The Rise of Preventative Healthcare in the Indian Insurance Industry, BFSI News, ET BFSI
Amidst the rush and bustle of the modern lifestyle, health care is sadly neglected by many. In India, we are witnessing an alarming increase in non-communicable diseases. Every year, more and more young people contract new disorders. Cases of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disorders are on the rise. According to the ASSOCHAM report titled “Non-Communicable Diseases in India”, published in July 2021, more than 2/3 of people suffering from NCDs are between the ages of 26 and 59. The report pointed out that NCDs increase after the age of 18 and show a jump after the age of 35. To help curb these worrying trends, the insurance industry is working with passion to design solutions that will help pave a solid path towards a healthier India. Many of these health conditions are the result of a modern, stressful and unhealthy lifestyle. To address this problem, two major areas of focus for insurers are to offer wellness propositions to their customers and to design products that incorporate the element of preventative care.
Wellness programs are designed to encourage policyholders to adopt healthy behavior; the general theme is “staying in shape is beneficial”. Policyholders are rewarded for participating in sporting events or marathons, for acquiring healthy lifestyles like going to the gym, practicing yoga, etc. These reward points can be redeemed for health vouchers or can be used to get a discount on the renewal premium; the reward system varies from insurer to insurer and product to product. Additionally, insurers have launched their wellness apps that will help customers track their fitness regimen. The app helps you keep track of your vital signs and suggests the right kind of food and exercise tips. You will have a personal health coach, to guide you and your family members in your mission to a healthier life. The industry also strives to design disease management programs for its customers, which are well-researched and well-designed treatment programs for people with chronic conditions. These programs aim to help the patient manage their chronic diseases, avoid worsening their health problems and monitor their condition.
Besides focusing on the wellness proposition, the other upcoming area of focus for the industry is preventative healthcare products. Early detection of health problems improves the chances of healing and smooth treatment by many folds. It also significantly reduces complications and treatment costs. Preventive health care requires regular health checkups, consultations with doctors, medical examinations or tests; and these preventive measures have a cost. Consultation fees and the cost of pathology tests are increasing every year, gradually taking preventive health care out of the ordinary. As an industry, we understand the underlying needs of our customers and to ensure that rising medical costs do not become an obstacle to their goal of healthy living, insurers have launched products that cover various elements of preventive care. Insurers offer health insurance supplements that cover teleconsultation costs, laboratory examination costs, medical consultation coverage, and even coverage of the annual preventive health check-up, physiotherapy sessions, dietetics and nutritional e-consultation, cashless, at an extremely affordable price, well within the reach of ordinary citizens.
This paradigm shift from reactive or tertiary care to preventive care is going to remain the area of focus for the industry for the foreseeable future, as more and more players begin to offer products that go beyond the realm of standard health insurance compensation products. Artificial intelligence, analytics and digitization will drive this transition to a healthier approach to healthcare. Insurers are working intensively to harness the full potential of data, analytics and artificial intelligence, together with other players in the healthcare ecosystem, to deliver products and services that will provide policyholders with one-stop solutions for all their health needs. The ultimate goal of the insurers will be to provide end-to-end healthcare solutions to their customers and play an instrumental role in building a healthier and fitter India.