Monday, January 23, 2023

Having universal health coverage could save expenses

Universal health cover may bring down costs

 MUMBAI: If, in accordance with the plans of some state governments, universal health insurance were to be implemented, India's uninsured population would be eligible for coverage at a cost of Rs 2,000 for a sum insured of Rs 5 lakh.

Tapan Singhel, CEO of Bajaj Allianz and chairman of the CII National Committee on Insurance and Pensions, claims that such a plan could assist in covering the "missing middle," or the population that is not covered by any program for the underprivileged, individual health insurance, or employer-sponsored group insurance.

Singhel stated, "There are existing models such as the universal health insurance in Rajasthan, which can be made available to the entire state population." He added that employers, including those in the unorganized sector, could pay the premium in these subscription-based programs that the government could launch without receiving any state support.

Healthcare costs that people are unable to afford are one factor in people falling below the poverty line. It would add approximately 1 if these out-of-pocket costs could be covered. 2% to GDP. “ He stated, "We already have the Prime Minister's Health Scheme for those below the poverty line, with an average premium that is significantly lower than that of typical personal insurance coverage."

A report on the "missing middle" released in October 2021 by the government think tank Niti Aayog emphasized the need to design a low-cost comprehensive health insurance product for this market. At least 40 crore people, or 30 percent of the population, lack health insurance coverage, according to the report. The report called for more in-depth discussions with consumer advocacy groups and consultations with government and industry stakeholders.

According to Singhel, bringing the "missing middle" into universal insurance coverage by participating in a paid group plan or having their premiums paid for by employers would generate Rs 80,000 crore, which would aid in expanding healthcare capacity.

The problem of adverse selection, in which healthy people drop out to avoid paying a higher premium while sick people continue to buy insurance, would also be addressed if health insurance was made available to everyone.

Because there is a clear connection between insurance penetration and GDP growth, Singhel stated that this would also contribute to the GDP of the nation.

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