Health spend on hold
Editorial

Health spend on hold

November 13, 2019

Life insurance, Health insurance, Motor vehicle insurance, General insurance and whatever, have turned from service to business in our times. The agencies offering one or the other of these assurances of bailing out their policy-holders in case of normal life going off track are merrily raising their rates of premium which are there for all to experience and at the same time imposing conditions that come in handy to repudiate the claims either partially or fully, leaving the seekers of financial returns on their investments flat-footed.

The regulatory authority presiding over the working of the insurance companies has restrained one of those with past reputation from doing any further business, strangely for the reason that the company offering cashless hospitalisation facility has itself gone cashless. Not even providence can come to the aid of the policy-holders of that company. The diktat of the wise to seekers of any type of insurance is to read the conditions invariably in small print.

Being literate, according to the loose definition of literacy to estimate the proportion of the country’s literacy, is not enough to do the arm-twisting of the companies delaying, virtually denying, cash due to the policy-holders. Their number in the land’s headcount is large enough for the insurance companies to be assured of their income from the tricky business of insurance.

A report based on a detailed study of the working of India’s insurance companies by a research body, published by a daily early this week has opined that the country’s health insurance industry has witnessed an overhaul in the past few years and its benefits have become axiomatic amongst people. Thanks to the measures announced recently by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) with guidelines such as providing health insurance coverage for mental health-related illnesses and HIV may allow people to be beneficiaries of health insurance services better than so far. While health insurance gives hopes of better quality of life to the land’s people, given the rural population’s unawareness about the scheme itself, under-penetration of any kind of insurance, particularly health insurance, remains a big concern.

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That families with income barely sufficient to keep the wolf out of their doors as it were cannot survive in the present situation of rising disease burden and killing tariffs of medical services, is saying the obvious. People can no longer take health for granted and live with a false sense of assurance that insurance companies will bail them out. Consuming food with moderation, living in sanitary environment, avoiding health-threatening habits and other prescriptions including regular exercises are the watch-words for all.

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