changed LTC scheme
Here are some conditions which should be fulfilled to claim tax benefit on life insurance premiums under the LTC scheme –
- You should be a salaried employee and have the LTC component in your salary structure
- A new life insurance policy should be bought between 12th October 2020 and 31st March 2021 to claim this benefit
- If you are already claiming a deduction under Section 80C on the premium paid, deduction under LTC scheme would not be allowed
- If, however, you have not claimed deduction under Section 80C on the premium paid, you can choose to claim under Section 80C or under the LTC scheme
Limit of deduction
If you are claiming the deduction for life insurance premium under the LTC scheme, the maximum limit of deduction would be up to the amount of LTC allowed by your employer. This means that the maximum LTC component of your salary would be allowed as the maximum limit of deduction. You can claim a deduction on the actual premium paid or the LTC amount allowed in your salary, whichever is lower.
The premium would include the premium inclusive of GST. Moreover, in case of single premium plans, you can claim deduction on the entire amount of premium paid while under regular premium plans, the deduction would be available only on the premium paid up to 31st March 2021.
The GST applicable on life insurance premiums depends on the type of policy that you buy. Thus, the amount of deduction that you can claim also varies depending on the policy type. Let’s understand with the help of an example.
Suppose you pay a premium of INR 50, 000, the deduction available would be as follows considering your LTC benefit amount is INR 1 lakh –
Type of life insurance policy
Deduction that you can claim under the LTC scheme
Term insurance plan
18% of the premium
= INR 9000
Unit Linked Insurance Plan
GST is only levied on ULIP charges. Thus, no GST is charged on the premium
Immediate annuity policy
18% on 10% of the premium paid
= INR 900
Endowment or money back insurance plan
18% on 25% on the first year premium
= INR 2250
Even though the LTC benefit is INR 1 lakh, the actual premium paid would be considered for claiming deduction. If, however, the LTC benefit would have been INR 50, 000, the maximum deduction available would have been limited to INR 50, 000 even if the premium is higher in some cases.
What it means for you?
If you are looking to save additional taxes this year, you can utilize the benefit of the LTC scheme to reduce your tax liability. You can use Section 80C to claim deductions for other types of investments and expenses while the deduction for life insurance premium can be availed under the LTC scheme. Thus, you get a higher scope of deduction which would help you bring down your tax liability considerably, especially when you are in the higher tax brackets.
This is a limited period offer which would expire at the end of this financial year. So, what are you waiting for? Buy a new life insurance policy and make the most of the scheme.
‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’, a best-selling book by John Gray, an American psychologist, talked about the psychological differences between men and women. The title of the book, however, has become a catchphrase to highlight the differences between men and women as a whole.
Women are definitely different from men, both in terms of their psychological needs as well as physiological ones. Then why is it believed that a basic health plan would be suitable for women too?
Women’s anatomy is different from men. They are prone to specific illnesses or ailments which men don’t suffer. For example, women suffer pregnancy related complications, breast cancer, cancer of the reproductive system, degradation of bones resulting in osteoporosis, etc. As such, women need a comprehensive health insurance policy which specifically covers these women-centric illnesses. But is this what women get?
Trends in health insurance for women
When it comes to covering women under a health insurance plan, the answer is most commonly a family floater policy. The policy provides coverage to all family members, including women. Additionally, if women are employed, they might also have a group health scheme sponsored by their employers.
Though women enjoy coverage under group or family floater plans, such coverage might not be comprehensive enough to cover them against illnesses that they specifically suffer. For example, most group health plans do not cover maternity.
Health insurance for women – what women want?
For the woman of today, the following coverage benefits are a must –
- Critical illness
- Other minor illnesses that they suffer
If a health insurance plan offers these coverage benefits, women can avail of quality healthcare facilities without worrying about affording the same.
So, for empowering women through health insurance, here’s what should be done –
- Enhancing the coverage of an existing family floater plan
If there is a family floater policy that covers the women of the family, a review of the coverage is a must. You should check if the coverage is sufficient to provide an all-round coverage to women. The health insurance policy should be rejigged to provide coverage for the following –
- Maternity related expenses and complications suffered during pregnancy if family planning is on the near horizon
- Opting for a critical illness rider at the time of renewals
- Enhancing the sum insured of the policy for optimal coverage
If your existing policy does not provide maternity and/or critical illness coverage, you can always port to another, more comprehensive plan. Ensure the sum insured is at least INR 10 lakhs and above so that the plan covers the medical bills optimally.
- Buying a new comprehensive plan
If you do not have a health insurance plan altogether, buy a comprehensive coverage ASAP. Ensure the coverage has maternity cover, optimal sum insured and the critical illness rider. You can opt for an independent women-centric health plan or a family floater policy for covering the entire family.
- Buying a standalone critical illness policy
If the critical illness rider is not available or if you want to opt for a comprehensive coverage against critical illnesses, a standalone critical illness policy would be better. You can opt for a women-specific critical illness policy that covers women-related illnesses like the different types of cancers, burns, etc. The policy has affordable premium allowing you to opt for an optimal coverage amount.
- Buying a super top-up policy
An optimal sum insured is a must. This fact cannot be stressed enough especially if you look at the rising costs of medical treatments. So, whether you buy a family floater policy or an independent plan, choose a high sum insured. If affording the premium becomes a concern, go for super top-up health insurance plans. Super top-up plans help in increasing the coverage at very affordable premiums. Choose a deduction that matches the sum insured of the base policy. This way, claims up to the deductible would be covered by the base policy while claims exceeding the deductible would be covered by the super top-up plan.
Empowering women through health insurance – the road ahead
The healthcare needs of women require specialized coverage. If your normal health insurance policy is not equipped to provide the coverage that women need, it’s time for a change. Women are caregivers but they need care too. Empower women with a suitable health insurance policy that would take care of their medical needs. If you are a woman yourself, it’s time to take action. Invest in a suitable health insurance policy that provides an all-round coverage for your needs and take the next step towards financial empowerment.