Irda To Announce Separate Guidelines For Health Insurance Soon

THE INSURANCE Regulatory Authority of India (IRDA) has said that separate guidelines to promote sustainable growth of the Health Insurance Plans would be announced soon. Alongside, the Authority is backing industry initiatives in standardizing health insurance documents to ensure better comprehension of policies by the customers.

Addressing a conference on ‘Sustainable Health Insurance – Need of the Hour’ organized by FICCI here today, C S Rao, chairman IRDA, said: “While the infrastructure of the health unit in IRDA is being beefed up to meet the growing needs and expectations of the health insurance business, the General Insurance Council, comprising all non-life insurers, was working towards a consensus on a uniform definition of ‘pre-existing diseases’ which is open to a lot of interpretations and grievances. Such standardization would help the insured by minimizing ambiguity and also by better comparability of health insurance products.”

Responding to the concerns expressed by Habil Khorakiwala, president, FICCI, R. R. Shah, member-secretary, Planning Commission, pointed out that the government was concerned at the mismatch between the low level of infrastructure with the private sector, which was today providing 80 per cent of health care needs of the people. Such infrastructure was mainly in the public domain, he said and foresaw a major role for the private sector in manning government referral and district hospitals for delivery of health care.

He said the business model and health care news that the private sector may have to follow would be one that is based on low margins and high volumes, as the paying capacity of people was extremely low, particularly in rural areas.

Shah said for determining health insurance premia to be paid by the well to do, “We would have to think and work out a price discovery mechanism”. As regards targeting the rural poor, the beneficiaries of government intervention could be the families covered by the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, he pointed out.

Shivinder Mohan Singh, chairman, FICCI Health Services Committee and CEO & MD, Fortis Health Care Ltd. & Escorts Heart Institute & Research Centre Ltd. and Shikha Sharma, chairperson, FICCI Insurance & Pensions Committee and MD & CEO, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company, shared their perspective on the ground realities impinging the health insurance business that is slated to grow from the current level of US$ 30 billion to $ 90 billion in less than a decade.

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