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Do health insurance policies cover Black Fungus treatment?

Team AckoAug 19, 2021

Newer concerns are emerging with passing time as we try to understand the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. One such concern is a rare but serious fungal infection called Black Fungus. While the fungus responsible for this infection is commonly found in the ground and air, the effect it is having on people recovering from COVID-19 is prominent. Thus, not only COVID-19 treatment, but people are now trying to understand if Black Fungus is also covered under their health insurance policy. Let us shed light on this possibility through the following article.

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Does health insurance cover Black Fungus or Mucormycosis treatment?

Black Fungus treatment requires hospitalisation, and in some severe cases, surgery also. Both these are covered under health insurance. A health policy that covers COVID-19 would also allow a claim for Black Fungus treatment. However, there might be a certain waiting period to raise a claim. It is thus necessary to confirm such details with the insurer.

Health insurance companies that cover Black Fungus are allowing related claims and paying the cost of treatment including hospitalisation or surgery, as per the terms and conditions of the plan. Additionally, government schemes like Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana and Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana offer health insurance coverage for Black Fungus. 

What is Black Fungus?

Black Fungus (Mucormycosis) is caused by a type of mould known as Mucormycetes. It is commonly found in households and can be inhaled by anyone. It can also enter the body through an open wound or small cuts. A healthy person can easily fight this infection off. Those who can't, develop a serious infection that can affect the respiratory system, skin, gastrointestinal tract, eyes, or brain of the infected person.

Mucormycosis is a fungal infection and can infect any immuno-compromised person. Meaning, it may affect a person who has weak immunity. Since this is a common situation of a person recovering from COVID-19 infection, the patient is at a higher risk of getting infected by Black Fungus. People that were critically ill from COVID-19 are at a higher risk as the drugs and extreme life-saving treatment they received for treating COVID-19 had an adverse effect on their immunity.

Common reasons of Black Fungus infection also include poor sanitation, misuse of steroids, oxygen source, antibacterial medications, or contaminated food. Using dirty masks, staying in closed or less ventilated areas for a long time can cause this infection.

Who is at a higher risk of getting Black Fungus infection?

Black Fungus thrives in conditions where the body does not have sufficient white blood cells (WBCs) to fight off the infection. This is what makes a common fungal infection deadly. WBCs or soldier cells can reduce from a recent or an ongoing disease and this leads to low immunity. So the Black Fungus infection can trigger in the following kind of patients.

  • Patients recovering from COVID-19 infection

  • People with HIV or AIDS

  • Someone that has recently undergone stem cell transplant

  • A patient fighting cancer 

  • Diabetic people

  • A person suffering from heart ailment

  • Others with low immunity

Things to Remember

If you are recovering from COVID-19 infection or have a disease that has caused low immunity, it is important to note the following points.

  • Remember that Black Fungus is commonly found around the house. 

  • Throw out any stale or decaying fruits and other food items.

  • Avoid gardening as there are high chances of Black Fungus being present in house plants, soil, manure, etc.

  • Build immunity by strictly following the post-hospitalisation treatment and other remedies.

  • Periodically monitor blood sugar levels.

  • Humidity in a closed space (house or office) should not be above the range of 30-40%, as high moisture environments promote fungus growth.

How does health insurance help in medical emergencies?

Through an active health insurance policy, your insurer has made a promise to bear the cost of covered medical treatments. Thus, you have a strong financial backup whenever you need money for medical treatment (provided it is covered under your health insurance plan). Your health insurance policy helps you get timely treatment that allows you better results as compared to having no financial backup and thus delaying treatment. Usually, you get the following coverages under a health insurance policy.

Hospitalisation

This includes the cost of treatment, room rent, doctor visits, surgery costs, nurse charges, etc. Additionally pre- and post-hospitalisation expenses are also covered.

Daycare treatment

Small medical procedures that don't require prolonged hospitalisation come under daycare treatments. Some examples of daycare treatment are cataracts, tonsillectomy, etc.

Ambulance charges

Usually the cost of one ambulance journey to or from the hospital is borne by the health insurance company under this coverage. This benefit may come with a sub-limit clause. Hence it is important to understand your policy terms.

Maternity expenses (Add-on)

The policyholder can choose to get coverage for maternity and newborn-related expenses by opting for the maternity expenses add-on coverage. Some health insurance plans also offer this coverage as a built-in benefit.

Frequently asked questions

Following are a few questions related to Black Fungus and health insurance. Consider contacting ACKO by sending an email to [email protected] in case of more queries.

Which symptoms suggest the presence of Black Fungus infection?

Since there are multiple types of Black Fungus infections, depending upon the site of infection, the symptoms can differ in each case. Following are common symptoms of Black Fungus infection.

  • Sinus or nasal pain and congestion

  • Fungus patch inside the mouth

  • Blurry vision

  • Swelling in the eyelids

  • Cough

  • Blackened skin tissue

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Ulcers on the skin

Can the Black Fungus infection spread from one person to another?

No, the Black Fungus infection does not spread from one person to another, i.e it is not contagious.

Do I need to buy special health insurance coverage for Black Fungus?

No, the health insurance plan that covers COVID-19 will also cover Black Fungus infection. Buying a new health insurance policy is not required if you already have sufficient coverage.

Does Black Fungus infection cause loss of vision?

Yes, advanced cases of Black Fungus have resulted in blurry or loss of vision. Thus, it is advised by doctors that any patient recovering from COVID-19 who is experiencing the symptoms of Black Fungus must immediately seek medical help. In case of delay, the infection can reach the brain and cause permanent damage.

How does health insurance help if a person has Black Fungus infection?

The treatment cost for Black Fungus amounts to lakhs of rupees, and it can burn a hole in the finances. In this situation, your health insurance policy can provide a financial back-up, and you can rest assured that you have a helping hand during the time of crisis. Thus, health insurance provides financial help if a person has Black Fungus infection, provided your health policy covers it.

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