Will your insurance cover the Wuhan Virus (2019-nCoV)?

At the time of writing, the Wuhan Virus has more than 2,800 cases confirmed and death toll spikes to 80. Even though it is said to be “not as powerful as SARS”, however, its ability to spread appears to be “getting stronger”.

Back in Malaysia, we have 4 confirmed cases and more recently 2 female children were quarantined at Langkawi Hospital after they were suspected to have contracted the Wuhan coronavirus.

Even though we are still in the early stages, the fear among Malaysians can be felt. Yesterday, on the second day of Chinese New Year, I went to my local supermarket to get some mask and hand sanitizers, to my surprise, all mask and hand sanitizers were sold out at 10.30am in the morning.

Is this just a media hype that overdramatized something that is “not as powerful as SARS”, or could this be something huge that is brewing? I’ll let you decide.

However, as a financial planner, I felt I have the responsibility to inform you on whether your insurance can be used if the Wuhan Virus spreads in Malaysia.

This morning, I contacted a good friend and colleague of mine, Clarence Lim to get his insights on this matter. He is also a licensed financial planner, and, in my opinion, no one knows insurance more than he does.

 

The 4 Stages

Stage 1: Suspected Cases
Stage 2: Confirmed Cases
Stage 3: Terminal Cases
Stage 4: Death Cases

First and foremost, these are NOT the official stages for the virus. I separated the whole process into 4 stages for you to better understand the implications and what can you do in each respective stage.

Also, this is by no means a final guide for your insurance claims on this virus. Learning from the SARS and H1N1 outbreaks in 2003 and 2009 respectively, the law and orders by the government may subject to change.

 

Stage 1: Suspected Cases

Reading from news articles, in most countries, if we are suspected to show symptoms of contracting the virus, we are required to be quarantined. This is no different in Malaysia.

However, as we are still in the early stages, it is still unclear who will bear the cost of being quarantined.

If you are asked to be quarantined in a Government Hospital, the cost would very likely be low even if we are required to pay a fee. However, if you choose to be quarantined in a private hospital, the fee may not be as forgiving.

So, will your medical card cover this cost?

Answer: No.

Why not? Because it is stated in your contact. If you read your policy contract properly, in the exclusion terms, it is stated that “communicable diseases requiring quarantine by law” is excluded.

Here are some examples, click on the link below and search for quarantine:

Some companies such as AIA do not have this specific clause in their policy contract, however, since this is only in the “suspected case” stage, you may not be able to claim from AIA as it may fall into another exclusion clause of being admitted for “investigatory purposes”.

Yesterday, Prudential Malaysia releases a post on Facebook, stating that they are “committed to extend their medical coverage to their customers who require treatment due to this virus”.

However, from this post alone, it is unclear if they will compensate policy holders the cost that will be incurred in Stage 1.

I will be following up on this matter with Prudential and post an update on my Facebook page, so be sure you follow my page to get the latest updates.

(Update: Prudential will only cover the cost of treatment, not the cost of quarantine for suspected case)

 

Stage 2: Confirmed Cases

This is a simple one. Once it is confirmed that one is contracted with the Wuhan Virus and treatment is needed, yes, one may claim the cost of in-patient treatment from their medical card.

However, the common question that I foresee many will ask is whether XXX company’s medical card will cover the treatment of Wuhan Virus or not.

Rest assured, even though Prudential is the only company (so far) to announced that they will cover the treatment of the virus, most medical cards will still cover as long it is “medically necessary”.

[Update: As at 29 January 2020, 5 companies have extended their coverage. They are: Prudential, Great Eastern, AIA, Tokio Marine and Hong Leong Assurance]

 

Stage 3: Terminal Cases

At first, I was reluctant to create this stage. Unlike certain illnesses such as cancer whereby a cancer patient can diagnose to be terminally ill but may survive for another 12 months, a patient contracted the Wuhan Virus seem to be either being cured within weeks or die within weeks.

However, I felt that this is a good opportunity to illustrate to you how most critical illness plans works.

If you have a critical illness plan, you may wonder: “my plan only covers 36 critical illnesses, what if I contracted a new disease/virus like the outbreak of the Wuhan Virus, can I still claim from my critical illness plan?”

The answer is “it depends”.

Most critical illness plans have limited amount of illnesses that it covers. However, most companies usually have a catch-all-clause, which is commonly known as the Terminal Illness Coverage.

New illness or diseases that weren’t existed during the purchase of policy will be covered under this clause.

The wording of this clause is as such:

“The conclusive diagnosis of a condition that is expected to result in death of the Life Assured within twelve (12) months. The Life Assured must no longer be receiving active treatment other than that for pain relief. The diagnosis must be supported by written confirmation from an appropriate specialist and confirmed by Our (the Insurance Company) appointed Doctor”

However, if doctor thinks there is still a chance of survival, you may not claim the critical illness coverage for the Wuhan Virus.

Since there are many products out there, and I can’t cover all of them here, it is better if you read the terms of your contract again. Email me at [email protected] if you need help on your policy.

 

Stage 4: Death Cases

This is another simple one. As long as your policy is in-forced, your beneficiaries can claim the death benefit from your life insurance.

 

Conclusion

As mentioned above, this may not be a final guide to claim for the Wuhan Virus as we are still in the early stages. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure, so I hope that all of us can contribute towards a safer Malaysia by washing our hands and covering our mouth while sneezing, simple as that.

Keep an eye on my Facebook page as I will update you if anything substantial came into the picture.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Leave a Reply

More

Related Posts

Post-Covid19: A New Norm

The fiscal package announcement last night has gotten everyone excited and brought some cheer to the market. But I feel market participants will still have to be very cautious.

Read More »