•The first case of local transmission was reported in South Africa as all others have been persons who had travelled abroad.
•President Kenyatta directs review and adjustment of budgets towards prevention and management of emergency response. OUTBREAK: Medical staff carry a box at Jinyintan hospital, where the patients with pneumonia caused by the new strain of coronavirus are being treated, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China Image: /REUTERS With the World Health Organization declaring coronavirus a global pandemic, infected persons will not get treatment under their medical cover.
Prior to the WHO’s declaration, an infected person could use their medical cover but this is now not an option.
“The insurers will not be able to offer medical insurance cover for the condition at this moment. The insurers have this category of exclusion properly indicated in the policy documents,” Insurance Regulatory Authority chief executive Godfrey Kiptum told the Star.
AAR Insurance chief executive Nixon Shigoli said once a disease is declared a pandemic, the burden of medical care provision shifts from insurers to the government.
“Insurers now have to think very quickly but I haven’t heard of anyone in the industry who has included coronavirus in their medical offerings,” he said.
He said if underwriters were to decide to introduce such a product it would likely be costly, meaning it wouldn’t meet its intended goal.
“The truth is, we might introduce a product that caters to coronavirus but the uptake may not be as promising. Very few Kenyans are conscious enough to buy such a cover,” Shigoli said.
Kiptum said the regulator and industry players were looking into ways to incorporate unexpected health expenses for coverage.
“We are looking at policies that surround exclusion of patients with chronic illnesses, pre-existing conditions and in the event of epidemics,” he said.
As at Wednesday, if a coronavirus case was declared locally it would have been taken care of by an underwriter under the infected person’s medical policy.“Epidemics and pandemics are not covered globally because they can be catastrophic,” Jubilee Insurance chief executive Patrick Gitonga said.Shigoli said most insurance firms are right now largely preaching prevention, especially when it comes to non-essential cross-border travel.“Even for travel insurance, those who decide to travel will have to pay from their own pockets to cater for any corona-related treatments,” he said.VIRUS SPREADThe coronavirus outbreak continues to send jitters across the globe with more and more cases being reported on the African continent.On Thursday, South Africa’s Health Minister […]