It makes sense to deal with the disability early on - especially in Corona times (symbol image)
Photo: Kiko Jimenez / Westend61 / Getty Images
Today, almost a year after her Covid 19 illness, Nina, 26, is again doing regular sports.
Only afterwards, she says, does she have to take a shower very quickly, the smell of sweat is much more intense than before the infection.
For about half a year Nina had no sense of taste or smell, then both slowly came back - now she can barely stand some tastes and smells.
It is the only late episode that Nina has to struggle with.
"I'm completely fit," she says.
A health check-up by the doctor did not reveal any abnormalities, and she is doing her job at a start-up as normal.
And yet: When she asked a private insurance broker about disability insurance at the end of last year, he couldn't find a provider for her - allegedly because of her corona infection.
An individual case?
According to research by SPIEGEL, anyone who has had Covid-19 must expect higher costs or even a rejection from private health insurance companies.
The reason: Doctors still cannot say much about the long-term effects, neither the physical nor the psychological.
However, it is precisely this knowledge of long-term consequences that is important for insurers, including in the case of occupational disability insurance (BU).
So will they also become more expensive or even more difficult to get in the future?
The situation is still very opaque, according to the Association of Insured in Hamburg, which is committed to the rights and interests of the insured.
"Everyone is insecure," says chief economist Constantin Papaspyratos.
»The insurers cannot foresee long-term damage and are very cautious in assessing risks.
And policyholders may have problems concluding a contract. "
Differences in health questionnaires
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Even with the so-called health questionnaire, the picture is inconsistent.
Everyone interested in a BU must fill it out.
The insurance companies use it to determine how fit you are and what doctor's visits you have, for example, in the past five years;
they ask about medication intake, whether you have had to be treated in hospital or suffer from chronic illnesses.
With some insurers, Corona appears explicitly in the questionnaires, says Papaspyratos: “Some want to know whether you have suffered from Covid symptoms in the past year or whether you had to go into quarantine because of contact with Covid-infected people.
The others just ask if you needed medical treatment for a Covid disease. "
How this information will be handled in the future is completely open.
A rejection is possible - just like postponing the contract and waiting.
And other variants are also conceivable, says Papaspyratos: “It is possible that people with Covid-19 will have to pay a risk premium in the future.
Or an exclusion of benefits is noted. «In the BU contract, insurers can agree that a pension will not be paid out if someone has suffered from back pain in the past and that is precisely why they can no longer do their job later.
According to Papaspyratos, this could possibly also be done with Covid-19.
That's what the insurers say
"There is still too little information on the course of the disease or long-term consequences."
According to data from the analysis company Morgen & Morgen, the country's currently largest BU insurers include: Allianz, Generali, Axa and Alte Leipziger Versicherung.
In response to a request from SPIEGEL, they still paint a somewhat less dramatic picture.
None of the insurers is holding out the prospect of flat-rate premium increases for BUs and other private supplementary insurance.
"There is still too little information about the course of the disease or long-term consequences," writes a spokeswoman for the Axa.
Nobody confirms that you will be rejected because of a Covid 19 disease.
The rule is that in the event of illness, the application is postponed for a few months in order to wait for the further course.
Generali writes about this: “In this case, we will first postpone the application and wait for recovery.
In the event of a negative test result or complete recovery, we will then accept the application under normal conditions. "
A Covid 19 disease must be stated as part of the risk assessment of all insurers - even if it is not always explicitly requested.
Answering a truthful answer to a possible health check is always important, says Kerstin Becker-Eiselen, insurance expert from the consumer center in Hamburg.
"If you have cheated, for example if not all of the doctor's visits asked for have been given, this can have drastic consequences for you." In the worst case scenario, the insurance company will attack the contract, says Becker-Eiselen.
You would then possibly not receive any benefits from the insurance - although contributions were paid for years.
Hiding Corona is therefore not a solution.
If you want to take out a BU, Papaspyratos from the Association of Insureds advises you to get information from a provider-independent advisor who specializes in personal insurance.
At the same time, he can make an anonymous preliminary inquiry to various insurers.
"That means you discuss your health history together, fill out the questionnaires truthfully and then see which insurance company offers the best conditions."
Nina has not yet given up hope of a contract.
Of course, insurers would have to take long-term corona consequences into account in order to be profitable, she says.
"You should still offer me a BU, albeit a more expensive one."
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