Health Insurance is far more beneficial than what most of us generally believe. It is probably the only financial tool that helps one live their lives in good health by financially supporting them at the time of medical exigency.
While the Health Insurance industry is not new, the last decade, in particular, has been very significant in terms of the increased penetration of health coverage. While private players played a substantial role, both the Government and the insurance regulators made noteworthy contributions through their targeted initiatives that facilitated this proliferation.
The IRDA Annual Report of 2018-2019 pegged the health insurance reach at 35.5 percent; with ~2.07 crore health insurance policies issued by general and health insurance companies to offer coverage to around 47.20 crore individuals in the country which includes beneficiaries of various group and government schemes. Of the total insured population of our country a massive 75 percent is covered under Ayushman Bharat Yojna, CGHS and other similar government schemes. Only the remaining 25 percent are the individuals who’ve got their health insured with a group or retail policy; leaving the total population covered under retail health insurance is a mere 3 percent.
This statistical data highlights that most Indians are not covered by any form of health insurance. Furthermore, the populace covered under these insurance policies are more often than not covered adequately; keeping in mind the rising healthcare costs and the increasing occurrence of chronic & lifestyle based illnesses.
Very few health insurance buyers take a conscious decision of purchasing an appropriate health cover. Most customers show a purchase intent because it helps save tax or since they’re following footsteps of a family member or after being advised by an acquaintance in their social circle. The merits of providing financial security at the time of need and the lack of awareness around how exorbitant healthcare costs can be is are mostly overlooked.
It is pertinent to opt for a comprehensive and adequate health insurance policy for their inherent benefits. Multiple aids and assistance is wrapped-in with such policies, however, the most prominent relief that they provide is the cost of treating sickness and related hospitalisation in case of several diseases and ailments; at reputed healthcare facilities.
Thus, it is crucial to make a conscious decision and purchase a health insurance policy. They are not just financial instruments or tax-saving options, rather they are life-saving options too. Insurance policies protect the health and savings of the buyer while ensuring quality life for them.
The writer, Ajay Shah, is Director and Head, Retail Sales at Care Health Insurance (Formerly Religare Health Insurance). The views expressed are personal