News Room | March 06, 2017
Despite the fact that health insurance is one of the most important things for each and every individual, irrespective of age, sex, and income, it still comes to our notice that less than 1 per cent of elderly in India possesses a health insurance policy. Well, the reason being the exclusion of certain diseases from policies, such as cardiovascular diseases, cataract, cancer, arthritis, osteoporosis and hypertension.
In this context, Mr. Subbiah Viswanath, the COO of Apollo Group of Hospitals explained, senior citizens are reluctant to buy a health insurance policy because of the inadequate insurance coverage. As matter of fact, at times, senior citizens even become aware that their policy is not entitled to a medical coverage after the generation of a soaring hospital bill. Mr. Viswanath also added some instances where people found certain diseases were excluded from their policy after paying heavy premiums for decades. In fact, the unfortunate part of the story is, the older the people get, the tougher it becomes for them to get coverage. And even if they do, they need to pay sky high premiums.
However, the industry experts present us a different reason for the elders not buying health insurance policies. According to them, lack of awareness is the sole reason and not the exclusion from insurers. Insurance Information Bureau (IIB) added to this regard that health insurance penetration in India is below 3.9 per cent on average, including developed states like Tamil Nadu, whereas the figures for elderly are estimated between 0.5 to 0.8 per cent of the population.
However, no matter, who analyses what, exclusions are still a major problem. Therefore, the Supreme Court rulings in recent time have ensured to a large extent that elderly people will not be denied insurance. Lawyer M B Raghavan confirms that an insurer cannot refuse to renew the policy of an elderly nor they can increase the premium amount easily. Puneet Sahni, the head of product development of SBI General Insurance also explains, with this strict code of regulation by the Supreme Court, it is almost not possible for the insurer to increase the premium amount, which definitely adds a good news to the list and gives a hope that more elderly will now buy health insurance policy in near future.