Health Insurance .......................................
Healthy activities and lifestyles to get a health insurance boost:
IRDAI has prepared a draft proposal that will allow insurers to give premium discounts in health insurance for those following a fit lifestyle. Insurers may endeavor to promote wellness amongst health insurance policyholders by offering healthspecific services offered by network providers or other hospitals. The guidelines specify that the rewards that can be offered as wellness benefits in the health insurance schemes and the way those benefits can be utilized would be mentioned in the policy contract.
IRDAI has also proposed redeemable vouchers to obtain consumable health boosters, and membership in yoga centers or gymnasiums for participating in fitness activities. The draft also includes discounts on premiums and increase in sums insured at the time of renewals based on the wellness plan followed by holders. The increase in sum insured should be independent and not linked to cumulative bonus offered.
Insurers have acknowledged the significance of wellness offerings i n enhancing customer experience and apart from offering specialized products focused on a lifestyle ailment, age-segment, etc. Many insurers have introduced programs that focus on incentivizing a customer to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Anuj Gulati, MD & CEO, Religare Health Insurance, says Religare offers its customers various wellness and preventive health packages such as discounts at pharmacies, doctor consultations and diagnostics. “Keeping in mind the growing incidence of lifestyle diseases in the country, we have introduced specific plans that are relevant to individuals already ailing from diabetes and hypertension. Some of these plans offer comprehensive coverage for OPD expenses, apart from covering in-patient hospitalization. We are currently working on products that offer fitnessbased incentives to customers,” says he.
Bisheshwari Singh, chief marketing officer at Universal Sompo General Insurance reveals the details about the special health i nsurance policies introduced by the company: “We have Complete Healthcare Insurance Policy, which has an inbuilt feature of premium discount to healthy customers and persons covered under group health policy. As per IRDAI proposal, in our upcoming super top-up policy known as `Super Healthcare Insurance’ we have already i ncluded premium discounts features to the insured on renewal of policy by maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle.”
Universal Sompo will be making tie-ups with renowned yoga and fitness centers for redeeming rewards earned by the insured under the policy. Since the wellness covers shall be part of policy features, it shall be available for all the company’s business channels like banca, agency, brokers and online channel. Though these benefits could impact premiums, it will help health insurance companies to reduce the claims ratio, which would encourage them to provide wellness features at affordable prices.
FRAUDS, WEARABLE DEVICES
Technology has started dominating its existence in health insurance. Insurers are introducing technology at various levels right from the policy procurement to claim settlement. Products are designed to motivate policy holders to use wearable gadgets, track fitness of customer as well as helps to reduce their health insurance premiums.
“The lifestyle / wellness discounts under our upcoming super healthcare policy, are generally based on data collected on real time basis coming from wearable gadgets/smart phones. Hence chances of manipulating these data by an individual customer is very rare,” says Bisheshwari Singh.
Health insurance plans come with appropriate risk mitigation and fraud prevention measures, some of which include wait periods for pre-existing ailments and certain specific treatments that could be subject to fraud/misuse. Anuj Gulati says introduction of innovative wellness benefits will also call for the need of some equally innovative technology driven measures that help in data monitoring. Moreover, a layer of authentication will be required at point of utilization of OPD benefits, wherever offered on a cashless basis, says he.
He mentions about the benefits of wearable devices: “Data captured by wearable devices have been used to incentivize health insurance customers and since this is a recent phenomenon, the current utilization levels are low. We believe this will be significant in time with a large segment of consumers availing these benefits.”
Wearables help insurers get accurate data about the lifestyle of customers. This will help them in suggesting the right health insurance products for the customers.
PRICING & COLLABORATION
Anuj Gulati speaks about competing and collaborating with Google after its acquisition of Fitbit: “We rather foresee this move to be beneficial for insurers and customers both, as an increase in customers using such devices will make the insurance benefits linked with such devices more relevant as a larger set of customers will benefit from them.”
Bisheshwari Singh says Universal Sompo has considered wellness and preventive features while pricing its Super Top-Up policy. However, for introducing the wellness features in the ongoing policy, the pricing shall depend upon the existing offerings, based on the plans and sum insured under health products. He adds: “Google is a leader in innovation and has been pioneer all long in technology markets, hence collaborating with Google should be considered as landmark”, he added.