Health insurance costly for many sections of society; need to bring down costs: Irdai Chairman

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) Chairman Debasish Panda has said that health insurance is a costly affair for many sections of society and technology needs to be leveraged to bring down the costs and enhance penetration. He said that high operating and distribution costs, and hospital expenses as indirect costs could be the reasons affecting the insurance pricing. He noted that pricing is probably very high leaving insurance cover unaffordable to many sections of society. He highlighted that ‘We have to look at ways of reducing the expenses in order to make insurance affordable’.

The chairman suggested that advanced technological solutions can be the way out. He added ‘Can we have some kind of a digital platform...we are also pro-actively attending to the major industry asks’. He said the regulator is working on easing the caps on the expenses management as demanded by the industry. He also nudged the industry to come out with solutions which are pocket friendly as many times the out-of-pocket expenses for the consumables become painful for the insured despite having a policy.

He said it is time to ponder and come up with solutions. Irdai is doing everything that can be done to increase the insurance penetration in the country. Leveraging technology in the health insurance space from selling, settling of claims to servicing of policies. Among others, he said Irdai has also brought about the regulatory sandboxing mechanism in which one can do on-ground trials of a product and if that proves a success, can be rolled out in a continuous manner.