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Will health insurance policies cover the Omicron variant

Will health insurance policies cover the Omicron variant?

The instances of Covid-19 and its new variant Omicron have been increasing at an alarming rate across the country. Face masks, hand sanitisers, social distancing apart, getting a health insurance policy has become more crucial now.

 

A comprehensive health insurance policy covers hospitalisation expenses incurred for all illnesses and injuries, including Covid-19 and its variants. This policy is renewable for a lifetime, and hence, will take care of your healthcare needs both in the short and long term. There, however, might be some restrictions that come with comprehensive health insurance, such as – waiting period for pre-existing and other conditions, sub-limit or eligibility cap on rent limit, etc. You must be aware of these conditions before making the purchase.


Insurance regulator Irdai says health insurance policies that cover COVID treatment costs will also cover expenses for treating infections due to Omicron.

“All health insurance policies issued by all general and health insurance companies that cover treatment costs of COVID-19 also cover the costs of treatment towards Omicron variant of COVID-19 as per terms and conditions of policy contract,” the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) said in a release.

 

The regulator has issued the directive to general and health insurers in view of the growing number of cases of the Omicron variant.

 

The regulator has also asked insurance companies to put in place an effective coordination mechanism with all their network providers and hospitals to make available seamless cashless facilities to all policyholders in case of hospitalization and render speedy services to all policyholders.

In April 2020 also, Irdai had clarified that all the indemnity based health insurance products that cover the treatment costs of hospitalisation offered by all general and health insurance companies cover the costs of hospitalisation treatment on account of COVID-19.

 

Health insurance options that cover Omicron
Introduced in March 2020 by IRDAI, Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak are short-term health plans designed specifically for Covid-19. Both these policies will cover treatment costs of COVID-19 and all its variants including Omicron.

Corona Rakshak is a fixed cash benefit policy that will pay up to INR 2.5 Lakhs if you’re infected with Covid-19 or any of its variants and are hospitalized for 72 hours or more. Corona Kavach, on the other hand, will reimburse the actual expenses incurred if you undergo hospitalization for Covid-19 or its variants for more than 24 hours.

These plans are not a substitute for comprehensive health insurance. They are just short-term health insurance plans that cover Covid-19 and its variants. It is important that you and your family have a comprehensive health insurance policy that will cover hospitalization expenses of all kinds of ailments, infections, and injuries – and not just Covid-19. And it is important that you get it NOW.


5 ways to protect yourself from market correction

5 ways to protect yourself from market correction

Markets are like Cardiograms. Just like ups and downs on the cardiogram are necessary, markets are not meant to be linear. Not everyone has been able to make the best of the market cycles. However, smart investors not only leverage on the bull market they also smartly benefit from the bear market. It’s not always about making a good investment; it’s about making a smart investment during the market correction. Let us familiarize you with 5 key behaviors of smart investors.


Greed in the time of panic

“Be fearful when others are greedy. Be greedy when others are fearful.”

For a smart investor, corrections are times to be greedy, because this is the time when smart investors find many opportunities to invest rather than selling off their winnings in selling spree. Smart investors leverage on the greed of buying stocks at reasonable price. While others choose to sell, smart investors invest more in the time of market panic. Buying in the times of correction is one of the identical features of smart investors.

 

Opportunities to analyze more quality stocks

“Good things are found in the depth.”
Smart investors are opportunistic. They seek opportunities for quality companies as market corrections bring down the average cost price for the quality stocks. This means there is a higher opportunity to multiply the number of stocks at a fair value at such times of correction. They rather find opportunities in critical situations than to surrender their winnings in equity. Quality companies have higher growth potential and smart investors execute their expertise to spot one. Quality companies tend to have limited downside during the corrections and they help keeping portfolio strong. Smart investors dive deeper even in the volatile markets to find such quality catch.

Knowledge first

“An investment in knowledge always pays the best.”
Smart investors make their decisions with a supported knowledge base. They trust only the facts and ignore the market rumors. Such investors merely run on luck, they believe in knowledge and research as it is the base of investment in equity. Smart investors avoid churning portfolio often because their portfolios often consist of quality stocks that have limited downside in such times. This helps them avoid cost for churning their portfolio. Markets have never been stable but only the smart investors learn how to make the best of it. Knowing the market trends is smart investor’s characteristic but they don’t necessarily follow.

Buy right: Sit tight

“Big money is not in the buying or selling, but in the waiting.”

Smart investors invest in equity for a long term as they believe in wealth creation by investing in quality stocks that possess a growth potential over the long period of time. Keeping ears to ground and holding the stocks till the full growth cycle of the company, smart investors benefit from the period spend in growth of the company.  Being hasty in selling quality stocks is never a choice of smart investors. They believe in fundamentals to achieve financial goals over the long term therefore market corrections do not lead them into panic. During market correction, they prefer to sit tight on their holdings.



