We’ve all seen the news: coronavirus has made its way into the United States. While the government has issued preventative measures to take into consideration to prevent infection of the virus, what does it all mean in terms of your clients? Chances are you’ve received calls from clients asking questions about their health insurance as it relates to the virus, and maybe you haven’t been entirely sure what to tell them.
So, what should you tell your clients when they call with a list of questions surrounding coronavirus? While insurance agents are not health care professionals and should remind clients to reach out to their primary care provider for medical advice, there are some precautionary measures that you can remind your clients to take to avoid contracting the virus.
First, let’s look at what coronavirus is. Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has been defined by the CDC as a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person through close contact, typically about six feet, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected individual coughs or sneezes. The disease can also be transmitted by someone touching surface areas that have the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or eyes. Symptoms of the disease include fever, shortness of breath, and a cough.
While there are currently no vaccines or treatments that can combat the disease, there are several preventative measures that are recommended to avoid the contraction and spread of the virus. The CDC has issued several recommendations:
- Avoid close contact with those already infected.
- Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands
- Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is highly recommended; if soap and water are not readily available, using an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is recommended.
If clients start seeing signs and symptoms in themselves or a loved one, heading to the emergency room the moment symptoms arise may not be recommended. Instead, consider suggesting to them to utilize telehealth, which allows patients and clinicians to connect via electronic information. The long-distance service will reduce the risk of spreading the virus. If that is not a possibility, consulting their primary care physician is the way to go. Insurance will pay out for the upfront costs and the results will come back quickly.
Now, what about those who are uninsured? Several states are pushing to waive some fees and expenses that could be incurred by people seeking testing for coronavirus, with New York being one that has already begun implementing free testing in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.
Coronavirus’ worldwide transmission has seen a massive uptick in travel insurance. Many providers have added emergency medical and evacuation coverage to travel plans since the outbreak to give users options in case of a medical situation arising while away from home.
There are many unknowns surrounding coronavirus, but there are preventative steps that can be taken to avoid contracting the virus. Tell your clients to get in the habit of washing their hands frequently, using hand sanitizer and avoiding touching their face. Staying home when sick will help contain the potential spread of sickness.