The COVID-19 horror continues to haunt the survivors with long-term crippling effects. This can mount severe challenges to not only the survivors but also to the health budgets of countries affected by COVID-19. The insurance companies will have a re-look at health insurance packages. China’s National Health Commission (NHC) in its guidelines on COVID-19 survivors has disclosed that some recovered patients would require treatment for lung and heart damage, for movement problems from muscle loss, as well as for psychological disorders.
The Chinese Health Authority has officially included damage to several internal organs as among the potential effects of the noval coronavirus, expanding medical insurance coverage for patients as the long-term implications and toll of the disease emerge. The countries hitherto spending on weapons of war will have to scale down their defence budgets and instead they will have to provide additional financial provisions in their budgets to fight the unseen greatest enemy of mankind, COVID-19. All health insurance plans will go for a toss. The health insurance companies will have to do out of the box thinking to lure potential customers by offering coverage to COVID-19 survivors for a series of treatments for heart, lung and kidneys apart from psychological and mental illnesses.
It is expected that corona patients with mild and moderate symptoms may recover without long-term harmful consequences to their health. New studies have indicated that those with severe symptoms can have organ damage. They may require a much longer time for rehabilitation, according to the Chinese report. Some patients might also develop heart problems such as angina and arrhythmia– conditions that could result directly from coronavirus or after a patient has been bed-ridden for a long time. The other unwanted ‘gifts’ that COVID-19 can offer include depression, insomnia, eating disorders and even changes in cognitive functions.
The most terrifying after-effect seems to be muscle and limb– function loss! Physical mobility is a great asset for a human being. Nobody likes to be paralyzed. Imagine the potential damage limb– function loss can cause to the economies to the developing and developed countries. A halt of production of various consumer and commercial goods has already brought down some countries on their economic knees. The potential lay-offs of workers due to muscle and limb– function loss can hamper productivity. Sudden physical disability can spike mental health issues. If family members are not supportive, it may see increased attempts to end lives. We have seen how even the thought of testing positive for COVID-19 drove some patients to commit suicide even inside the hospitals. The potential kidney damage to corona survivors may lead to more treatment. The dialysis centres and hospitals may be stretched to the limits.
As we hope and pray for the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the medical bills of individual families and the health allocations in budgets across the world are set to soar beyond imaginable limits. Huge medical bills push many families into poverty every year. Taking insurance policy seems to be the best policy! A question with far-reaching implications and consequences is: Is the world prepared to handle COVID-19 survivors with limb– function loss and organ damage?