Evaluating performance of portfolio

“Look back to see forward.”
Smart investors plan for longer term before they invest. Market crash enables smart investors to evaluate their plans. They evaluate the performance of their stocks as how much has the stock risen up since the investment with respect to the fall experienced in the correction. They calculate possible value of their portfolio in the bear market with the caliber of stocks in the portfolio for the period to stay invested. They urge to invest more in quality companies for higher opportunities and higher expected returns. They don’t change their plans, they just refresh the existing plans. Above all smart investors do not simply risk money to test their luck, they invest money to systematically create wealth over a long period of time.
 
 

Source: MotilalOswal

How can you save more taxes in 2022 ? Here are 6 investment schemes to save more money

The best time to start your tax saving investments is at the beginning of a calendar year or a financial year. While tax planning is important, getting aware of all tax saving schemes and choosing the right one is crucial.

 

Tax saving schemes ensure you don’t pay more taxes and make money in the long run by investing in savings-oriented schemes. Here are some of the best tax saving options with a deduction of up to ₹1.5 lakh in your income tax for the year.

 

Here are a few options of tax saving schemes:

 

ELSS Mutual Fund

Equity-linked saving scheme (ELSS) is a type of mutual fund scheme that primarily invests in equity funds. ELSS offers tax benefits to investors. The investments in the scheme are eligible for tax deduction under section 80C of the Income Tax Act, 1961 up to a maximum of ₹1.5 lakh.

 

One can invest through both lump sum and systematic investment plans (SIP) to avail the tax deduction. This way, ELSS offers both investment and tax saving benefits.

Here are the five top performing ELSS funds in the industry:

 

Funds% return in last 3 years
Quant Tax Plan37.52%
BOI AXA Tax Advantage30.92%
Mirae Asset Tax Saver26.53%
Canara Robeco Equity Tax Saver26.19%
IDFC Tax Advantage (ELSS)24.54%

 

National Savings Certificate (NSC)

NSC is a fixed income tax-saving investment plan that you can open with any post office branch. The scheme is an initiative of the government of India and hence is relatively safer. The investment in NSC qualifies for deduction under section 80C of the income tax act of up to ₹1.50 lakh.

These certificates earn an annual fixed interest of around 6.8% per annum (revised every quarter by the government), thus guaranteeing a regular income for the investor. The scheme has two types of certificates — 5-year and 10-year.

 

National Pension Scheme (NPS)

NPS is a pension cum investment scheme launched by the government of India to provide old age security to citizens of India. The scheme offers tax saving options to both government and private employees. Any citizen between the age of 18-60 can invest in it. The amount invested by the depositor is invested in several schemes including the equity markets. Again the basic amount of deduction offered by the fund is up to ₹1.5 lakh on the same amount of investment. However, NPS allows one to get an additional ₹50,000 deduction under section 80CCD (1B), taking the overall tax deduction amount to ₹2 lakh.

 

Unit Linked Insurance Plan (ULIP)

ULIP is offered by insurance companies that, unlike a pure insurance policy, gives investors both insurance and investment under a single integrated plan.

A portion of the premium paid by the policyholder is utilised to provide insurance coverage to the policyholder and the remaining portion is invested in equity and debt instruments. ULIP also provides tax deduction up to ₹1.5 lakh.

 

Here are the top 5 best performing ULIP plans in the industry:

ULIP plans by insurance companies% returns in last 3 years
PNB MetLife – Met Pension Plus27.40%
AEGON Life iMaximize Plan – Opportunity Fund23.40%
Bharti AXA Life – Future Secure Pension – Growth Opportunities Pension Plus23.30%
Future Pension Advantage Plan – Future Pension Active21.80%
Kotak Platinum Edge – Frontline Equity Fund21.40%

 

Public Provident Fund (PPF)

PPF is one of the safest investment options to start with that can help you secure your retirement and save tax as well. The PPF has a minimum tenure of 15 years with as little as ₹500 to open an account.

 

You can open a PPF account through a post office or in any nationalised bank.

 

Income tax exemptions are applicable on the principal amount invested in a PPF account. The interest rate for PPF is set and paid by the government for every quarter which is currently at 7.1%, more than the savings rate in banks. Taxpayers can claim a maximum deduction up to ₹1.5 lakh.

 

Home loan

If you have taken a home loan to buy a new house, you are also allowed to claim a deduction of up to ₹1.5 lakh under section 80C of the income tax. The deduction can be claimed on the principal amount repaid in the particular financial year. Check your home loan interest certificate for EMI payment details.

