As the Covid-19 continuing unabated, many are upping their health insurance cover. With this, the persistence ratio, a measure that reflects a continuation of a policy beyond the first year, has been improving. Speaking to Hello Vizag, Amit Chhabra, Head, Health Insurance, Policybazaar.com, an insurance aggregator, said “Indeed, the discretionary spend is coming down in general, people are ensuring that they are not missing out on paying the health insurance premium in these uncertain times.”
Apart from this, many are adding riders, which come at a relatively lower cost but enhance the cover significantly, to existing policies. “Many insurers are offering riders for consumables. The consumables in normal times accounted for about five percent of the bill amounts. Nevertheless, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed that situation, and now they account for about 15 to 20 percent of the bills. And this part is quite significant,” said Chhabra adding that claims related to Covid have increased.
Speaking about the increased claims due to the second wave of Covid-19, with Hello Vizag, Chief Technical Officer, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, TA Ramalingam, felt that “The number of claims has increased but the average claim size has gone down slightly now compared to the same time last year mainly because the average hospitalization duration has come down from nine days to six days.”
Stating further, Mr. Ramalingam said nowadays, we see hospitals being flooded with patients. And the hospitals are sending patients for home quarantine after their condition improves a little. “Due to fear of higher expenses, most people are opting for a higher sum insured policies and Super Top-Up plans,” Ramalingam added. Also, super top-up plans, as the name indicates, offer top-up to the cover. And the benefits kick in once the sum assured levels of the existing policies are breached.
Apart from the metro cities, it is now witnessing good growth in non-metro cities. Amit Chhabra said some are even opting for policies with Rs one crore cover and opting to break down the premium into smaller parts. So far as hospitals declining cashless claims for Covid is concerned, Chhabra said the issue has been resolved to a greater extent after the insurance regulator intervened to put the onus on insurers to ensure that their respective empanelled hospitals offered cashless benefit as per contract.