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Emerging Trends in Health Insurance Policies

Indian Health Insurance industry is the fastest-growing segment in the non-life insurance space. The health insurance industry witnessed a 24% market share in the entire non-life insurance sector. The growth of the health insurance industry in India is largely boosted by technological advancement and growing awareness among the people on health care. That’s why, in the present day, people consider the health insurance plan as an essential buy. As time flies, the health insurance industry has enjoyed continuous growth as well as faced some changes in terms of the offering. There are some critical trends in the health insurance industry that have directed to its development in a positive direction.

IRDAI’S New Regulations

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority in India (IRDAI) keeps issuing new regulations so that the health insurance companies focus more on the public interest instead of making more profits. Also, in this period of the COVID19 pandemic, everyone faces a number of health issues, and most people started moving towards health insurance plans. To secure the welfare of the people, IRDAI issued health insurance guidelines (amended up to 12th May 2020). 

Some of the essential points are consolidated as under:

  1. The insurer either has to develop mechanisms or give some incentives to the policyholders for their early entry, continued renewals and favorable claim experience, 
  2. Preventive and wellness habits: The insurance companies have to disclose such mechanisms in their prospectus and the policy document, by complying with the norms specified under Product Filling Procedure Guidelines.
  3. The insurer cannot accept a policy renewal before 90 days of the due date of the policy.
  4. The premium charge for health insurance to senior citizens should be fair, justified, and transparent.
  5. All insurance companies should provide coverage for one or more systems covered under “AYUSH treatment”; which includes Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy.

Cloud Computing (IT)

Cloud computing is playing a very crucial role in the Indian Healthcare sector. It can be an effective way to connect and synchronize the entire healthcare system. The patient, hospitals, clinics, dispensaries, laboratories, doctors, pharmacists, medical consultants, and counselors, all are part of this system. It can not only improve the quality of healthcare services but also be beneficial for patients because of the flexibility and convenience that offers by the system. The cloud is basically a distributed database structure for the insurance industry.

Cloud computing technology can be used to keep a record of health information of patients for more extended periods and make it available to health professionals whenever required due to its distributed nature. Governments and NGOs generally adopt this technology while private sectors uses cloud technology for transparency and effectiveness in their work. Cloud computing facilitates low-cost capital expenditure, ease of work from any place, control and security of documents, etc. These features make it more beneficial for the healthcare sector.

Blockchain in the Health Insurance Industry

Blockchain technology has become quite famous in the last few years as the technology underpinning Bitcoins and other crypto currencies. The technology is used to record information in such a way that it is impossible to change, hack, or cheat the system. The usage of blockchain technology in the healthcare system universalizes health data. It makes all the stakeholders accountable for their actions. On the other side, it boosts the trust between insurers and policyholders, healthcare providers, and patients. While the Indian government has been skeptical about the use of crypto currencies, it does appreciate the larger role that Blockchain plays in offering a plethora of government services. Most data intensive tasks with a focus on data integrity have Blockchain as a natural choice.

“Ayushman Bharat Yojana” is India’s most ambitious project which offers the “National Health Protection Scheme” (NHPS) that will be a way to achieve the goal of Universal Healthcare (UHC) by 2030. The implementation of NHPS would be facing several challenges that include funding allocation, service delivery, patient selection, and sustainability. Blockchain technology simplifies the process and is a more appropriate option. It has the potential to converge information safely between the government, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance providers. This will help both patients to get better treatment and the system to reduce their costs.

Online Sales Channels

The selling of insurance through agents mostly led to unfair practices. But the usage of the online platform sharply reduces the selling of insurance policies through agents; although they continue to be critical. The online sales of insurance not only saves time, money, and efforts but also makes the whole process of buying and selling more transparent between the insurer and the policyholder. The impact of online sales channels can be analyzed by the fact that the online purchase of health insurance policies has already exceeded the share of other insurances.

Insurance Awareness Campaigns

Health insurance penetration is well below desirable rates in the Indian context. The significant factors of this unawareness among people are illiteracy and access to valid information. 

The percentage of people having health insurance plans in rural areas is much lower than in urban areas. 

The use of technology and effective online distribution channels have helped improve the penetration and reach of the insurance industry. Additionally, the insurance companies launch innovative products by optimal pricing and coverage such that it gains the attention of the large population. The participation of medical and paramedical professionals in the awareness programs can improve awareness and knowledge for the insurance product at the ground level.

An industry that evolves forever

These leading insurance trends progress gradually over time. But the ultimate aim of these efforts is to improve the condition of the health insurance industry. The digitalization of the health insurance industry brings transparency and accountability in the process of buying and selling of health insurance plans. To protect the interest of the general public, IRDA issues new regulations from time to time or modifies existing ones, so that people will get the most suitable insurance plan as per their unique requirements and budget.

FAQs: Emerging Trends in Health Insurance Policies

What is the best health insurance for parents aged 60+ in India?

Insurance for a person who is 60+ will cost you exceptionally high amounts, especially when it comes to health issues. Please keep in mind the following:

1. Premium(s) will be higher than other age groups.
2. Pre-existing conditions will not be covered initially until 1-2 years (waiting period) and then covered partially, i.e. 30%, 50% or so (with few exceptions)
3. There could be so many "Ifs & Buts" in these policies which you should know before taking your parents to a panel hospital.

What are cancer health insurance plans?

Cancer insurance is a type of health insurance to cover the costs related to cancer treatment and mitigate the related risks. Cancer insurance helps in meeting the expenses that need to be incurred by individuals on cancer treatment, thereby ensuring that policyholders have financial support when they most need it. Importance of Cancer insurance has improved in recent years with an increase in treatment costs and increased competition leading to competitive pricing from the insurance companies.

It further reduces the stress levels and the financial burden in case of an uncertain medical condition. Since cancer can strike anybody regardless of lifestyle and family history, it is highly recommendable that you purchase cancer insurance so that your budget is not distorted in case of cancer.

Which is the best health insurance for cancer patients in India?

There are various insurance plans available in India that covers cancer and other terminal diseases. It offers covers to people ranging from 6 years to 65 years of age (which is maximum for any company) with a sum assured ranging from Rs.10 lakhs to Rs.50 lakhs. It covers all the stages of cancer and offers benefits of stage-wise lump-sum payout and also for check-ups. The policyholder has an option to receive a monthly income benefit also. The best feature of the plan is that it promises a low premium amount with tax benefit under Section 80D and offers a discount of 5% if the policy is bought online. Expenditure on the treatment of such diseases involves huge outlays. It is advisable to get insurance against cancer and other terminal diseases to protect your finances more effectively.

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