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Category: Health Insurance

New Delhi December  14, 2013: A huge medically under-served population, rising medical bills and the future needs of a country, make a fit case for better health insurance coverage.

Industry body FICCI says that the country should aim at providing health insurance cover to at least 80 per cent of Indians by 2020 — an aim it highlights in the Health Insurance Vision 2020 released on Friday.

Antony Jacob, Chief Executive Officer, Apollo Munich Health Insurance, said the unmet medical needs of the country are likely to go up by leaps and bounds by 2020. He estimated that even if the health insurance industry grows at 20 per cent or more by 2020 the uninsured medical costs would run into over $200 billion, that is, Indians would be paying $200 billion in medical costs from their own pockets.

“Potentially a big problem is headed our way,” Jacob said.

T.S. Vijayan, Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, also highlighted a gap between health insurance products and people’s needs. He said that often product offerings are not clearly specified, which lead to claims being rejected. “Insurance is all about settlement of claims. If claims are settled in time the industry has come of age,” he said.

Vijayan said insurance companies need to resolve this mismatch between customers and insurers. Products need to be priced, distributed and serviced properly, he said, adding that products need to be standardised and made more intelligible.

“With public health expenditure in India at a little over one per cent of GDP, out-of-pocket payments are the predominant mechanism for financing healthcare in the country,” the report notes.

It further adds that only about 30 per cent of Indians are covered under health insurance and over 61 per cent of the country’s health expenditure is supported by private spending. Business Line 

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