While the overall health insurance penetration increased to around 35% in 2018, there has been indeed a significant surge in demand for policies since the outbreak of the pandemic. However, majority of Indian’s are still not covered under health insurance.
Of those covered, three-fourth are covered under various Government schemes, such as Ayushman Bharat Yojna, CGHS and so on. Around one-fourth of the insured were covered under group or individual health insurance policies; with individual health insurance penetration being 3%.
Speaking about the challenge, Mr. Ajay Shah, Director & Head – Retail Sales, Care Health Insurance said, “Over the past decade, owing to combined efforts from governments, the regulator, and the private sector, the reach of health coverage has increased significantly. However, data clearly indicates that most Indians are not covered by any form of health insurance. Even in the insured population, most people do not have adequate health cover compared to rising cost of healthcare and increasing prevalence of various diseases.”
One of the biggest challenges faced by the sector in increasing the reach and acceptability of health insurance is the lack of awareness, although given the ongoing pandemic there has been some increase in acceptability of health insurance.
There is a need to increase awareness amongst people that health insurance has more benefits than what’s appears. Speaking about the benefits, Mr. Ajay Shah, said, “In India, most people buy health insurance not because of a conscious motivation to cover their health, but majorly because of it either being a basic input for financial planning or because they end-up following someone in their family or social circle who have recently opted for a health cover. However, with changing lifestyle dynamics and recent pandemic, we are even more cognizant of the importance of a health insurance. With multiple advantages, it is vital that individuals opt for a health insurance as a way to safeguard their health and finances.”
There are several benefits of having an adequate and comprehensive health insurance cover; the most important ones are as follows.
Protecting your health against increasing cost of healthcare. Most importantly, health insurance covers the cost of treating an illness and related hospitalisation across a host of diseases and ailments, at a quality healthcare facility.
Protect your savings. A critical aspect of health insurance is that it fundamentally saves your savings. The treatment cost incurred due to a sudden illness can end-up hurting your precious savings. Giving comparatively a small premium for the health cover can protect your savings by addressing the cost of treatment due to sudden need for treatment and hospitalisation.
A long term health decision. Another aspect to be mindful about is that the older we get in opting for a health insurance policy, the higher is the applicable premium. Whereas, if a health insurance is bought at a younger age, the comparative premium is significantly lower and one, while being in a state-of-good-health, can complete their respective wait-periods, which for certain diseases can be from 2 to 4 years. Furthermore, like everything around us there is significant inflation in the cost of healthcare. Tomorrow, the healthcare service that we can perhaps easily afford today may comparatively become much more expensive.
Tax saving benefits. Another obvious reason why people end-up choosing a health policy, is that it helps them in tax savings.
It is therefore essential that people consciously consider purchasing a health insurance policy not only as a financial instrument or as a tax saving option but also as an avenue to protect their health, savings, and quality of life.
Care Health Insurance has been offering health insurance products to corporate employees, individual customers and for financial inclusion. The health insurer, while primarily ensuring customers’ access to quality healthcare has broadened the spectrum of overall ‘Care’ beyond hospitalization, to include preventive health check-ups, wellness, doctor consultations, diagnostics and home care. The organisation works with the guiding principle of ‘Care’ being the fulcrum of all its customer-centric initiatives in the areas of product design, claims administration, technology development and customer service.