Star Health Insurance plans to launch a standalone dental insurance policy soon.
Currently, insurance companies offer limited coverage for a few dental procedures under general health insurance plans. Most insurance covers are only for dental treatment involving 24-hour hospitalisation or life-threatening situations. There are no comprehensive standalone plans for dental treatment.
The coverage comes riddled with caveats. But with growing awareness about dental care among consumers, there is a need for more than limited coverage, according to a senior official at Star Health.
The company is working on a standalone dental insurance policy that will cover even day procedures done at select network of dental clinics. It will launch the product soon in Mumbai.
"We will tie up with over 1,000 dentists. We are working on standards and eligibility norms for dentists to participate in the initiative," said Mr S. Sundaresan, Executive Director, Star Health.
While the developed world has an evolved dental insurance policy, in India insurers have to deal with a multitude of treatment options with varying costs for each problem, said Dr V. Vijayakumar, CEO of Chennai-based dental chain Dentistree. For instance, for a toothache, a patient can opt for extraction that costs just Rs 200 or a root-canal treatment that costs a few thousand rupees. Patients can also opt for partial dentures that cost just Rs 500 or the best implant for Rs 50,000.
"The insurer can question the patient's choice of treatment - cosmetic versus functional," Dr Vijayakumar said.
While working out a policy, the insurance company has to decide on the cap so that it is a win-win for all, he added.
Star Health is working on the "optimum" premium structure and the plan will be unveiled in a month.