How Covid 19 has changed health insurance in India
A few months back, our lives just came to a standstill. We witnessed a complete 360-degree U-turn in our lives wherein offices, schools, markets everything got closed, and we were locked inside our homes. And the reason is not unknown to us – it is due to the sudden outbreak of Coronavirus or Covid-19. We never imagined in our dreams that we would ever experience such a scary situation. And this made us realise the importance of a healthy lifestyle, good immunity and hygiene. Along with these, we also started taking our health and financial security seriously, which includes protective investments like life insurance and health insurance.
Needless to mention that the pandemic has affected almost all industries and sectors, including the healthcare ecosystem as well. While it is still not showing any signs of getting diminished, it has become highly essential for us to get a reality check on our life and health insurance plans.
Amidst this pandemic outbreak, products like health insurance have taken the front from the perspective of the insurers and prospective insurance buyers. Insurers are keeping no stones unturned in offering new comprehensive plans and offerings catering to the demand of the policy buyers who are now more concerned about the financially secure themselves and their family in case of an unprecedented situation like this.
Therefore, owing to all these factors of realisation due to pandemic scare, there have been positive changes in the health insurance in India. There is a 30-40 percent surge in health insurance buying across all industry players with certain players experiencing exponential growth than the others. Thanks to the robust digital process in support of the insurance distribution, the buying of such products has become more convenient helping interested policy buyers to make their buying decision.
The insurance industry overall has witnessed a massive shift towards digitalisation with IRDAI allowing insurers to issue policies digitally. This has minimised the efforts, time of both the insurer and the policy buyers and shortened the time of insurance buying and policy issuance as well. Health insurance is no exception.
Digitisation has also fastened and eased out the claim settlement process, improving the overall sentiments of the insurance buyers.
The other factor leading to the growth in the health insurance sector is the change in the mindset of policy buyers. Covid-19 has raised the conscious bar around the significance of protective investment products like life and health insurance products.
However, the picture is not so serene. The sector has indeed experienced significant growth, but the other side of the story also includes the challenges and uncertainties that the industry is dealing with due to the pandemic. For instance, whether the treatment cost surrounding Covid 19 is covered under health insurance or not as most of the insurers are still struggling to predict the impact on the expenses related to the healthcare and claims as well.
Moreover, the health insurance industry is also confused for various claim experiences such as PPE kits, gloves, disinfectants are usually non-payable items, but these form an integral part in case of Covid-19 treatment protocol. Also, there exists a difference in the standardisation of costs and expenses based on the severity of the treatment and between the insurance provider and the hospitals. This further creates confusion related to the expense resulting in the unpredictability in the claim process in some instances.
Considering all these pros and cons of the present situation wherein the health insurance in India has experienced a drastic boost in their business, a complete digital transformation is underway for the sector in terms of customer experience. In the coming few months, we can expect innovatively designed health insurance products catering to different needs of the customers. Also, the entire buying, selling, and policy issuance process could witness a significant change, though the change has been already started.
Buyers usually use to avoid buying health insurance in India probably due to complicated process, confusing features, multiple conditions and more. However, with digitisation in place, the need for user-friendly products will be on the high side. The decision-making process, whether it is for buying the insurance, issuing the policy, or settling claims, everything will be on a fast-track mode with better digital controls. There will be better transparency which will improve customer satisfaction. One such platform is BimaKaro.in which gives a clear and transparent picture to the consumers making their insurance buying experience smooth and hassle-free.