There is a wide gap in healthcare delivery for the insured and for the total population. Health insurance is majorly dominated by government schemes. The private health insurers have expanded rapidly in tier-1 and tier-2 cities with products centred around ‘in-patient reimbursements’ and ‘cashless payments’.
By Amit Chhabra
Since the last few decades, healthcare delivery and financing in India has shared key landmarks with general insurance. Despite constant progress, the current state of India’s healthcare outcome leaves much to be desired. A strong synergy between private and public players, complementing each other is a major objective. Insurers need to carefully design and implement their strategies and products in a 1.3 billion-strong population segmented in various divisions.
Gap in healthcare delivery
There is a wide gap in healthcare delivery for the insured and for the total population. Health insurance is majorly dominated by government schemes. The private health insurers have expanded rapidly in tier-1 and tier-2 cities with products centred around ‘in-patient reimbursements’ and ‘cashless payments’. New business models of delivering care are evolving via the virtualisation of processes and business models, with consumer-centric mobility paradigms gaining ground. It is no longer a tactic but is core to business success. Medical diagnostics, Artificial Intelligence and Big Data are sparking disruptive innovations that are redefining care paradigms.
With data explosion, digitalisation and the emergence of Internet of Things (IoT), primarily the connected human, nowhere in the world are the prospects of integrating technology and data higher than in the Indian health insurance sector, with a large transformation opportunity presented by a largely underinsured population, increasing health consciousness, and the availability of data and digital advancements. Insurance companies will be able to leverage data and digital solutions to engage more with their customers, moving away from simple products to solutions, and from being just a payer to a partner. This will include health insurers leveraging data analytics and partnerships to encourage customers to eat healthy, exercise appropriately, and perform regular check-ups by nudging their customers at the right time.
Technology will be a key enabler and will serve support differentiation among various players. Disruptive emerging technologies such as cloud computing, mobility solutions, telemedicine, and social computing are poised to enter mainstream operations. Experts also believe that next year will be dedicated to wellness wherein most insurers will try to promote wellness by introducing new and customer-centric wellness products.
Insurers are expected to come up with new-age health insurance plans that increase fitness levels amongst the masses. An important objective of these wellness plans will be to focus on building an outcome-based preventive structure in order to promote a healthy lifestyle. Another important focus area will be developing new products that help consumers stay prepared for any kind of specific illness.
The year 2020 will also witness a significant rise in products that cater to the diagnostic needs of the customers. Also, the ultimate focus of the health insurance will be middle-class families as the industry will develop affordable plans to bring health insurance within their reach.
Even the standard health insurance plan proposed by the Irdai is expected to go live. It will cover both pre and post hospitalisation expenses and will definitely change how the health insurance market behaves. The future is all about data. Digital technology is evolving rapidly and becoming so affordable that insurers will figure out different ways to innovate and engage with their customers.
The writer is business Head, Health insurance, Policybazaar.com