 

However, note that even if you put more money i.e ₹1.5 lakh each in any of the above tax saving options like ULIP, ELSS MF, your maximum deduction from taxable income will still be a total of ₹1.5 lakh only.

 

However, investing in NPS can get you an additional ₹50,000 deduction, taking the overall tax deduction amount to ₹2 lakh.

 

Source: Business Insider

 

Protect Yourself From The New Strain of Covid-19 Variant-Omicron!

Amidst the spread of COVID-19 across the country, people are facing a lot of issues related to health & other life-related issues. The Indian Government is leaving no stones unturned & taking all precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus and its variants including the Omicron.

Experts are still learning about this variant & its deadly effects. It has around 50 mutations, which potentially makes the variant more transmissible & deadly. There are almost 50 mutations & 32 are in spike proteins. The virus uses them to enter the human cells. 10 are mutations of exceptionally high relevance.

This deadly virus is surely a “Variant of Concern”, placing the new strain into the most troubling category of Covid variants, along with Delta, and its less strong rivals Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.

The WHO had expressed its concern & said that it is not yet explicit whether infection with Omicron causes more serious disease compared to other variants, including Delta. The known mutations that may withhold immune escape potential and possibly transmissibility advantage. The likelihood of potential further expansion of Omicron at the global level is soaring.

The likelihood of potential further expansion of Omicron at the global level is soaring. The total global risk associated with the new VoC (a variant of concern) Omicron is estimated as very high.

Omicron Variant Safety Precautions

The oncoming of the new deadly Covid-19 variant shows once again that the pandemic is far from over — and Covid-norms to be followed strictly for breaking the chain of transmission:

Following are the preventive measures that you must take in order to protect yourself and your loved ones from the Omicron variant:

  1. Mask yourselves while venturing out of your house
  2. Be in good ventilation in all shared spaces
  3. Maintain social distancing practices when in public places
  4. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for around 20 seconds and carry a sanitiser with you
  5. As per Govt guidelines, get your shot of Covid vaccine at the earliest

In these Covid times with growing medical needs and rising inflation, we must secure ourselves with a medical health plan. A simple outpatient procedure can make your wallet considerably lighter.

An insurance policy will help you get the best medical care and you don’t have to worry about expenses. A good insurance plan ensures you don’t have to dig into your savings in the time of a medical emergency.

It also helps cut down the cost of medical expenses in cases such as day-care procedures & routine check-ups. At the cost of a small premium every year, you can protect yourself and your family from huge financial losses in the time of a medical emergency.

Health insurance comes with a plethora of benefits that are not just limited to offering financial cover during medical emergencies but also offers you peace of mind.

Even though you are in good health at the moment, health insurance covers more than only illnesses and diseases. Accidents can happen at any time, regardless of one’s age or level of physical ability.

In such a situation, having health insurance could be beneficial. Coverfox.com has tied up with multiple insurers to provide the best health plans including Covid-19 health plans. If you wish to get comprehensive protection we would recommend going for comprehensive health insurance else there are COVID 19 specific policies such as Corona Kavach and Corona Rakshak you can opt for.

 
Corona Kavach Policy (Corona Health Insurance)

This plan grants you a cover against hospitalization due to Covid-19. Although, one needs to get hospitalized for a minimum of 24 hours/full day. This Corona Kavach Policy covers your covid-19 hospitalization cost, bills related to AYUSH treatment that go up to Rs. 5 Lakh & expenses related to home treatment as well.

The expenses of items that are consumable are also covered in this policy. These items include PPE kits, oxygen cylinders, ventilators, masks, gloves, etc. The advantages of the policy under the terms and conditions of the Corona Kavach policy remain the same regardless of the insurance provider.

ELIGIBILITYSPECIFICATIONS
Age of Entry18-65 years
Types of CoverageFamily Floater or Individual
Sum Insured AmountRs 50k – 5lakhs
Discount % on Premium5% for doctors & health workers
 
Corona Rakshak Policy (Coronavirus Health Insurance)

If you are found covid positive & if it’s diagnosed in the policy term period, you receive a lump sum amount on your hospitalization. However, the hospitalization needs to be for a minimum of 72 hours/3 Days. The timeline of this policy is minimum 3.5 months & maximum 9.5 months.

ELIGIBILITYSPECIFICATIONS
Age of Entry18-65 years
Types of CoverageIndividual
Sum Insured AmountRs 50k – 2.5lakhs
Discount % on Premium5% for doctors & health workers

Key Takeaways- During these unprecedented times, you must focus on protecting your as well as your family’s interest & health. This is why it is recommended to own a reliable health insurance plan with COVID-19 cover to avoid any uncertainties. You can select either COVID-19 specific health insurance plans or regular health insurance plans to get the required cover. All you need to do is connect with the customer care executives at Coverfox.com and share your budget and other requirements. The representatives will help you buy the most suitable policy within a few minutes. 

