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Insurance Article

The Rising Need for Health Insurance in India

August 01 2016
Healthcare Treatment

Why people are opting for health insurance cover in the face of rising medical prices

The Indian medical scenario has been undergoing vast changes in recent years. With developmental strides, the cost of healthcare has also rapidly risen. According to a National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report 2014, the cost of healthcare treatment has increased at double-digit pace in the last decade.

Alongside, a World Health Organisation (WHO) report in 2016 revealed that one in four Indians are at a risk of dying due to non-communicable diseases. Therefore, the number of people visiting hospitals across the country has also been on the rise. The NSSO 2014 report says that 44 out of every 1000 Indians end up getting hospitalised in a year. This trend has been observed in both rural as well as urban areas. This also reveals the population's accessibility to healthcare services — both public and private.

However, the quality of healthcare services meted out in private and public establishments differ greatly, with most public healthcare centres having poor infrastructure and inadequate medical expertise. So even if public healthcare services cost lesser compared to their private counterpart, most people prefer to visit private hospitals in anticipation of better treatment quality.

This, however, does not bode well for the massively uninsured population of India. Over 85% of Indians in rural areas and 82% of urban residents have no employer-provided or state-funded health expenditure support.

Role of Health Insurance

A health insurance policy helps to cushion the high prices and provides financial protection in case of any serious accident or sickness. According to an ICICI Lombard survey on health insurance and wellness, 85% respondents believe that health insurance benefits them by combating rising medical expenses. 86% respondents feel it provides protection for their lives.

Insurance companies have come up with plans to suits every individual's needs, such as the family floater plan and health booster plans. With facilities like cashless hospitalisation, it also provides timely assistance during medical emergencies.

The Financial Benefits

Premium paid towards health insurance for self, family and parents not only provide financial cover in case of medical emergencies but also reduce tax liability. Section 80D of the Income Tax Act provides deduction for medical insurance premium and thus lowers your taxable amount.

80% survey respondents believe that a health insurance policy provides tax benefits, while 75% believe it is a source of investment.

Aiming for Sustainable Health

Some insurance companies promote the idea of healthier living and provide incentives to customers who adopt a healthier lifestyle and adopt proactive healthcare improvement initiatives. ICICI Lombard offers Wellness programs as part of its health insurance policy.

A well-planned health insurance strategy helps to combat the worry of achieving top-notch health care in times of need, and it does so without putting a dent in your finances.

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