There has been a surge in demand for health insurance after the breakout of the Novel Coronavirus.
There has been a great rise in health insurance business during the pandemic, besides a huge rise in inquiries. The growing fear over the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has been driving people more towards taking health insurance and medical coverage. Especially, in the last one month, there has been an increase of 15-20% of queries related to health insurance. The health insurance business has reached about 30% growth in a matter of just 25 to 30 days. More and more private labs and private hospitals have been roped in to fight the virus-infected patients. Latest reports have shown that it’s the millennial professionals in the age group 24 to 40 and seniors in their 50s are now looking for medical insurance cover.
A few global past analysis
Usually, it has been seen from past analysis reports that demand for term and health insurance increases during epidemics.
For example, China Life Insurance Company showed a near 40% CAGR in short-term health insurance and 34% CAGR in long-term health, during the period 2003 and 2004, just after SARS impacted China and Singapore.
One of the largest health insurers, Bupa Arabia, witnessed an increase of 44% and 81% year-on-year growth in premiums during 2013 and 2014 after the rapid spread of MERS in Saudi Arabia.
The present scenario
Even today, a large population in India does not have any health insurance (only around 30-35% of the population is covered under any health insurance). This is the right time for the Indian Insurance companies to target the consumers and should aim to take it up to 50% in this year itself. Now, most insurance companies have been focusing on health covers against Covid-19. The treatment for the Covid infection will be covered under existing health insurance policies.
At this time, when people prefer to stay at home and are trying to avoid going out unless and until very necessary and for official purposes, the digital and online offerings by insurers are coming in for great help for those who wish to buy insurance.
Experts say that these will be good growth in the health insurance sector in the near future. Even the government and regulators have said that Corporates, all industrial and commercial establishments, workplaces, offices etc. should also provide mandatory medical insurance coverage to workers as part of the National Directives of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), GOI.
Role on the part of the insurers
The insurers need to devise comprehensive Health insurance products that consumers can understand, know the eligibility conditions, and insurers should be able to provide coverage at an affordable cost. And all policy benefits should be offered by insurers not only for the present situation but for all time. And, of course, the procedure for applying and availing should be easy and fast. There must be value-based payment models that help providers, payers, and patients achieve the best outcomes at the lowest cost.
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