Insurers Respond to Coronavirus – Introduction
It’s been a hectic week for insurance brokers like us as the coronavirus has officially been declared a pandemic. Insurers have long had wording in their terms and conditions to exclude pandemics, along with other disasters like nuclear war, certain natural disasters, and a variety of extreme cases.
To much of our relief, many of our insurers in the last few days have sent out notices that they are going to help combat the spread of the Coronavirus by offering benefits to clients.
A Quick Note about the Virus:
If you do suspect you have coronavirus, the CDC recommends contacting the local government officials via phone to assist you, please DO NOT start by going to the local hospitals or clinics to get tested unless otherwise instructed. Test are very limited and only being used for specific cases until more become available. The government will implement strict procedures to follow so it is best to contact them first to find the most appropriate response.
Mexico’s Federal Coronavirus Hotline: 800 00 44 800
The medical systems in place could become overburdened by severe cases. If you go with a mild case it will greatly increase the risk of you spreading the disease to other people on the way or in the hospital—and more importantly, our medical professionals that will be combating the outbreak. Other countries have implemented safer testing methods, and other measures to help reduce this risk, Mexico will most likely do the same.
What Can You Do to Help?
Avoid close contact with people and try to avoid crowds/travel. Here’s a great article on the benefits of social distancing during the pandemic. By doing so, you’ll give the hospitals a better chance at properly treating everyone without getting overwhelmed.
Coronavirus: Why You must Act Now
Why outbreaks like coronavirus spread exponentially, and how to “flatten the curve”
There are no treatments for COVID-19, and people with mild cases will most likely be ordered to self quarantine unless symptoms grow worse.
Practice good healthy habits to keep your immune system strong. Get plenty of sleep, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat well. For hygiene it’s recommended that you wash your hand frequently, cover your mouth and nose if coughing or sneezing, and avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Managing Anxiety & Stress during an outbreak
The government does recommend getting 2 weeks worth of water, food, and a 1-month reserve of any prescriptions that you may need. It’s also a good idea to keep copies of your health records in case you are hospitalized. Don’t panic! Other countries in quarantine do have grocery stores and pharmacies available. Please be mindful and do not buy more than you need, it can limit what is available to other citizens that maybe in more dire circumstances.
Preparing for COVID-19 now
Help others in need
Many people may not have the resources or family/friends to help during the pandemic. If you have any way to help out a less fortunate or more at risk person during this time of need, a little help can go a long way. Talk with family members and close ones about how they would be cared for if they are sick. We suspect there will also be organizations that step up to help coordinate efforts in Mexico if circumstances get worse.
10 Simple Ways to Help Other and Yourself Fight the Pandemic
*To learn more about the coronavirus, including what you can do to protect yourself from infection, click here for more our in-depth article on all the information we have.
What if you think your sick?
We have been hearing reports that people are getting denied testing due to the limited supply of test kits. We are optimistic that the response will get better over time. For many regions the testing will be done by the federal government and will only be approved if you show all symptoms, and had contact with a known case or were in a high risk region. There are now also private labs that will test you if you pay. A local group of doctors created a facebook group Covid-19 SMA, that is providing up to date information on what you can do. Please visit the web page for the most up to date information as it can change. Here are their most recent recommendations for the San Miguel region, which maybe similar to others.
SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE SPECIFIC MEDICAL INFO CORONAVIRUS/COVID-19
We’ve created an algorithm to follow if you are concerned that you may have coronavirus (COVID-19). This information will be updated as the testing requirements in Mexico change.
· Health authorities recommend that if you have symptoms or you have had contact with someone with or suspected of having COVID-19, you SHOULD NOT go to clinics, hospitals, or emergency rooms
· Free testing for San Miguel de Allende is ONLY Performed by Ministry of Health (MOH) trained employees
· There are specific requirement that must be met before MOH government testing can occur.
1. Person of any age that in the last 14 days has presented with fever and or cough, and at least one of the following signs and symptoms: Dyspnea (shortness of breath), Myalgia (muscle aches), Headache, Arthralgia (joint pain), Odynophagia (difficulty swallowing or throat pain) AND
2. Have had known contact with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID 19 OR Have had travel in the past 14 days to an area with a known COVID-19 outbreak
· If your health is stable and you meet the criteria
1. STAY HOME and SELF ISOLATE
2. Call the Ministry of Health (MOH)
1. Requires a prescription (Please DO NOT go to doctor for prescription. Call and arrange for neighbor or friend to pick up
National MOH 800-004-4800 (only if you cannot reach Dr. Chao)
Dr. Chao will take a medical and epidemiological history and if you meet the MOH COVID-19 testing requirements she will arrange for you to be tested at no cost. They may come to your home (we suggest you ask), or you may need to go to one of the government clinics. She will provide you with the available options.
