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Private Health Insurers Cover More People; Lag in Premium

April 15, 2014

Private-sector health insurers cover nearly 65 percent of Indians who have health insurance but are beaten by state-owned insurers which command 61 percent of health insurance premiums, according to a study by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), an apex trade association in India.

In terms of distribution channels, individual agents bring in the majority of medical insurance business with a 72.9-percent share, said the study which is titled “Health Insurance in India: A review”. However, direct business is the major contributor in terms of premium collection with about 37-percent share, followed by individual agents (31.6 percent) and brokers (21.4 percent).

Referrals constitute a meagre 0.1 percent in terms of both the number medical insurance policies sold as well as insurance premiums collected.

Assocham Secretary General, Mr D S Rawat, said that private health insurance will continue to grow in terms of covering the non-vulnerable, the middle class and higher income segments of the population that can afford to purchase it, reported the Press Trust of India.

The study added that addressing the coverage gap is a huge challenge for the insurance industry because of low public spending on health along with high levels of informal or unorganised labour, a large dispersed rural population, high levels of poverty and few providers serving the poor.

The study suggested that the government’s priorities in healthcare financing must be to meet the basic objectives of affordability, reach and quality of services.

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