Due to COVID-19, consumer behavior has undergone tectonic shifts, and has transformed millennials' perception about the importance of having health insurance in their financial portfolio.
Given the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic situation and the worldwide panic surrounding it, people now, more than ever before, are concerned about their health and that of their families. Further, the pandemic has become a major wake-up call for people to get health insurance as early as possible to protect themselves, their finances and their loved ones. Today, we can eat well and exercise, but there is always an element of chance that one can catch the virus anytime.
Thus, due to COVID-19, consumer behavior has undergone tectonic shifts, and has transformed millennials’ perception about the importance of having health insurance in their financial portfolio. The sea change ushered by the global pandemic is also affecting their emotional and psychological health, but amid this chaos, the millennials have realized one thing – that health insurance is now a necessity. Hence, in the last few months we have seen an increasing number of millennials buying health insurance policies to safeguard their long-term financial goals, as some unforeseen situations like the recent outbreak of COVID-19 can still occur and will require hospitalization, despite all the proactive efforts taken to be healthy.
Most working millenials have a corporate health insurance cover provided by their organisations. But more often than not this corporate cover is insufficient to cover the entire family, especially given the growing costs of healthcare and rising infectious diseases. Thus, the pandemic has made them realize the meaning of taking care of one’s health and that the right time to invest in health insurance is no later than ‘now’. Moreover, with the COVID-19 cases spiking every day, insurers are seeing many first-time buyers who feel the need for quality healthcare in case of a medical emergency. Both a profound sense of fear of the disease and the pervasive awareness about health plans by the government and private companies have made millennials contemplate getting health coverage as soon as possible. With chaotic lifestyles together with spiralling health care costs and the fear of getting infected in spite of all the precautions, millennials are increasingly voting for health insurance as a necessity.
The last few months have been some of the most uncertain times we’ve ever experienced due to the COVID-19 situation and the pandemic has changed the rules of how we lead our lives and this constant changing and adjusting to the ‘new normal’ has not been easy for anyone. It has rather been remarkably confusing for the millennials with several aspects of their lives now in a frenzy. Before the spread of COVID-19, the millennials were least bothered about having a health plan that covered diseases like Coronavirus (COVID-19). But, with the constant rise in the number of cases, people across age groups are worried about the treatment expenses. Millennials, who are typically the first-time insurance buyers and tend to ignore its purchase, have now understood the importance of being insured early. Now, a major chunk wants a comprehensive health insurance cover. This rising awareness about health protection among millennials, in an underinsured country, is a rare positive outcome of COVID-19.
Since the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India’s (IRDAI) directive to all general and health insurance companies to mandatorily offer a standard benefit-based COVID-19 health insurance product, the Corona Kavach and the Corona Rakshak have seen major takers amongst the millennials. Considering the treatment cost of COVID-19, there has been encouraging enquiries and uptake in the policies. Insurers expect a portion of these buyers to opt for a comprehensive health insurance cover in the long run.
Millennials are an assorted generation and not just in demographics but in experiences, attitudes and influences owing to their constant connectivity and access to information. With the purchasing power, millennials now are making informed choices. So obviously, the common query regarding health insurance is, if treatment for COVID-19 is covered in the policy. These potential insurance plan buyers wish to know details about the critical illness cover and family floater plans as they are more concerned about the elders in their family. They are now investing a lot of time researching the various inclusions and exclusions to be sure that they are choosing the right health insurance plan. At the same time, they have to maintain an equilibrium with their budget as the dangers of salary cuts and joblessness loom large.
Thus, under the purview of the growing COVID-19 outbreak, millennials have understood the fact that a comprehensive health insurance cover is as essential as Roti, Kapda aur Makaan and to provide that added financial cushion in times of unforeseen medical requirements Health Insurance Zaroori Hai.
(By Prasun Sikdar, MD & CEO, ManipalCigna Health Insurance Company Limited)