The health insurance industry was started in 1986, and has since then seen exponential growth in a market that’s potentially worth billions. The market is slowly becoming more aware of the benefits of health insurance cover, and with the liberalized economy we currently live in, seems poised to grow in leaps and bounds
In 2011, 3.9% of India's GDP was spent in the health sector. Out of this 3.9%, health insurance accounts for 5-10% of expenditure, employers account for around 9% while personal expenditure amounts to 82%. This means that an astounding number of individuals have paid for their healthcare out of their own pockets. An expense that could have been saved by availing a health insurance policy from one of the following medical insurance companies.
Overview of Health Insurance Companies:
|Company||Features||Link to Page|
|United India Insurance Co. Ltd.||Started in 1938 and nationalized in 1972, the company provides a variety of insurance products to over 1 crore customers.
||Read more about United India Health Insurance|
|New India Assurance Co. Ltd.||Founded in 1919 and wholly owned by the Indian Government, this company has over 2,097 offices and 1,041 micro-offices across India.
||Read more about New India Health Insurance.|
|Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd.||Founded in 1947, the company has over 30 regional and 1,800 operating offices across the country.
||Read more about Oriental Health Insurance.|
|National Insurance Co. Ltd.||Established in 1906 and nationalised in 1972, this company functions out of 1,340 offices and 373 centres across India.
||Read more about National Health Insurance|
|SBI General Insurance Co. Ltd.||The resultant company of a joint venture between State Bank of India (which holds a 74% stake) and Insurance Australia Group (which holds a 26% stake), SBI General Insurance Co. Ltd. Operates out of 14,000 official branches of SBI.
||Read more about SBI Health Insurance|
|Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd.||India’s first standalone health insurance provider.
||Read more about Star Health Insurance|
|Religare Health Insurance Co. Ltd.||Standalone health insurance provider comprising of three entities – Religare Enterprises Limited, Union Bank of India and Corporation Bank.
||Read more about Religare Health Insurance|
|Apollo Munich Health Insurance Co. Ltd||The result of a merger between Apollo Hospitals and Munich Health in August 2007.4
||Read more about Apollo Munich Health Insurance|
|Max Bupa Health Insurance Co. Ltd||The result of a joint venture between Max India Limited and Bupa Financial PLC, UK, Max Bupa Health Insurance Company serves a 29 million-strong customer base across 190 countries.
||Read more about Max Bupa Health Insurance|
|Cigna TTK Health Insurance Co. Ltd||Starting operations in February 2014, this company is the result of a joint venture between the TTK group and Cigna Corporation, USA.
||Read more about Cigna TTK Health Insurance|
|ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd||This is one of the largest private sector general insurance companies, and is the result of a merger between ICICI Bank Limited and Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited, Canada.
||Read more about ICICI Lombard Health Insurance|
|Bharti AXA General Insurance Co. Ltd||This joint venture between Bharti Enterprises (which holds a 74% stake) and AXA Group (which holds a 26% stake) commenced national operations in 2008 and operates out of 59 branch offices across India.
||Read more about Bharti AXA Health Insurance|
|Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Co. Ltd||Headquartered in Chennai, the Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company is the result of a joint venture between Murugappa Group, India, and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Group, Japan.
||Read more about Chola MS Health Insurance|
|Future Generali India Insurance Co. Ltd.||This is joint venture between Future Group, India and Generali group, Italy began operations in 2006, headquartered in Mumbai.
||Read more about Future Generali Health Insurance|
|HDFC ERGO General Insurance Co. Ltd||This company is a joint venture between HDFC Ltd (which holds a 74% stake) and ERGO International AG (which holds a 26% stake). ERGO International AG is the primary insurance unit of the Munch RE Group. HDFC ERGO is India’s 4th largest private sector general insurance provider with 104 branches in 87 cities across India.
||Read more about HDFC ERGO Health Insurance|
|IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Co. Ltd||This joint venture between Indian Farmers Fertilizer Co-operative (IFFCO) and Tokio Marine and Nichido Fire Group came into force in December, 2000. It provides insurance products through its 65 Strategic Business Units, 120 lateral Spread Centres and 255 Bima Kendras – across India.
||Read more about IFFCO Tokio Health Insurance|
|L&T General Insurance Co. Ltd||This company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Larsen &Toubro Limited.
||Read more about L&T Health Insurance|
|Reliance General Insurance Co. Ltd||One of the largest private sector insurance providers in the country with a wide presence in over 102 cities and various distribution channels.
||Read more about Reliance Health Insurance|
|Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Co. Ltd||The first private sector general insurance company to be licensed in India since 2001, Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Company provides financial services to over 5 million customers.
||Read more about Royal Sundaram Health Insurance|
|TATA AIG General Insurance Co. Ltd.||This company is the result of a joint venture between the Indian Tata Group (which holds a 74% stake) and the American International Group (AIG) (which holds a 26% stake) and started operations on January 22nd, 2001.
