‘Health Advisor portal is targeted towards removing information asymmetry in healthcare’

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Updated: May 10, 2016 11:41 AM

ICICI Lombard General Insurance recently launched a web-enabled platform called ‘Health Advisor to gauge the quality of healthcare treatment at over 1000 hospitals across primary, secondary and tertiary segments. The insurance company has made this possible by sourcing feedback and ratings from customers who had availed treatment at these hospitals. Amit Bhandari, Head, Health and Agri Insurance, Underwriting and Claims reveals more about the initiative and its objectives, in conversation with Raelene Kambli

ICICI Lombard General Insurance recently launched a web-enabled platform called ‘Health Advisor to gauge the quality of healthcare treatment at over 1000 hospitals across primary, secondary and tertiary segments. The insurance company has made this possible by sourcing feedback and ratings from customers who had availed treatment at these hospitals. Amit Bhandari, Head, Health and Agri Insurance, Underwriting and Claims reveals more about the initiative and its objectives, in conversation with Raelene Kambli

What is the rationale behind launching such a platform? How would this initiative add value to your health insurance business?

201605ehm13ICICI Lombard Healthcare Advisor is an initiative that is in line with our philosophy of offering end-to-end solutions to consumers. It aims to increase transparency in healthcare and enable consumers to make informed decisions. We have launched this unique platform that is open to all consumers (and not restricted to ICICI Lombard customers) purely to meet the latent demand of consumers who seek information on the right hospital to approach for their treatment. Being a health insurer, we found that hundreds of customers were calling us to understand which hospitals to approach for treatment. We realised that there was a clear gap and there was no platform available to help consumers on this front. Hence, we took up the onus of introducing a robust information and rating platform that consumers can use to find out the right hospitals for specific treatment in their vicinity. Having said this, we hope that consumers, equipped with the right information will approach the right category of hospitals e.g. tertiary hospital only in case of critical ailments and not simple ailments e.g. fever. This will in the long term help bring healthcare expenditure under check, which will positively impact health insurance premium and ensure a win-win situation for customers and insurers.

How will you utilise this platform to increase penetration of your health insurance product?

Yes certainly! In the long run we will increase our penetration of health insurance products.

The health advisor portal is targeted towards removing information asymmetry in healthcare. It’s accessible to both insured and non-insured.  Apart from providing information and hospital reviews/ratings, we believe that the platform will be a critical source of information and advice for consumers. We expect that it will drive penetration as more and more consumers understand and get convinced of the need to buy health insurance.

What are the five things that customers usually search for?

Consumers primarily search for the hospital where they intend to avail treatment. Deep diving into this behaviour, consumers look for proximity of the hospital, quality of treatment, cost of treatment, doctors associated with the hospital and the infrastructure in place.

Your website gives the service rates of the hospitals, have you thought about also providing your rates to give a fair chance to customers to make their choice?

The website provides the average rate of treatment for specific ailments at various hospitals. This is an indicative figure that is intended to help consumers get an understanding of the expense that one is expected to incur at the said hospital. Having said this, the actual cost will depend on the severity of ailment, doctor, implants if any etc. When it comes to providing our rate, the same is a function of the hospital rates given that they are the healthcare providers and the insurer merely reimburses or pays for the expenses incurred on the treatment. We do push hospitals to offer cost effective treatment which gets communicated to the customer at the appropriate time.

raelene.kambli@expressindia.com

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