Increasing awareness about the need for health coverage is the principal cause for raising expectations from insurers. Sixty-nine per cent of the people expect their health plans to cater to all their medical expenses.
Consumers look at holistic health benefits and comprehensive coverage, rather than just the health insurance premium that they pay. Medical inflation and growing incidence of lifestyle diseases are the cause for increases in the sum assured. Consumers now realize that a health cover of Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh will be insufficient for hospitalization or treatment in the future. According to the study people had an assured average amount of Rs.6,25000 for which they paid a premium of Rs. 12,000 annually on an average.
The study also found that Indians put family first when it came to health insurance. Around 60 per cent of consumers preferred family health cover against 40 per cent who chose individual covers.
Almost 70% of the people who plan to buy health insurance wish to cover their children, 66% of them want to cover their spouse, and 30 per cent who plan families want to buy health insurance. The decision regarding the purchase of health insurance is usually motivated by the family, with the spouse as a strong influence.
"Health Insurance consumers are evolving from being price conscious to being value conscious with majority of them preferring family health plans over individual coverage and opting for a sum insured of is Rs 6-7 lakh. Most of the owners still feel inadequately protected as cost of hospitalization and incidence of illnesses across age groups is on the rise.
We at Max Bupa, have also observed that the most common sum insured individuals opt for is Rs 5 lakh and Rs10 lakh in case of a family cover. In fact, there has been a two-fold increase in the claims from the segment with a ticket size of over Rs 10 lakh since last year," said Anika Agarwal, head, marketing, Max Bupa.
The average age of health insurance purchasers in cities is 32 years. Tax planning and age are not the only factors many buy health insurance on their doctors' advice. In addition to hospitalization, consumers look for day care treatment, renewal benefits and new benefits like maternity and child care.
Similar to life insurance, purchasers prefer to buy a health policy from agents. More than half or 58 per cent of the people purchase or intend to purchase health insurance from an agent. Banks also emerged as a preferred channel of purchase in the metros.
Source: Sangeeta G