Policymakers in India are staring at a new problem vis-a-vis coronavirus -- only 4 per cent of patients admitted have health insurance, as shown in data submitted to the health and finance ministries. Only 8,500 of the total 2.17 lakh cases have claimed health insurance, the data showed.
According to a report in the Economic Times, the data furnished by life insurance industry has also shown that only 100 death claims out of 6,088 deaths have been reported, which is a mere 2 per cent. IRDAI and life insurers now believe that life insurance in India could be under-penetrated as compared to health insurance. The daily states that policymakers are looking into whether public policy has to be reframed to ensure adequate financial protection in case the primary breadwinner of the family succumbs to coronavirus.
Health insurers said that Indians are more likely to be covered under a state or health insurance scheme such as Ayushman Bharat or employers' insurance or private insurance as compared to life insurance.
An IRDAI official told the daily that it is likely that more claims could increase for life insurance in the coming months. The official pointed out that in case of natural disasters, families have other immediate concerns. If a person succumbed to coronavirus, the family would not only be dealing with grief but also would be under quarantine and hence unable to file claims, the official said. The IRDAI official said that more claims could trickle in in the coming months.
Officials have also pointed out that either health or life, 2-4 per cent penetration shows severe under-penetration of insurance. The regulator aims to take steps to push insurers to highlight the need for financial protection during a pandemic.