||Read more about TATA AIG Health Insurance|
|Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd.||This company is the result of a joint venture between Bajaj Finserv Limited (which holds a 74% stake) and Allianz SE (which holds a 26% stake) on 31st March 2013.
||Read more about Bajaj Allianz Health Insurance|
|Universal Sompo General Insurance Co. Ltd.||This is a first-of-its-kind public-private partnership company in the Indian General Insurance industry. It is a joint venture between Allahabad Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Karnataka Bank Ltd., Dabur Investment Corporation and Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc.
||Read more about Universal Sompo Health Insurance|
Comparative Analysis of Best Health Insurance Companies in India:
|Insurance Provider||Coverage||Pre and post hospitalization expenses cover||Co-pay||Renewability||Pre-existing disease cover||Network hospitals||Incurred Claim Ratio*|
|United India Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 4 family members (2 adult and 2 children).||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||20% for senior citizens on major illnesses.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||7000||97.68%|
|New India Assurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 6 family members (2 adult and 4 children).||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||10% on pre-existing medical conditions.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||1200||97.24%|
|Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 7 family members including 4 adults.||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||10%.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||4300||102.38%|
|National Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 6 family members.||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||No co-pay. 10% discounted premium if opted for 2% co-pay scheme.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||6000||105.09%|
|SBI General Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 4 family members.||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||10%.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||4400||122.82%|
|Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 4 family members (2 adults and 2 children).||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||20% for those 61 - 65 years old.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||6000||95.76%|
|Religare Health Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 6 family members (with up to 2 adults).||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||20% on first claim only for those above 61 years of age.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||4500||Data unavailable.|
|Apollo Munich Health Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 6 family members (with up to 2 adults).||60 days pre and 90 days post hospitalization.||No co-pay.||Lifetime.||After 3 years.||4000||58.20%|
|Max Bupa Health Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 4 family members (2 adult and 2 children).||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||20% if insured is above 65 years of age.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||3500||56.15%|
|Cigna TTK Health Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 4 family members (2 adult and 2 children).||60 days pre and 90 days post hospitalization.||No co-pay.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||4000||Data unavailable.|
|ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 4 family members (2 adult and 2 children).||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||No co-pay.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||4500||86.19%|
|Bharti Axa General Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 4 family members (2 adult and 2 children).||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||No co-pay.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||5000||80.44%|
|Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 5 family members (up to 2 adults and 3 children)||60 days pre and 90 days post hospitalization.||No co-pay.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||2600||76.51%|
|Future Generali India Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 4 family members (2 adult and 2 children).||60 days pre and 90 days post hospitalization.||30% in Zone-A (Mumbai, Delhi, NCR) and 20% in Zone-B (Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad). No co-pay for remaining areas.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||4300||85.58%|
|HDFC ERGO General Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 4 family members (2 adult and 2 children).||60 days pre and 90 days post hospitalization.||No co-pay.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||4800||67.53%|
|IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 5 family members (up to 2 adults and 3 children)||60 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||No co-pay.||Lifetime.||After 3 years.||3000||85.79%|
|L&T General Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 4 family members (2 adult and 2 children).||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||10% if insured person is above 80 years old.||Lifetime.||After 3 years.||2800||183.40%|
|Reliance General Insurance Co, Ltd.||Up to 4 family members (2 adult and 2 children).||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||No co-pay.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||4000||85.77%|
|Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 5 family members.||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||No co-pay.||Lifetime.||After 3 years.||3000||50.86%|
|TATA AIG General Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 5 family members (2 adults and 3 children).||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||No co-pay.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||3000||49.65%|
|Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 6 family members (2 adults and 4 children).||60 days pre and 90 days post hospitalization.||10% in non-network hospitals. Waived off if 10% loading is paid on premium.||Lifetime.||After 4 years.||3700||66.52%|
|Universal Sompo General Insurance Co. Ltd.||Up to 4 family members (2 adults and 2 children).||30 days pre and 60 days post hospitalization.||20% if insured person is over 55 years old.||Renewable up to 70 years of age.||After 4 years.||5000||102.59%|
News About Health Insurance Companies
Little Impact Shown by Government Funded Health Insurance Schemes
Government run health insurance schemes in India have done little to help the people who are hospitalised as they still have too still shell out money for expenses incurred during hospitalisation. Chhattisgarh was used as an example as it has the maximum number of registered beneficiaries that fall under a health insurance scheme in India. Researchers found out that 66% of the number of individuals who are insured had to pay for hospital expenses from their own pockets as hospitalisation charges. One of the researchers, Sulakshna Nandi, confirmed these reports by stating that one of most eye-catching finds of the study is that a large number of people who have a valid health insurance policy had to shell out a lot of money to clear hospitalisation charges incurred at government hospitals. Oommen John, a medicine specialist at The George Institute for Global Health, stated that patients are required to purchase consumables such as drugs, medicines, etc. when an insured has to undergo a surgery even if the surgery is covered under a health insurance scheme. This adds up to the overall cost.