MOH testing results are currently 24-48 hours after the swab
3. Call your doctor for symptom management (DO NOT GO to office)
If your health is unstable or a medical emergency:
1. DO NOT go directly to the hospital or doctor’s office
2. Call for a Red Cross Ambulance 415-152-1616 OR
3. Dial 911
*** Advise either that you suspect COVID 19
There is a private lab that has begun COVID 19 testing:
Av. De Las Torres 121, Edificio 3, 2º Piso, Galindas, Queretaro
1. Requires a prescription (Please DO NOT go to doctor for prescription. Call and arrange for neighbor or friend to pick up)
2. No symptom or exposure requirements
3. Call them first to advise them that you are coming and that you suspect COVID-19
4. Cost is 3000 pesos
5. Results in 24 hours
If you have any up to date information about the virus response in your region, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment below to have it added to the article. Please only information from direct sources, or professionals.
What Insurance Would Cover this?
We do have a few insurers that will be able to provide you with some peace of mind about the virus. Below you can find the official responses from our main insurance carriers, and relevant terms and conditions. We currently only have found long term policies that will accept the risk, most of our short term travel carriers are not covering it due to the recent travel advisories, deeming the pandemic as being a “known risk.” We will update this article with our other insurers GeoBlue, PA Group (WEA), IMG, and Azimuth in the next 24 hours as we are still awaiting responses.
Seeing as how this is a unique, “black swan” incident, many governments and insurers have not had to deal with a situation like this before, so they will be working to implement new solutions as the pandemic spreads.
We are not sure how involved the government’s care will be, how much hospitalizations / test will cost, or how claims will be handled as of yet.
All of the information that we have received will be found in this article, we’ll update it as time goes on. We are confident all parties will work together to help maintain the spread of the coronavirus, and to treat as many people as possible.
Asking any what-if questions to the insurers before the full extent of the situation is realized will rarely get you responses, as each case will be unique and will be handled on a claim-by-claim basis.
If you are currently uninsured, feel free to contact us to talk through your unique situation. These are complex, long term insurance products, that are not designed for one specific use case like this. Please note that many people who get the virus, will not need medical treatment. If you are not at a high risk, and were not already interested in a long term plan, don’t just panic buy a policy.
If you know what you are looking for you can also quickly submit applications immediately using the buttons below for each carrier. We do expect the insurers to stop allowing new applicants in specific regions if things get worse.
Please click below for a general quote with all our providers.
Our Recommended Policy – VUMI Gold or VUMI Specialty. Both offering the maximum coverage for the incident.
Our mission is to provide you, our insured with a remarkable VIP medical experience and the peace of mind that you will be covered when you need it most, anywhere in the world. Therefore, I would like to personally assure you that if a VUMI insured is diagnosed with COVID-19, we will cover all medically necessary expenses including the diagnostic test according to the terms and conditions of your policy, either by direct payment when possible or through reimbursement.
Alternative Policy – PA Group Expatriate Health & Premier Health. Both offered partial coverage for hospitalizations and a lowered deductible. They also included a free e-doctor benefit to help you during times of need without leaving your house for their global health policy. THESE POLICY BENEFITS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED
Our policies exclude coverage of epidemics and medical services under the direction of public authorities. However, to stand in solidarity with the current international public health emergency the company — temporarily — extends these benefits:
PA Group will cover the necessary medical expenses related to COVID-19 under the Wellness for both children and adults, up to the limit of the selected plan and for this will temporarily eliminate the waiting period that has this benefit. This interim coverage only covers prescription drugs, consultations, and medical examinations related to COVID-19. This benefit has no deductible.
COVID-19 cases that require hospitalization will have coverage of $25,000 for Expatriate Health and $50,000 for Global Health, only for services in your policy country after you cover a special deductible equivalent to 50% of your regular deductible per insured for this temporary benefit which will not be cumulative to your policy’s regular deductible. This benefit is subject to all policy conditions and restrictions, and pre-certification requirements.
For policyholders who are covered under Global Health and are traveling outside their country of residence, the Travel Rider administered by Seven Corners provides coverage for COVID-19-related emergencies. This benefit is subject to all policy conditions and restrictions, and pre-certification requirements.
In case of any medical situation during your trip, please contact the administrator of the Travel Rider, Seven Corners:
Global Health policies in Mexico, Costa Rica and Venezuela have the PA Group e-Doctor service that offers virtual consultations 24 hours a day, which avoids exposure to the virus by not having to leave the comfort of your home.