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November 27, 2015
Around 95% of middle-class Indians lack adequate health insurance to cover some of the most common procedures and ailments in the country, according to a report by BigDecisions.com, one of India’s leading personal finance advice platforms.
Consumers above 45 who are at higher risk of health problems and closer to retirement, are least prepared for emergencies as they are under-insured by an average of 69%, reported the Indiainfoline website citing the report. The BigDecisions study is based on data obtained from 10,000 consumers across eight major cities, aged 25 to 45+ and in the income bracket ranging from INR600,000 (US$9,000) to INR3.6 million annually. “An increased appreciation of rapidly rising healthcare treatment costs does not seem to have translated into Indian consumers being better prepared. This is either because we, as consumers, believe that we are a genetically healthy bunch or are unaware of just how expensive medical procedures have become,” said Mr Manish Shah, co-founder and CEO of BigDecisions.
The report further points out that it is getting more expensive to treat some of the most commonly occurring diseases in India. Amid an inflationary environment in India for at least a decade, prices four years ago were not exactly low. The fact that they have again risen, by double digits in some cities, is noteworthy. The costs are expected to increase further. “We analysed 700,000 insurance claims over four years to understand incurred treatments costs, inflationary trends, claims and reimbursements for various groups of ailments within large Indian cities across different hospital types,” said Mr Gaurav Roy, co-founder and COO of BigDecisions. “We further analysed data entered by 10,000 decision makers on our website to understand their current health insurance cover versus their requirements, and found coverage to be abysmal. These findings are derived from an involved decision-making process where many of these users eventually go on to make health insurance purchases with our partners for amounts to make good their shortfall,” he adds.