Health insurance buying should evolve


The health insurance industry has witnessed an overhaul in the past few years and its benefits have become axiomatic amongst people. The recent guidelines by IRDAI such as providing health insurance coverage for mental health-related illnesses and HIV, standardization of health insurance products, giving the flexibility to select the claim amount and others, will allow people to enjoy greater benefits of health insurance and eventually leading a quality and healthy life. There are positive reforms from the industry standpoint, and everyone is looking forward to the next phase of growth. 

However, under-penetration remains a key concern area as only about 20% of the Indian populace is covered under any form of health cover. While developed nations like the UK and the US have taken a leapfrog in providing health insurance for people, India still needs to reach important milestones in this segment. We are on the right pathway and some pragmatic steps can help to overcome the challenges in bringing a larger segment of people under health cover.

Apart from raising more awareness, we need to implement innovative, advanced and customized methods to engage people based on their lifestyle, habits and evolving social intercourse. Today consumers, especially our millennials want products that understand them and meet their requirements based on preferences. 

More than half of India’s population is under 25 years old, which essentially means that India is home to about 600 million young customers. This segment primarily comprises of professionals who are settling in their first job and will probably invest for the first time in health insurance. Such consumers typically look for quick, affordable and simpler methods to understand health insurance propositions to manage their specific health needs. A bite-size product can be a starting point for these people, who are looking for digital, on-the-go products with a lower premium. The concept of bite-size products is not new and has been prevalent in the FMCG sector as sachet products. It has the potential to become instrumental in bringing the millennial population under health coverage.

It will gradually become the choice of millennials and young working professionals, keeping their objectives on priority when it comes to ensuring their health. The salient features of such products also make the whole process of buying health insurance simpler, instant and affordable for consumers who want to complete digital solutions and minimal documentation from onboarding to claim settlement. 

Reasons why bite-sized health insurance products can be your first health insurance purchase:

Easy to understand – Bite-sized insurance products are not complex to understand as no paperwork is involved which at times baffles the consumers due to the jargonized terminology. Unlike normal health insurance plans where one needs to sit down with an advisor to understand the nuances of the product, bite-size products are far simpler to understand. Hence, the availability of such kind of products will encourage first-time buyers to purchase health insurance, which many avoid due to the intricacies involved. 

Easy to buy and claim – Various bite-sized products are being sold at online digital platforms. These platforms allow a very convenient and organized process to purchase the product. For instance, Max Bupa’s HospiCash product buying journey on the MobiKwik app is completely digital and involves just 2-clicks. Moreover, the claim process is simple and quick, thus making the customer experience completely seamless.

Easy on pocket – Bite-sized health insurance products are easy on the pocket. One can buy these policies at unimaginably affordable prices. The premiums for such products are as nominal as Rs 49, making it easier for people to buy them without a second thought. 

Designed for specific yet relevant needs – Bite-sized health insurance products play an important role when it comes to specific health needs. Majorly all bite-sized products are targeted towards specific diseases such as vector-borne, cancer, etc. Such products also offer benefits like pre-defined daily allowance during hospitalization. There is a niche segment of the audience that can be targeted with such products, but it will certainly help the millennials to live a healthy life and be prepared against unforeseen medical emergencies. 

Bite-sized health insurance products, as the name suggests, are quick, affordable and cheaper. However, one must not forget that the role of a comprehensive health insurance plan remains at par, as these products can be touted as quick yet not all-inclusive. These can only be bought by an individual, and one should not necessarily replace them with a comprehensive health insurance plan which secures an entire family.

(The writer is MD & CEO, Max Bupa Health Insurance) 

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