Frequently asked questions Corona virus (COVID-19)

16.04.2020

In the context of the worldwide measures taken in regards to COVID -19, please find below a list of frequently asked questions concerning the Globality Health plans and coverage.

1. Is the Corona virus the same as Covid-19/SARS-CoV-2?

Official names have been announced for the virus responsible for COVID-19 (previously known as “2019 novel coronavirus”) and the disease it causes. The official names are:

Disease

Coronavirus disease

(COVID-19)

COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

Virus

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2
(SARS-CoV-2)

2. SARS-CoV-2 background information?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, some can infect people:

  • some cause mild illness, such as strains responsible for some common cold
  • others can potentially lead to severe, or even fatal, disease
  • the natural reservoir for coronaviruses is thought to be animal hosts
  • new strains emerge from this reservoir, infect an “intermediate” host, and from there infect people
  • the viruses may then be capable of being transmitted from one person to another
  • some are efficient at human-to-human transmission, while others are not

3. Symptoms of the COVID-19 disease?

The following symptoms may appear within 14 days of probable exposure:

  • fever
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • muscle aches
  • diarrhea

Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.

4. Who is at risk of developing severe illness?

The virus can affect all ages. However it appears that older persons aged 60 and older and persons with chronic medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes as well as people who have compromised immune systems) appear to develop serious illness more often than others.

5. How is SARS-CoV-2 spread?

The following are the transmission modes

  • Direct contact: breathing larger droplets (coughs, sneeze)
  • Direct contact: touching objects contaminated by droplets
  • Not finally confirmed but likely: aerosol transmission: breathing respiratory droplets

6. Can a blood test detect the presence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus?

No. Only a test on respiratory secretions is currently available to detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2.

7. COVID-19 treatment?

There is no specific treatment.

  • Patients receive supportive care to relieve symptoms and prevent complications
  • No specific antiviral therapy
  • No vaccine available yet

While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western and traditional medicines. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings are available.

8. Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating the COVID-19?

No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection.

9. COVID-19 prevention?

Avoid potential exposure. Ensure good hygiene measures and safe food practices.

Maintain good personal hygiene.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and at least for 20-30 seconds
  • Carry hand sanitizer for use when soap and water are not readily available
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes and nose
  • cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue to protect others
  • avoid handshaking when welcoming or congratulating others
  • maintain a distance of at least 2 meters (6 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.

Avoid direct contact with animals (live or dead) and their environment. However there is no evidence that pets at home spread the virus. Don`t touch surfaces that may be contaminated with droppings.

Keep some distance from people who are obviously sick.

Do not travel when you are sick. Please note that some locations have implemented screenings, and travelers may face quarantine and testing.

Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling to places, especially if you are an older person, exposed to higher risk due to chronic medical conditions, or have a compromised immune system.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early. Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

10. Is COVID-19 outbreak already declared as pandemic by WHO?

On the 11th of March 2020 World Health Organisation (WHO) finally announced COVID-19 to be a pandemic disease.

The announcement of COVID-19 to be a pandemic does not have any additional restrictions to Globality’s “Epidemic” clause in the GCIs or the “Force Majeure” clause in the GCIs if applicable.

Declaring a pandemic does not mean the characteristics of the disease has changed but rather speaks to its geographical reach. According to the World Health Organization, a pandemic is declared when a new disease for which people do not have immunity spreads around the world beyond expectations.

11. Would Globality cover the first diagnostic test cost for the detection of the SARS-CoV-2 virus?

For members coming to hospitals or doctor offices presenting themselves with SARS-CoV-2 symptoms the tests performed are considered diagnostic procedures to either confirm or rule out Corona virus infection. We pay the cost in full when the treating doctor orders it according to the various recommendations through local authorities in the various countries worldwide (in Germany for example as per the recommendation of Robert Koch Institute) incl. persons with high-risk exposure. Only then is it considered medically necessary laboratory test. This applies for the initial tests and second test, if the initial is positive.

