The cases of Black Fungus and White Fungus infections are increasing by the day, with Covid-19 patients and survivors topping the list of infected people. This has left people wondering whether their health insurance policies would cover Black Fungus and White Fungus if they got infected.
Covid-19 and Fungal Infections
Seeing the rising number of Covid-19 cases outside China, the World Health Organization (WHO), on March 11, 2020, declared this deadly infectious disease a global pandemic. Life has not been the same since.
Apart from daily life and crippling the health sector, the Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally affected the insurance industry.
“Today, over 70% of the Indian population considers health insurance a necessity.”
However, just buying health insurance does not guarantee protection; it is imperative to know what your policy does and does not cover.
As India combats the second wave of Covid-19, we are witnessing some rare fungal infections, Black Fungus and White Fungus, compounding the worries of the common man.
Black Fungus Cases in India
The disease is spreading so fast that India is reporting over 500 cases of Black Fungus each day. It is mostly infecting Covid-19 patients with uncontrolled diabetes or weak immune system. A recent report from WHO is adding to the misery, which states that the Mucormycosis rate in India was approximately 70 times higher than that in any other country, even before the pandemic.
Not only are these infections life-changing, with many infected people losing their vision permanently, they are also financially taxing with the treatment cost ranging INR 5–20 Lakh.
In short, the treatment of Black Fungus and White Fungus can break your bank.
Therefore, it is quite justified to ask if your health insurance covers these debilitating diseases. But first, it is important to know what Black Fungus and White Fungus actually are.
What are Black Fungus and White Fungus?
Black fungus, or Mucormycosis, is a serious fungal infection generally found in people with a weak immune system. Although its symptoms are typically based on where exactly in the body the infection occurs, it usually infects
- Sinuses, and
The following are the symptoms of Black Fungus:
- A runny nose,
- One-sided facial swelling,
- Blurred vision,
- A headache,
- Fever, and
- Swollen and bulging eyes.
White Fungus, or Candida auris, also mainly affects people with a weak immune system, including Covid-19 positive patients, those with uncontrolled diabetes, or the ones administered high doses of steroids during Covid-19 treatment.
It can infect the blood, respiratory system, internal organs, and central nervous system, in some cases the skin, of an individual. White Fungus does so particularly in Covid-19 patients by entering their respiratory tract through already damaged skin, blood vessel walls, and linings in the airway.
The following are the symptoms of Black Fungus:
- White patches in oral cavity
- Skin lesion
- White discharge during coughing
- Other pneumonia symptoms like cough, low oxygen level, and chest pain
Hospitalization due to Fungal Infections amid Covid-19
With the sky-rocketing hospitalization costs and shortage of ICU beds nationwide amid the Covid-19 pandemic, an increasingly large number of people have been unable to avail proper medical attention.
Many of those who held covid-19 insurance successfully availed of domiciliary hospitalization and relevant medical coverage while some had to pay the price with their lives.
Now, if you are wondering whether your existing health insurance plan covers Black Fungus and White Fungus, the answer is Yes!
- All comprehensive health insurance policies, by default, cover such conditions, and you do not need to purchase a special insurance plan.
What if you do not have Covid-19 Health Insurance?
The simplest answer is: buy one! It will come to your aid not only during the Covid-19 era but also in the future. However, remember that most insurers impose a 30-day waiting period before offering you any coverage.
If you are unable to buy one or need urgent health-related financial assistance, you can enroll in a government-backed health scheme.
- In states, such as Maharashtra, people benefitting from Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana will be offered financial assistance of up to INR 1.5 Lakh.
- The Rajasthan Government has launched the Chiranjeevi Yojana Insurance Scheme that caps the treatment cost at private hospitals for people suffering from Black Fungus.
How to claim white fungus and black fungus insurance?
In most comprehensive policies, all Covid-19 related complications may be covered.
- If infected with Black Fungus, Covid-19, or any other ailment, you can easily raise a claim for the treatment with your insurer. For this, you need to send the hospitalization details to your insurer beforehand or locate a nearby cashless network hospital.
- Ideally, your individual health plan must have coverage of up to INR 20 Lakh, while a family floater plan must offer a sum insured of INR 1 Crore for the best possible treatment at a hospital of your choice.
Some Points to Remember about Health Insurance Policies
Health insurance policies typically have waiting periods of up to 48 months for pre-existing diseases.
- Unless strictly mentioned under exclusions, fungal infection is covered just as any other ailment.
- You need to inform the insurer at least 24 hours in advance in case of planned hospitalization.
- Emergency hospitalization sometimes requires paying from your pocket, and you can claim the expense later by producing valid bills.
The Government of India has already directed several Indian states to declare Black Fungus as an epidemic. The state governments are taking all the precautions and measures to battle the fungal infection. This urgency only highlights the threat that these fungal infections pose. It seems that only those with a comprehensive health insurance policy can heave a sigh of relief.