MUMBAI: Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) Chairman Subhash Khuntia on Thursday urged health insurance providers to develop disease-specific products and also focus on providing preventive care to policyholders.
He emphasised that health insurers should come out with innovative products based on the need of the public.
“I would urge insurers to develop more disease-specific products like for diabetics, heart or kidney related issues,” Khuntia said at a health insurance summit organised by CII.
Under such focussed products, insurance companies can bring together medical experts to make aware policyholders on steps to be taken to prevent various diseases, he said.
Khuntia said currently a large proportion of health insurance is bought by the age group of 40-50 years and insurers should try to attract the young population.
“If more young people come in then they will get protected against ailments and at the same time since most of them may not fall sick frequently, they will contribute to the (health insurance) kitty which will help the other population,” Khuntia said.
Another way to attract the young population to buy health insurance is to have outpatient care as part of the health insurance system.
“For too long, we have concentrated on tertiary care or hospitalisation, but it should now move to primary and secondary care, the outpatient care and more so to have preventive care,” he said.
Insurance companies can introduce the concept of family physician, annual health check-up, vaccination as part of the health insurance policy, he suggested.
“This would result in early detection and with simple treatments things can be remediated,” he said.
Khuntia asked health insurers to tap medium and small industries or informal sector in the country where the opportunity is vast.
He urged insurance companies to tap markets in smaller cities, towns and rural areas where there is ample scope for health insurance.
He also emphasised on having collaboration between various stakeholders in the health ecosystem to have a protocol for treatment of diseases.
“If we have proper treatment protocols for various ailments, and the health providers adhere to such protocols then the insurance companies and the policyholders and the health providers will have the unanimity in terms of type of treatments that is taking place.
“Now there is a perception among the public that the private sector health care facilities do unnecessary diagnostic tests,” he said.
Khuntia said most of the grievances received by the regulator are related to health insurance and asked the sector to improve their grievances redressal processes.