Why Should Government Make Health Insurance Mandatory in India?


Why Should Government Make Health Insurance Mandatory in India?

The Healthcare Federation of India ‘NATHEALTH’ said that the Government should make the health insurance mandatory for all the citizens and give healthcare a priority sector status.

Today, medical treatment is expensive and inflation is also rising, so don’t you think a trip to a hospital would make your financial problems worse when there is already a huge financial pressure on each of us? It is frequently heard that the Indian Health System must ameliorate and adapt to the new order, but we struggle to define what actually the order should be.

What the Government has done in the last few years is to launch a scheme called Rashtriya Swastha Bima Yojana (RSBY), which provides insurance of Rs.30000 to those who are below the poverty line. 75% of the premium is paid by the Central Government and the rest 25% is paid by the State Government.

What actually I see happening is that some States are providing insurance schemes trying to engulf more and more people, but I fail to see a Germany style mandatory insurance or USA style Obamacare.

Currently, only 4% of the population in India has medical insurance cover. So, how do we increase the health insurance penetration in a country which holds the 2nd largest population of the world? There is a pressing need to resolve this Sisyphean issue, and thus, IRDA is constantly urging the insurers to increase the penetration of health insurance beyond the SEC A1 and A2.

“The major reason for the low penetration of Health Insurance is that it is currently optional”, said Arvind Lal, the President of NATHEALTH.

Reasons Why Health Insurance Should be Mandatory?

* The Thriving BPL Population

Due to the health issues, many people in India end up becoming a part of BPL Section. The National Health Policy stated that every year, almost 63 million people face poverty due to major health problems. This is because when any health crisis hits them, they get compelled to use their entire savings due to the high healthcare costs. Thus, buying a health insurance is a much cheaper option. Providing health insurance mandatorily to the population belonging to BPL would help in securing their futures.

* Rising Cost of Healthcare

In India, the healthcare cost is prohibitively costly. Every year the cost of a particular treatment increases by 12% on an average which is more than the regular inflation of 7%. The skyrocketing cost of the healthcare services has made it inaccessible for a considerable part of the population. Moreover, a substantial part of healthcare services is owned by the private sector, thus making the situation more critical.

* Learn from the Developed Countries

If someone is doing better, then it is always good to learn from them. There are countries in the world that have already made health insurance mandatory and the citizens are hugely benefitted by it. Switzerland has a compulsory health insurance for all, irrespective of age or the medical condition of the citizens. The USA launched the Obamacare under which the senior citizens and the poor are insured by the Government. Moreover, Germany also has a mandatory health insurance.

Now, whether we adopt a socialized medicine system or any health insurance tax mechanism, it is left for the policymakers to decide. The stats of the Health Insurance in India need to change drastically, and soon because unless healthcare becomes accessible and affordable to all, India can never truly develop. Time has come for those Health Insurance needs to be recognized as a speciality field of business in India as well.

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