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Insurance Article

The Changing Face of Health Insurance in India

April 16 2017
Health Insurance

Health insurance companies in India are promoting the cause of health management and providing affordable healthcare

Health insurance business in India is amidst an exciting journey. Insurance companies have moved from pure reimbursement models to covering outpatient and domiciliary treatment costs. Health insurance companies are now also taking interest in the wellness of the insured.

From Health Insurance to Health Consciousness

Insurers have begun using wearable technologies. From the number of steps you walk to the weights you lift in the gym and activities like swimming and yoga, everything is tracked through fitness apps. There are rewards to be won for the insured. For instance, insurers offer exciting discounts on renewal premium for walking more.

Insurance companies are now willing to provide health insurance to people with pre-existing illnesses, though the diseases are covered after a waiting period. The waiting period is normally 2 or 4 years for different diseases. Some have lowered the 4-year waiting period to 3 years. Those who contract any of the lifestyle diseases in future are even offered reimbursement of outpatient expenses subject to fulfilment of certain requirements.

Insurance companies have begun to engage with their customers on a regular basis to ensure that they play a positive role in their health outcomes. Insurance companies have an interest in reducing claims. If a customer is able to detect a disease early, the insurance company can save on an expensive procedure for diagnosing the same disease at a later stage. Health insurance would soon become a tool that makes the insured more health conscious.

Challenging Landscape of Health Insurance

Health insurance penetration is still low in India and those insured are largely underinsured. Private health insurance companies cover only about 3% of the population. The rest of the insured (about 28 crore people) are covered under a health insurance scheme of the government.

India is undergoing a massive urbanisation wave. It is estimated that about one crore people migrate to cities and towns every year in search of work. India’s urban population in 2011 was 37.7 crore. If urban India were a separate country, it would be the fourth largest country in the world.

The rapid urbanisation offers enormous opportunities to insurance companies, but will bring along with challenges. Continuous innovations in offerings will be required to bring more of the increasing urban population under mediclaim insurance coverage.

Elements of Evolving Health Insurance

Health insurance going ahead will look completely different and its prime elements will be:

  • Customer experience: Insurance companies will have to create experiences for customers around health insurance products. Wearable devices that track the data points required by insurance companies will be a key driver of customer experience.

  • Product innovation: Insurance products will evolve rapidly as it becomes increasingly important for insurance companies to provide end-to-end solutions and not just health insurance. The products will have to encompass all the stages – prevention, cure, and care.

  • Customer centricity: Product development process is beginning to change. It will no longer be about a product pushed to customers. The process will shift to providing solutions to problems faced or would be faced by customers.

  • Data Analytics: Analytics will become all pervading with the generation of data multiplying and insurance companies getting access to data collected from the insurance industry, government agencies, and the internet.

Related Article:

What Do You Look for When You Compare A Health Insurance Policies?
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