The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) plans to do away with the age limit for purchasing health insurance policy. This will help the senior citizens who need health insurance the most.
Apollo Munich has already filed a product where anybody at any age can take a health insurance policy. The upper age limit for entry in existing health insurance plans is restricted to 65 years. Beyond the age of 70, renewal is difficult, though there was a notification in 2008 from the IRDA that no insurance company should refuse to renew the policy of an older person or load her with extra premium without giving a valid reason.
The premium of a health insurance policy should not be more than 15% of the cover, as per the current IRDA norms. The fact that people in the age group of 70+ suffer from various major ailments, IRDA will have to come out with a different pricing structure. Otherwise the insurance companies will find it difficult to underwrite such products as it will be unprofitable to cater to this segment.
With the rise in medical expenses, especially in metros, health insurance is one of the most rapidly growing segments for the Indian insurance industry. Total health insurance premium for 2010-11 was Rs. 11,480 crore, a growth of 38.22% over the premium written in this segment in 2009-10.
For 2010-11, the claims ratio in health stands at 100%. This is a significant improvement from the previous year as public sector insurers formed their own preferred provider network to cut down on inflated hospital bills. Claims ratio in the private sector is a healthier 85% as compared to 106% for the public sector.