• Mon. Jan 30th, 2023

Trends in the upcoming year in health insurance sector

Jan 4, 2023

Mr. Shreeraj Deshpande, Head – Health Businesses, SBI General Insurance

Authored by Mr. Shreeraj Deshpande, Head – Health Businesses, SBI General Insurance

Over the past two years, the health insurance sector has made significant advancements. The pandemic has made everyone more aware of life’s uncertainties and their lack of readiness for any health-related disaster. This has increased preference for health insurance, resulting in an additional wave of growth in the sector.

The health insurance market has expanded significantly in all areas—from technology to product options to new customer service enhancements. To keep up with customer expectations, insurers have had to review their offerings and adopt data-driven strategies. Thanks to a steady rise in the quantity of participating medical and paramedical providers in the healthcare network, health insurance are now more widely accessible on the ground. Additionally, insurance companies have developed innovative products to offer flexible coverage and seamless service.

The IRDAI has introduced several reforms this year to boost insurance penetration in India. Among the many actions taken by the regulator are the introduction of standardized insurance products, the use of video-based Know Your Customer procedures, and the ability for insurers to incentivize low-risk behavior. One such initiative expected to revolutionize the industry and upend India’s digital insurance distribution is Bima Sugam, a one-stop online shop for all your life and general insurance needs. This platform, backed by the regulator, will speed up the vision of a digital India by not only enabling comparison and purchase of policies but also offering servicing and claims settlement.

Trends to watch out for in 2023:

Increased focus on mental health:
The pandemic has sparked discussions on the importance of mental health as a component of all-encompassing treatment. The IRDAI has made it mandatory for all health insurance companies to cover mental illnesses such as dementia, depression, and bipolar disorder unless some specific exclusions are mentioned in the policy. Other mental health care services such as professional consultation, access to meditation applications, and the use of various other tools to deal with trauma will also be covered.
Innovative products:

Health insurance companies are developing products that provide customized insurance solutions to meet customer needs. The gradual growth of the health insurance market in India will also be aided by factors such as the rising awareness of healthcare and the understanding of retirement planning. The stage is set for the industry to launch more products that will broaden the coverage and help individuals build a financial safety net to combat severe health conditions.

Increase in the number of value-added Services
Insurance companies are expanding their range of services with various value-added options like 24×7 customer care services, regular health care checkups, daycare treatments, etc. This will become more fundamental to insurance provision as time passes and will become a crucial differentiator among industry players.
Telehealth:
To improve patient outcomes and increase easy access to medical care, healthcare professionals and insurers are beginning to implement telehealth as an effective treatment option. Insurance companies are using more automation to accelerate and simplify procedures.
Increased adoption of tools:
We are aware that factors like location, age, health, and other factors significantly affect the cost of health insurance. Customers must therefore be aware of such important information when buying a health insurance policy. Many health insurance providers use artificial intelligence to recommend the plans that will work best for their clients and to let them use cost estimator tools, which increases transparency.
Automation:
The health insurance sector has completely transitioned to the digital world. With real-time claim processing, artificial intelligence is assisting insurers in improving claim management. Additionally, automated claim verification, quicker data access, privacy, security, and scalability are made possible by blockchain technology. As a result, everything including business models and consumer experiences has been fully automated, we expect this trend to continue in the upcoming year. Robotic process automation, for instance, is a tried-and-true method for enhancing automated payments, policy management, claims management, and other processes, allowing insurers to serve more clients more successfully.
Increased makeshift hospital setups
Makeshift hospitals are temporary medical facilities announced by IRDAI which are to be treated as network hospitals for settling claims. These hospitals support patients with emergency treatments, and medical amenities and help them with the availability of beds.
The insurance industry has grown exponentially in recent in the past five years, expanding at a double-digit growth rate of 12–15% as per a report by ibef.org.This development in the Insurance industry has been driven by increasingly favorable government policies, economic growth, product innovations, the adoption of simpler customer processes and increasing awareness on healthcare among the public. Technology will continue to play a key role in 2023 and will prove to be a driver of change.