For any members coming to hospitals or doctor offices free of any clinical symptoms the SARS-CoV-2, tests requested by this group of persons to be performed are not considered to be medically necessary. This type of test is not considered to be screening for early detection of illnesses and therefore not covered by Globality plans. Cost for medical tests in these cases would need to be paid by the individual member and will not be reimbursed.

12. Is it reasonable to do SARS-CoV-2 test without having any clinical symptoms?

No. From medical perspective, it is no recommended to perform the SARS-CoV-2 test when free of any symptoms. The test result would result in a negative result giving the person the confidence of not being infected by SARS-CoV-2. While in fact the same person may be infected but since the incubation period may take up to 14 days, clinical symptoms will manifest later and could be neglected by the person because of the SARS-CoV-2 test performed and the negative result confirmed back then. In fact, this person may have developed SARS-CoV-2 infection in the meantime.

Considering the above, SARS-CoV-2 test are only to be performed when a person presents clinical symptoms.

13. What is Globality’s general position as health insurer and specialist?

Globality is recommending that all members take the recommended precautions and follow the travel advice given by the authorities in their country of residence and any country they are travelling to.

As this is a rapidly evolving situation, our policy will be routinely reviewed, however our current position is to treat COVID-19 as we would any other comparable disease; i.e., influenza and not to enforce the exclusion related to epidemics and pandemics applicable to certain plans/contracts. This means that Globality is continuing to cover all medically necessary treatments eligible for coverage on the members selected plan levels.

Medical costs incurred when you  have travelled to a country or specific area which your Government or Embassy (in your country of residence) have advised against traveling to under any circumstances will not  be covered.

As the pandemic progresses, we may be denied access to a region or to an insured person by local law/authorities and be unable to provide a service in accordance with our obligations in the usual way.  As soon as the situation changes and public control is lifted, we shall resume the provision of services.

14. Does Globality cover cost for pre-cautionary quarantine or self-isolation?

Globality does not cover any costs associated with quarantine, which is purely a precautionary measure, and there are no symptoms that the Globality members are developing/showing.  In these cases there are no symptoms, there is also no treatment, it is a completely preventative measure, usually enforced by the authorities.  The same applies to any cost linked to self-isolation.

15. Would Globality cover any pre-cautionary evacuations/repatriations cost to protect individuals/employees?

Precautionary evacuation(s)/repatriation(s) of expats from host country to other countries/home countries to avoid SARS-CoV-2  is not covered by the product. Evacuations/repatriations are only covered when medically necessary due to inadequate inpatient medical care availability in the country where the incident occurs.

Please note entry into and exit out of a country is dependent on local rules and this can influence transfer decisions.

16. Should I wear a mask to protect myself and does Globality cover the cost for the masks?

It is only recommended to wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19. Disposable face masks can only be used once. If you are not ill or looking after someone who is ill then you are wasting a mask.

WHO advises rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of precious resources and mis-use of masks.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands with soap, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue and maintain a distance of at least 2 meters (6 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing.

Considering the above Globality does not cover the cost for masks with exception of any persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus or persons or professionals who care for persons with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

17. Do I have coverage for pharmaceutical drugs as prescribed by my doctor to combat COVID-19?

Currently there is no known treatment for COVID-19. In future, only treatment approved by the World Health Organization will be recognized and covered by your plan.

18. What do I need to consider if I am temporarily located in my home or a third country and cannot return to my host country due to COVID-19 and possible travel restrictions?

Please do not hesitate to contact us at contact@globality-health.com. We would be pleased to support you.

19. I have difficulties to settle my health insurance premium in time. What do I need to consider?

Please contact us at contact@globality-health.com

20. Useful links to follow on COVID-19 situation.

21. Purpose of this FAQ document

These questions and answers are intended to provide general information on Globality Health plans and coverage in the context of the worldwide measures taken in regard to COVID-19. These may not cover every aspect of the topic they are dealing with, may not be completely accurate in every circumstance, and are not intended to be binding, in any manner, on any stakeholder, and do not substitute consultation of the applicable insurance conditions.

16.04.2020