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Health Insurance: Health Premium Growth Jumps | Mumbai News

Mumbai: Health insurance penetration in India has been growing at a sluggish pace despite the high growth of 22% in premium numbers. The number of lives covered under individual policies in March 2023 grew 2.5% to 528.9 lakh — lower than March 2021 levels.
Overall, the number of lives covered under health insurance, including the group business, has increased 5.7% in FY23 from FY24. However, the health premium collected by the insurance industry has increased 22% to Rs 89,492 crore from Rs 73,052 crore in March 2022 .The sharp rise in health insurance premiums without a corresponding increase in the number of lives covered indicates that insurers are growing their business by collecting more premiums from the same policyholders.
Before the onset of the pandemic, in March 2020, the total number of lives covered under individual health insurance policies was 432 lakh. After, however, the number jumped 22% to 531 lakh in March 2021. As the pandemic waned, a number of people dropped out, and the lives covered under individual policies fell to 516 lakh in FY22.
Government enrollment schemes have also dropped, partly because of states choosing to do their own insurance. From 36.2 crore in FY20, government scheme coverage fell to 34.3 crore in FY21 and declined to 30.6 crore in FY22. In FY23, the total amount covered under government schemes was 29.8 crore.
According to agents, the value of health insurance affordability has been an issue and many older people, who are enjoying good health, are dropping out because of higher rates. One positive trend is that the claims-to-premium ratio has significantly increased from the pandemic levels. In FY23, general and health insurers settled 2.4 crore health insurance claims and paid Rs 70,930 crore towards the settlement of these claims.

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Health premium growth jumps, but coverage lags
Despite high premium growth, health insurance penetration in India remains sluggish. The number of lives covered under individual policies in March 2023 grew by only 2.5%. Overall, the number of lives covered under health insurance increased by 5.7% in FY23. However, the increase in health insurance premiums indicates that insurers are collecting more from the same policyholders. The total number of lives covered under individual policies jumped by 22% in March 2021 but fell to 516 lakh in FY22. Government enrollment schemes have also declined, and affordability remains an issue for many older individuals.
CM assures on health insurance schemes
Representatives of government-employed nurses met CM Bhajan Lal Sharma who assured them that health insurance schemes would continue. He discussed with Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya and decided on free treatment up to Rs 25 lakh. The nurses expressed concerns about the utilization of funds deducted from their salaries and the CM assured them that free treatment under RGHS and government schemes would be ensured for nurses and pensioners.
Insurance drive: Govt may consider health regulator
The finance ministry has suggested that the health secretary Sudhansh Pant meet representatives from the insurance industry to consider their suggestion for a regulator for healthcare services. This is part of the government’s objective of insurance for all. The National Health Authority’s efforts to build the National Health Exchange have been welcomed by the insurance industry. A health regulator would ensure that this digital transformation aligns with the efficiency of the providers ecosystem.

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