Source: coverfox.com

9 income tax saving tips that also help financial fitness

Here is a look at 9 ways one can save income tax and improve one’s overall financial fitness.

 

1. Investment in tax-saving instruments

To encourage saving by citizens, the government has provided certain tax deductions on the amounts invested in specified instruments under section 80C of the Income-tax Act, 1961. Some of the popular specified investment instruments for tax planning are:

  1. Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF)
  2. Public Provident Fund (PPF)
  3. Fixed deposits (tenure of 5 years or more)
  4. Life insurance policies

Investing in these instruments wisely can serve the dual purpose of meeting financial goals and tax savings (up to an investment limit of Rs 1.5 lakh per financial year) concurrently. However, tax savings will be available only if an individual opts for the old tax regime. If one opts for the new tax regime, which offers concessional tax rates, one will have to forgo many of the tax deductions and exemptions available under the old tax regime like the section 80C benefit. For those who have opted.

 

2. Selection of appropriate components in the salary structure offered by the employer

In the case of a salaried individual, one can evaluate the salary structure offered by the employer and opt for those salary components which help maximise tax benefits.

For example, one can opt for House Rent Allowance (HRA) in case they are paying rent, telephone/ internet expense reimbursements, education allowance, food coupons, etc. Accordingly, one can claim appropriate deductions/exemptions.

 

3. Increase in retirement fund contribution

Salaried individuals can look at making an additional contribution towards the ‘Voluntary Provident Fund’ in addition to EPF if the investment limit of Rs 1.5 lakh is not exhausted.

This additional contribution will also be deductible from taxable income subject to conditions. Further, the employer’s contribution to NPS (subject to 10% of salary) will provide an additional deduction to the employee.

However, do keep in mind that the employee’s contribution to EPF and VPF should not exceed Rs 2.5 lakh in a financial year, or else income tax will be payable on the interest accretion on the excess provident fund contributions.

 

4. Tax benefits on a home loan

If a housing loan is availed from a financial institution such as a bank or NBFC or housing finance company to acquire/ construct a house property, then the interest and principal paid on the loan taken can be claimed. claimed only if the old tax regime is opted for. Do keep in mind that the deduction on the principal repayment amount is subject to the overall Rs 1.5 lakh limit under Section 80C.

 

5. Protecting oneself with health insurance

Income tax provisions provide for deductions against premiums paid towards health insurance for self, spouse, dependent children, and dependent parents.

Hence, one can buy health insurance for oneself and family members to help manage medical expenses in case of health emergencies and at the same time, avail tax benefits for the premium paid towards these policies (Rs 25,000 for self, spouse, and dependent children; Rs 50,0000 for senior .. for senior citizen parents, as applicable).

Similarly, if senior citizens are not covered under any health insurance policy, then also they can claim a deduction of up to Rs 50,000 for medical expenses made during the year.

 

6. Claiming an appropriate deduction for medical expenses, tuition fees, etc.

It is important to note that in certain instances even if one doesn’t make any additional investment, tax benefits can be availed in connection with certain expenditures incurred like Rs 5,000 for preventive health check-ups.

However, the deduction for expenditure on health check-up is subject to the overall limit under section 80D which includes the health insurance premiums mentioned above. Also, Also, parents can claim a tax deduction of up to Rs 1.5 lakh under section 80C (under the overall limit of Rs 1.5 lakh) for the tuition fee paid for their children’s education.

 

7. Filing of tax returns within the specified timelines


The importance of filing income tax returns and other statutory forms (as applicable in one’s case) within the specified timelines cannot be emphasised enough. by the tax authorities. Further, filed income tax returns (ITR) are also required to be submitted for various purposes like applying for immigration documents, housing loans, carrying forward losses, certain high-value transactions, etc. Hence, it is important to file one’s ITR within the set timelines to avoid interest/ penal implications.

 

8. New concessional tax regime

A new simplified optional personal income tax regime has been introduced by the government from FY 2020-21 onwards.

Subject to certain conditions, an individual or HUF will have the option to pay taxes at reduced slab rates which are applicable without certain exemptions and deductions. In view of the same, one can compare tax payable under the existing and new tax regime and opt for the regime which is more beneficial from a tax perspective.

 

9. Documentation requirements

While no documents are required to be uploaded while e-filing ITR, one should maintain an adequate record of documents for investments made like PF account statements, passbooks, copies of insurance policies, pension plans, bank statements, etc. for a hassle-free interaction with the relevant authorities.

Source:economictimes.indiatimes.com