In 2022, a centralised ambulance service was proposed to be taken forward by India’s National Highway Development Authority (NHAI). The objective is to offer immediate medical relief in cases of road accidents on national highways, a news report indicated. It further cited data from the National Crime Records Bureau which says that road accidents in India have claimed approximately 156,000 lives in 2021. In this context, the importance of ambulance cover is relevant to explore and discuss.
What is Ambulance Cover in Health Insurance?
Little-known aspects of a comprehensive health insurance policy include a number of patient-centric benefits for the policyholder, and in this context, ambulance coverage is a significant one. In the case of a medical emergency, an ambulance is a life-saver. With this feature, insurers enable prompt access to medical treatment in case of an emergency. Reaching the hospital at the right time is a life-saver and yes, it can make a huge difference to the patient’s health.
Notably, most comprehensive health insurance provides ambulance coverage, which includes the transportation expenses of the patient. The plan offers compensation against the expenses that are incurred on ambulance charges during a medical emergency. Typically, the coverage includes the transportation of the patient from home to the hospital and back.
Understanding Road Ambulance Cover
Road ambulance cover is the most common type of ambulance cover offered by health insurers. The coverage, however, often comes with a limit, which is mostly a percentage of the policy sum insured.
For example, assuming your policy of INR 10 lakhs allows for ambulance cover up to INR 5000, and a medical emergency turns up and you have booked an ambulance to take an insured member to the hospital, then your expenses of up to INR 5,000 will be covered. In case the service costs INR 7,000, the company will reimburse only INR 5,000, and the balance would have to be paid out of pocket.
How Air Ambulance Can Be a Life Saver
In a critical condition, an air ambulance can be a lifesaver - here’s how:
A patient can receive much-needed first-aid or medical treatment in case of an emergency.
Necessary medical equipment such as ventilators, ECG machines etc., are available.
A medical expert on board can help the patient as per requirement.
Some health insurance plans, especially the ones with a high sum insured, provide air ambulance as a part of their plan. In some cases, it can be added as a rider/ add-on benefit.
Since ambulance costs are highly affordable, it is not a deciding factor when deciding on a health insurance plan, but it is a relevant feature to opt for. Most health insurance plans cover ambulance costs but up to a specific limit only. So, check your policy in detail so that you are well-prepared at the time of claim!