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2047 Vision of Insurance for All: A United Push for Health Insurance Coverage

2047 Vision of Insurance for All: A United Push for Health Insurance Coverage

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India’s (IRDAI) vision of “Insurance for All by 2047” aligns perfectly with the government’s push for wider healthcare access. This ambitious goal can be achieved through a powerful combination of public and private initiatives, each leveraging their unique strengths.

Government’s Push for Insurance 

  • Expanding the Reach of Ayushman Bharat

2024 witnessed a significant boost for India’s flagship health insurance scheme, Ayushman Bharat. A 10% increase in annual allocation, reaching ₹7,500 crore, shows the government’s commitment. Furthermore, the proposed inclusion of ASHA and Anganwadi workers demonstrates the program’s expanding reach.  Ayushman Bharat PMJAY provides crucial coverage of up to ₹5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary hospitalization, a lifeline for over 500 million beneficiaries from economically weaker sections.

  • Strengthening the Social Safety Net

Beyond Ayushman Bharat, the government offers social security schemes like Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) to further strengthen the safety net, particularly in rural areas. PMSBY provides accidental death and disability coverage for a nominal premium of ₹20 per year, while PMJJBY offers life insurance coverage for  ₹436 annually. These schemes ensure financial support during unforeseen circumstances.

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  • State-Specific Initiatives – Filling the Gaps

Several states have taken the initiative to bridge any gaps left by national schemes.  Programs like Aarogyasri (Andhra Pradesh & Telangana), Mukhyamantri Amrutum Yojana (Gujarat), and Tamil Nadu CMCHIS provide additional health insurance coverage to their residents.

Trends in the Insurance Industry 

  1. Focus on Value-Added Services:  Insurers are going beyond just medical coverage to attract customers. They’re offering benefits like:
  • Lifelong renewability: Plans that guarantee coverage even if you develop a chronic illness.
  • Wellness benefits: Regular health checkups, gym memberships, or discounts on healthy food options.
  • Improved customer service: 24/7 helplines, easy claim settlement processes, and online portals for managing policies.
  1. Rising Demand for Affordable Options:  While comprehensive plans exist, insurers are recognizing the need for budget-friendly options:
  • Micro health insurance plans: These offer lower coverage limits but cater to the large segment of the population seeking basic hospitalization coverage.
  • Disease-specific plans: Focus on covering specific illnesses like cancer or heart disease at a lower premium compared to comprehensive plans. 
  1. Technological Innovation: The industry is embracing technology to improve efficiency and accessibility:
  • Telemedicine consultations: Allowing policyholders to consult doctors virtually for minor ailments.
  • AI-powered claim processing: Faster and more streamlined claim settlements through automation.
  • Mobile apps for policy management: Easy access to policy details, claim submissions, and renewals through smartphones.
  1. Expanding Insurance Penetration: Despite notable advancements, significant challenges persist in India’s rural insurance landscape. While the government continues its steadfast commitment to social schemes, there remains a vast untapped opportunity for comprehensive coverage and financial security for all rural residents

NBFCs and Business Correspondents: Bridging the Gap

Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) are crucial in expanding insurance penetration through Business Correspondents (BCs). Here’s how:

  • Last-Mile Connectivity: BCs act as local representatives, bringing government insurance products closer to rural communities. As of April 2023, significant progress has been made with over 16.2 crore enrolments in PMJJBY (Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana) and 34.2 crore enrolments in PMSBY (Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana).
  • Literacy Initiatives: BCs educate residents about the benefits of insurance, dispelling myths like ‘health insurance is only for hospitalization’ and highlighting its use as an important financial security measure.
  • Simplified Processes: BCs can assist with applications, claim procedures, and premium collection, making the process more simple and user-friendly.

The pursuit of “Insurance for All by 2047” hinges on enhancing healthcare access and insurance penetration, particularly in rural areas. While government initiatives have made significant strides, challenges persist.

However, private players like Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) offer hope, bridging the insurance gap through last-mile connectivity, technology, and financial literacy. With continued innovation and collaboration, India is poised to create a more inclusive insurance ecosystem, ensuring every individual can secure their financial future and fostering a healthier, resilient society

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