New Delhi:

Rising healthcare costs in general and reports of astronomical Covid-19 treatment costs at private hospitals have changed India's attitude towards health insurance.

As per a survey by Policybazaar, most consumers are purchasing health plans with a bigger cover, showcasing an uptick in demand for higher sum insured health policies (more than Rs 25 lakh cover) by 40 per cent over the last financial year.

Coming to Rs 1 crore health covers, the findings suggest the share of these plans bought by consumers has now grown to 35 per cent. People in the age-group of 31-40 year hold the highest share in buying Rs 1 crore health plans i.e. 19 per cent, followed by the age bracket of 18-25 years i.e. 18 per cent.

Another trend is the preference of EMI by customers for purchasing Health Insurance policies. This was earlier almost non-existent and has now become the preferred payment option for 40 per cent customers. The IRDAI has done a commendable job in ensuring EMI based options are available to customers from all Insurers.

Focusing on the claims filed, our survey findings revealed that in April'20, of the total claims reported, only 4 per cent. were Covid-19 related claims.

However, as the pandemic peaked in the month of September, the proportion of Covid-19 related claims increased to approximately 40 per cent of the total claims.

The number of claims steadily increased from 8 per cent in May to 23 per cent in July and to 34 per cent in August. The overall trends depict how health insurance in FY20-21 was amongst the most sought-after investment instruments leapfrogging all other insurance categories.

Another very encouraging step by the regulator was the launch of Corona specific products (Kavach and Rakshak), both of which saw significant volumes as an affordable protection against Covid-19.

Now that affordability concerns are subsiding, there is an increasing trend of more and more customers migrating to comprehensive health insurance plans. Corona plans have been instrumental in increasing awareness of insurance overall.

Commenting on the study findings Amit Chhabra, Head Health Insurance, said, "The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for increased awareness of health insurance. People have realized its importance for unforeseen health-related situations and are now investing more in high sum insured plans for advanced treatments."

Highlighting yet another prominent trend, the survey depicted that the share of policyholders porting their existing health policies with lower sum insured, i.e., 5 – 10 lakh to plans with higher sum insured (more than 25 lakh) has increased by a significant margin.