India: IRDAI plans single digital platform for all health insurance offerings

| 01 Sep 2022

The INR600-billion (US$7.3-billion) Indian health insurance market has the potential to register a 30%-35% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) as against the CAGR of 19% in the past five years, Debashish Panda, Chairman of Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has said.

Stating that better awareness, deeper penetration and innovative health insurance products can help achieve this goal, he said the authority is in the process of facilitating that growth through a new all-in-one insurance platform – BIMA SUGAM – that allows customers to access products of all insurance companies in one place. The digital platform will also be used for servicing and settling claims.

Speaking at the 16th Health Insurance Summit 2022 organised by supported apex industry chamber CII recently in New Delhi, Panda says health insurance for all should be the target for all stakeholders before India commemorates its 100th year of independence in 2047. 

“We have already initiated amendments of regulations in the sandbox that would help in innovation and experimentation. This would also give an impetus to start-ups who are coming up with innovative solutions.

“Going forward, parametric insurance products need to come up, OPD services need to be covered, treatments currently under exclusion should be included and distribution inefficiencies need to be addressed,” he said.

In addition, Panda said “awareness, accessibility and affordability” were critical in increasing the coverage and reinforcing the trust of policyholders.

He also stressed the need to work around optimising cost and the need for a comprehensive health insurance coverage for end-to-end healthcare services and include pre-existing illnesses. Health insurers need to work closely with healthcare providers to brainstorm new and comprehensive products for geriatrics care, and pre-existing diseases, he added. 

Another major challenge that needs to be addressed is the pricing of products that makes it unaffordable for many parts of the society. He mentioned that IRDAI and National Health Authority (NHA) have formed a Joint Working Group on modality of seamless settling of claims. 

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Vinod Paul, member, NITI Aayog says that one of the biggest developments in the last few years has been the launch of PMJAY that has involved 35.6 million hospitalisation and has disbursed INR420 billion. He emphasised the need to design right products for the population, covering elderly and pre-existing diseases with minimum exclusions, according to Fortune India.