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Health Insurance Coverage

Low health insurance coverage a matter of concern

Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) has been regularly expressing concern about the low levels of health insurance in the country, especially in the face of increasing medical costs. Thus, there is a huge potential for health insurance to grow, and more people to come under health insurance coverage.

Out of the total expenditure of Rs 3 lakh crore on health, spending in hospitalization accounts for about Rs 1 lakh crore. Out of this, only 6000 cr of the expenses was covered by health insurance. This implies that a majority section of the population does not have medical insurance

On the other hand, insurers are being very careful about the cost incurred on claims. The claims ratio need to be maintained at reasonable levels for the business to be profitable. Health insurance companies have begun to do profiling so that they can charge differential premiums depending on the profile of the insured. For most of the last century, health insurance under writing norms were quite primitive in the country.

The government has started a pan India scheme for providing free medical insurance, including people in the rural areas. Though the scheme has become a success, insurers have been a bit alarmed at the high claims ratio in these schemes. With NREGA being successfully implemented across the country, it is expected that it will provide a fillip to health insurance.

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