4th December 2016
Compulsory Listing of Insurance Companies Put On Hold
The mandatory listing of all insurance companies on the bourses has been suspended temporarily. The IRDAI, India’s insurance regulatory body has put this directive on hold following a Finance Ministry notification. A spokesperson for IRDAI has confirmed the directive is no longer in effect, adding that the body will wait and re-consider the ramifications of such a move. A discussion on listing both life and non-life insurance companies was issued but a number of companies could not voice their opinions within the short time frame provided.
The insurance companies were wary of the forced listing leading to too much consolidation in the insurance sector. The other fear is companies with smaller capital at their disposal will find it difficult to improve their share price and get an adequate price. As a result, the companies requested the Finance Ministry to look into the matter. The resultant intervention led to the compulsory listing being put on hold. As of now, the only insurance company to float a public issue has been ICICI Prudential. Health insurance companies are reluctant to be listed publicly, with companies stating the need to have more private companies to increase coverage.
20th October 2016
Losses reported by General Insurance Companies
A number of General Insurance Companies are reporting a decline in their profits, primarily on account of underwriting losses incurred in their motor and health departments. The motor and health segment has always been viewed as dicey for insurers, with an increase in the number of claims in these segments resulting in losses for them. Added competition has resulted in insurers providing packages at lower rates, which has reduced the profit margins.
Increased cost of treatment in the healthcare sector combined with self-damage and third party claims for motor insurance have resulted in more pay-outs, resulting in underwriting losses for most companies. Profits of most insurers were limited to smaller segments like engineering and fire, where limited claims are made.
27th May 2016
Online health insurance launched by Liberty Videocon General Insurance
Liberty Videocon General Insurance has taken a progressive step in terms of health insurance by making it accessible to customers via Liberty Health Connect - an online platform. This is being deemed as an inclusion after the tremendous popularity of the company’s flagship health insurance product – Liberty Health Connect Policy. Since its launch in December 2014, this product has been extremely successful, and is now being made available to a pool of online customers. With a launch on an online platform, not only is the customer base expected to rise, but it also ensures enhanced convenience and smooth functioning for the customers.
The user interface for sales has been specifically designed to assist customers in navigating in the least possible time to buy the product. With a plethora of online tools, customers can get useful details of their policy like the policy number, etc. within a few minutes of buying the policy.
28th April 2016
General Insurance companies miss target of Rs 1 lakh crore
The insurance penetration in India has increased over the last few years, but the industry has failed to live up to certain ambitious targets. The general insurance industry which expected its premiums to cross the Rs 1 lakh crore mark fell short of it by around Rs 4,000 crore, mopping up around Rs 96,400 crore. While the targets weren’t met, this number is about 14% higher than the previous fiscal. Health and motor insurance saw the best growth under general insurance, helping the industry come closer to its expected target.
Both private and public sector companies saw an increase in their numbers, with the private sector accounting for premiums worth Rs 39,000 crore and the public sector roping in premiums worth Rs 47,700 crore.
19th April 2016
By March 2018, Religare Health Insurance may break even
Religare Health Insurance which is one of the topmost health insurance providers of the country are hopeful that they will break even in the next two years that is by March 2018. This health insurer jumped into the insurance market as a single-handed player in the year 2012 and has since then being doing quite well in terms of market capturing as well as customer satisfaction. Religare Health is valued at Rs.475 crore. Union Bank and Corporation bank each hold 5 per cent in Religare Enterprises.
The health insurance is one of the most popular and well-doing divisions of insurance and as such the industry as a whole as well as Religare both hope to break even in the coming two years.
11th April 2016
1.25 lakh Madurai people benefit from CMCHIS
Since the launch of Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (CMCHIS) in 2012, a total of 1.25 lakh people in Madurai district have benefitted from it. In a statement released by the district administration, around Rs. 197.95 crore-worth treatment had been availed by 1.25 lakh beneficiaries from both the government hospitals and the private hospitals that met the scheme’s required criteria.
Out of the 1.25 lakh people, 38,296 people were treated at Government Rajaji Hospital and other government hospitals in the district. A total of 9,545 people among the 1.25 lakh beneficiaries availed the service for diagnostic services. The health insurance card under the CMCHIS had been provided to around 6.13 lakh families in Madurai district. The district administration in its report said that families with annual income of less than Rs. 72,000 per annum can apply for the CMCHIS card either at Goverment Rajaji Hospital or the Collector’s office.
6th January 2016
GST rate of 18% applicable for all financial services effective July 1, 2017.
Disclaimer: Premiums may vary depending upon factors like age, location and prevailing taxes/GST.