Irdai chief T S Vijayan today batted for cost standardisation in health insurance, saying the cost should be comparable at least locally or within a city. “There is a need for cost standardisation in the health insurance sector… at least among hospitals. If someone is having some procedure in a hospital, it should be comparable with another hospital in the same city,” the chairman of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) said at Ficci’s Annual Health Insurance conference here. He also laid a premium on insurers making their policies simple and affordable for a wider reach so that these are availed by the needy and the uncovered. The government’s push for health insurance is to go up substantially because healthcare should reach everybody in society and should be inclusive, Vijayan stressed.
He pointed to very high out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare in India — as high as 60 per cent compared to western countries and others in the BRICS bloc — offering a huge opportunity for health insurers. “This is where the opportunity for health insurance companies has been very very high. The industry is growing at a substantially high rate of 27-30 per cent and standalone health insurance companies are growing even faster at 45-46 per cent. The health insurance penetration is 0.2 per cent of GDP, so there lies a huge opportunity,” Vijayan said.
On inclusiveness, he said the government and the Irdai have been working very closely and the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) has been a huge success with states adopting various variations of the scheme.