According to Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) reports, less than 0.3% of the population has health insurance. Even among those who are covered under a health insurance scheme, most individuals are underinsured. This has led to an increasing number of patients paying out of their pockets for their healthcare treatment.
Lack of awareness about the benefits of health cover, lack of knowledge regarding the policy suited for them and extent of coverage required, etc. are primary reasons for the low insurance penetration. Revelations such as these usually occur when individuals are diagnosed with chronic illnesses or have undergone extensive treatment. Being under-informed or misinformed about the existing policy coverage also results in patients paying more for their healthcare than anticipated.
Taking into consideration that a general health insurance policy may fall short for critical illnesses, insurance companies have introduced ailment-specific covers and several add-ons. A cancer-specific product is one such example, where the insured can avail more benefits than a standard health cover, considering the period of treatment is bound to be longer. The insured also has an option to opt for additional cover under an existing policy.
However, such initiatives by insurance companies remain grossly underutilized. Poor awareness and common myths regarding the hassles of policy purchase and claim settlement are the major reasons for this.