SBI Life Insurance has diversified into the health insurance segment with the launch of its 'Hospital Cash' plan, which provides a fixed daily allowance to policyholders for each day of hospitalization.
The Hospital Cash plan guards against the erosion of policyholders' accumulated savings on account of medical bills by providing a fixed daily allowance to the insured person for every day of hospitalization, irrespective of the hospital bill amount, SBI Life said in a statement.
"Our foray into health insurance is aimed at addressing the issues of rising healthcare costs and acute under-penetration of health insurance in India," SBI Life MD and CEO M N Rao said.
The plan is available for a fixed policy term of three years and offers the flexibility of premium payment options, with collection on a yearly, half-yearly or quarterly basis.
The cover can be renewed till the age of 75 years. It provides policyholders with a 100 per cent fixed payout from the first day of hospitalization without any deductions.
Furthermore, in case the insured person is admitted into an ICU, the amount receivable by the policyholder is twice that of the DHCB.
An additional fixed lump sum of Rs 10,000 is payable to policyholders covering two or more family members under the plan in case the insured person is admitted to the ICU.
The product would also be made available for subscription online. SBI Life has a market share of 21.6 per cent among the private life insurers and a total market share of 6 per cent.
SBI Life Insurance is a joint venture between State Bank of India and BNP Paribas. SBI owns 74 per cent of the total capital and the remaining 26 per cent is with BNP Paribas. SBI Life Insurance has an authorized capital of Rs 2,000 crore and a paid-up capital of Rs 1,000 crore.
Health insurers offering cashless facility have been directed to keep their customers updated about any change in the list of hospitals as well as about alternative options in the vicinity, Parliament was informed yesterday.
Citing an IRDA report for 2008-09 and 2009-10, Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena in a written reply informed the Lok Sabha that cashless settlement costs customers more for all types of diseases.
He was replying to a query whether the cashless health insurance facility was being misused by hospitals.
Meena further said that in order to ensure that the interest of policy holders is not adversely affected, insurers must make their customers aware of changes in their partner network of hospitals.
"All insurers have been directed to inform the policyholders at all times, the nearest possible alternative hospitals, where the cashless facility is available and the conditions thereof," he added.
Insurance companies negotiate rates for certain medical procedures and normally include in the network only those hospitals, who have agreed to the rates.
Last year, customers were left in a quandary following a deadlock between the four PSU insurers and major private hospitals over resumption of cashless facilities.
The four PSU insurers - New India Assurance, United India Insurance, National Insurance and Oriental Insurance - had suspended cashless services at select hospitals from 1 July 2010, alleging over-billing by them.
Later, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) came out with a guideline asking insurers to constantly inform customers about the hospitals which offer cashless treatment.