Good insurance can prevent Monkeypox from monkeying around with your overseas travel plans

Just as people were finally preparing to travel outside India after two years of pandemic-induced lockdowns, another viral outbreak appears to have emerged – this time it’s monkeypox.

So far, more than about 257 suspected cases and 120 confirmed cases have been recorded in 23 countries around the world, and although the World Health Organization (WHO) has said that the monkeypox epidemic “will not turn not in a pandemic”, but if you are planning to travel outside India, here are the things to keep in mind and purchase a comprehensive travel and health insurance policy.

What is monkey pox?

Monkeypox is a rare, usually mild infection usually contracted by infected wildlife in parts of Africa. It was first discovered in 1958, when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research, hence the name “monkey pox”.

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How will existing health and travel insurance cover Monkeypox?

  • As monkeypox is a viral infectious disease, most existing health and travel policies will cover the expenses incurred.
  • In India, monkeypox will be covered by most travel and health insurances, provided it covers outpatient treatment expenses (OPD).
  • As such, there is no need to take out an additional special insurance policy just for monkeypox.

According to Kapil Mehta, co-founder of SecureNow Insurance: “The Monkeypox virus is not an exclusion in health or travel insurance. Typically, monkeypox is treated with OPD. Since most travel insurance covers DPOs, these costs will be covered. If your respective health insurance covers OPD treatment, it will be covered. If you are hospitalized, travel and health insurance policies will cover this.

What if you are outside India and contract monkeypox?

Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958, when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in monkey research colonies, hence its name.

  • If you are outside India and contract monkeypox, your travel insurance will cover it subject to the terms of the policy.
  • Your health insurance will not cover it.

Rakesh Jain, CEO of Reliance General Insurance, says, “First, we need to understand that all infectious diseases, including monkeypox, are covered by a basic health insurance policy. If a person is diagnosed and hospitalized in India upon arrival or after arrival, they will be covered under an individual health insurance policy and not a travel insurance policy. A travel insurance policy ceases to be valid once the trip is over.

What expenses will travel insurance cover?

There are two scenarios to this.

1] If you contract monkeypox and recover without hospitalization, i.e. in a hotel or in isolation centres:

  • All costs incurred (medicines, OPD doctor costs, others) will be covered by travel insurance (if treated abroad) or health insurance policy (if treatment is in India).
  • But if you had monkeypox and recovered without any medical treatment or were in designated isolation centers as a precautionary measure without any active medical treatment, these isolation fees/expenses will also not be paid.

“The travel policy will cover hospitalization costs in accordance with the terms of the policy. In addition to the cost of OPD treatment, consultations, diagnostic costs and medical costs would be payable according to the terms of the policy. But if only isolation expenses are incurred without active treatment, they will also not be covered by health or travel policies at designated centres,” says Raghavendra Rao, Distribution Manager, Future Generali India Insurance.

“The key aspect here is whether there is an active line of treatment during isolation. If a treatment requires isolation and monitoring, for example, as is often the case during covid, the costs will be paid. However, if the isolation is not for treatment, but a protocol to protect others, then the insurance claim may not be paid,” Mehta adds.

2] When your condition is serious and you need to be airlifted/medically evacuated or hospitalized in a foreign country, the following conditions arise:

  • Emergency Medical Evacuation will be payable under the Travel Policy subject to the terms and conditions of the Policy depending on the need for medical evacuation to India.
  • If you do not require medical evacuation, your health insurance will not pay for treatment abroad, but travel insurance may, subject to its conditions.
  • The travel insurance policy will not pay for medical evacuation if you have contracted monkeypox and returned to India without requiring medical evacuation.
  • So in essence, if you come back to India and get treatment here for monkeypox, your travel insurance won’t cover the cost, but your health insurance policy may pay for it depending on the terms of the policy.
  • But note that not all travel insurance policies will pay for emergency medical evacuation; so, read the terms and conditions carefully when buying one.

“If it is a medical emergency evacuation, it will be paid for (by the respective travel insurance policy). won’t be covered,” says Yogesh Agarwal, founder of Onsurity, a tech-enabled, monthly subscription-based employee health insurance platform.

Mehta adds: “There will also be specific requirements for why evacuation was needed in the first place and treatment was not given in the country where you fell ill. For example, evacuation costs are greater when you fall ill in an area with poor medical infrastructure, and an evacuation is needed to get life-saving treatment quickly.

Other key things to keep in mind

travel insurance
If you do not require medical evacuation, your health insurance will not cover any treatment received outside the United States, but travel insurance may, depending on the terms of the policy.

1. When buying a travel insurance policy, check the specific coverage of the policy as not all of them cover medical expenses.

“When it comes to international travel insurance, it is important to note that some travel policies only cover accidental death and accidental hospitalization, but not medical hospitalization. If a customer opts for the medical expenses feature in their travel policy, then only all emergency medical expenses, such as hospital charges, outpatient and cashless hospitalizations will be covered while traveling abroad. adds Jain.

2. In addition, there is also a delay between the purchase of an insurance policy and its entry into force.

“Monkey pox is a viral infection. So all regular health insurance covers hospitalization due to infectious diseases, provided it is not within 30 days of inception, as this is a waiting period for a new policy adds Agarwal.

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