Health premiums have gone up by more than 50 per cent for approximately 5 per cent of the policyholders this year while for around 43 per cent, it has gone up by 5 per cent, data compiled by insurance aggregator Policybazaar revealed.
However, around 23 per cent of the policyholders have seen no change in their health premiums.
Experts suggest the premium hike of up to 5 per cent is because of various changes the regulator has brought in to standardise health products and make them more customer centric. From October 1, insurance companies have had to include certain illnesses which they could earlier exclude from their coverage.
But post insurance regulator’s diktat, insurers have now included treatment for mental illness, age-related degeneration, internal congenital diseases and artificial life maintenance. Furthermore, behaviour and neurodevelopment disorders, genetic diseases and disorders, and puberty and menopause-related disorders have also been included in the health insurance coverage.
“The regulator has allowed upto 5 per cent revision in prices based on the new inclusions in health products. Also, some companies may have raised rates other than that,” said Sanjay Datta, chief — underwriting, reinsurance & claims — ICICI Lombard General Insurance.
The standardisation drive brought in by the regulator in health products is in the interest of consumers. “To accommodate these changes in existing products, some insurers have marginally increased their premiums where required,” said Anuj Gulati, managing director & chief executive officer, Care Health Insurance.
Lately, there has been a lot of furore over hike in health premiums, especially for senior citizens. Many policyholders have alleged that there has been a steep rise in premiums when they renewed their policies this year.
Amit Chhabra, health – business head – Policybazaar.com, said, “It depends on the insurers when they want to hike the premiums. But price changes are governed very closely by the regulator. So, there has to be a very strong used case to change prices.”
Insurers cannot re-price their premiums on their own. They have to file the products with the regulator for approval. And, generally when insurers file their products with the regulator, premiums are given by age band. Insurers have age bands of 25-35, 35-45, and so on. But now, there are products with age band of 5 years.