For most people in our country, health insurance has always remained low in their priority list as maximum people majorly depend on household income and savings for expenses related to healthcare. This is an important reason why individual health insurance penetration in India is as low as 3 per cent. Moreover, of all those people insured, around 80 per cent have health insurance with much lower sum insured than actually required. With medical inflation rising at the rate of over 50 per cent i.e. from 4.39 per cent in 2017-18 to 7.14 per cent in 2018-19, having a health insurance policy with a higher sum insured has become a basic necessity as it can help you cover any medical emergency.
Meeting Global Standards: Healthcare is heavily regulated in developed economies like the USA, UK and Singapore where standards of health are profoundly believed to influence economic performance and quality of life. This is an important reason why the current laws in these countries ban annual dollar limits on individual health insurance plans for any health benefit. Most health insurance plans in these countries come with unlimited coverage and cannot fall short of the sum insured in case of any medical emergency. The minimum coverage that most policies offer is USD 1 Million which is enough to pay for the most advanced treatment possible at any hospital.
However, most people in India buy health insurance plans with a lower sum insured to save on the premium. Also, there aren’t any regulations in place which make it mandatory for the people to buy health covers with higher sum insured so that they can afford quality healthcare. Often people in our country fall short of coverage when taking advanced treatment for a critical illness. Considering the present scenario, it was important to meet the global standards and introduce higher sum insured health insurance policies at an affordable price. Fortunately, in the last 12 months, many prominent health insurance companies have come up with 1 crore sum insured health plans that are a combination of base plan and super-top policy. These plans are as good as unlimited coverage policies being offered in the USA, UK and Singapore and are in fact much more affordable and easy to buy. The 1 crore sum insured health insurance policies are best to meet both – individual as well family floater insurance needs as the coverage is optimum to take the best available treatment for any ailment at your choice of hospital and city.
The Cost of Health Insurance in India and Other Countries: While the costs of healthcare have become prohibitive over the years, the fact remains that healthcare in India is still much more affordable than in a number of developed countries, like the US. The monthly premium of 1 Crore health insurance plan in India for a 32-year male living in a metro city costs Rs. 600 – Rs 800, while adding spouse to the plan brings the monthly premium to Rs. 1,100 – Rs 1,300.
In the USA, prices of health cover vary depending on the state and county where you live. The average monthly healthcare premium without subsidies in the USA is 18 and under: $152, 18-24 years: $177, 25-34 years: $239, 35-44 years: $303 and 45-54 years: $400. Talking about the price of health insurance in Singapore, on average, people pay around S$1,000 to S$1,500 per annum for a policy that covers medical expenses of up to S$1 million per annum. The average premium for UK private health insurance is £1,435 per year.
Take Note: In the last decade, lifestyle-related such as diabetes and cancer have been on a constant rise in our country. While each one of us continue to make conscious efforts to maintain a healthy lifestyle by regular workout and taking healthy diet, it is equally important to stay financially protected against any unexpected healthcare exigency. It is not always important that one may fall prey to a major illness only due to poor lifestyle, many ailments are hereditary as well. Under such conditions, a health insurance policy with higher sum insured i.e. Rs. 1 Crore would serve as a financial shield against all possible odds.
(The author of the article is Amit Chhabra, Head – Health Insurance, Policybazaar.com)