United Andhra Pradesh was the only state where the health insurance premium collection dipped by over 13 per cent from about Rs 800 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 695 crore in 2012-13, according to an analysis of the gross health premium income collected by both public and private insurers in the country conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham).
On the other hand, neighbouring Maharashtra emerged on top for collecting the highest health insurance premium, which grew at a rate of over 76 per cent. Health premium collected by Maharashtra increased from over Rs 2,480 crore in 2009-10 to over Rs 4,370 crore as of 2012-13.
Tamil Nadu (Rs 1,780 crore) and Karnataka (Rs 1,400 crore) also figure among the top states for high health insurance premium throughout the country.
“The total health insurance premium collection in India has grown at a rate of over 88 per cent ie from about Rs 7,980 crore to over Rs 15,000 crore during the aforesaid period on the back of several new initiatives taken by the central and state governments to promote health insurance coverage and spending in the country,” secretary general of Assocham, DS Rawat, stated in a press release on Thursday.
“India is grappling with poor penetration of health insurance and the government must take steps to increase the same.The central government should work towards providing basic minimum health insurance coverage to all citizens at nominal rate of premium,” he added.
In terms of growth rate, Bihar ranked on top as the health insurance premium collected by the state increased significantly from just about Rs 7 crore in 2009-10 to over Rs 315 crore in 2012-13, noted the analysis done by the Assocham Economic Research Bureau (AERB).
Last year, Assocham had stated that increase in healthcare costs, rise in per-capita income, increasing burden of new diseases, health-related risks and high financial burden on poor were certain key factors contributing to the growth of health insurance market, which was growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 20 per cent and was likely to cross Rs 32,000 crore mark by 2016-17 from about Rs 13,000 crore recorded as of 2011-12.
The Assocham projection is based on average of the CAGR of about 6.7 per cent for income levels of people during 2004-05 and 2011-12 together with 32.5 per cent CAGR of health insurance premium during 2006-07 and 2011-12.
Over 65 per cent of the people covered by the health insurance sector in India come under the ambit of private companies, whereas public insurance companies account for only 35 per cent people, pointed out the study.
Nevertheless, the study states, public sector insurance companies garner maximum share of premium to the tune of about 61.5 per cent arising out of the health insurance sector in India while private health insurers account for just about 38.5 per cent of the premium.
With health insurance assuming greater significance by the day, Assocham has suggested the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority (Irda) to evolve a mechanism that would ensure private companies do not skim the market by focusing on rich and upper class clients and in the process neglect a major section of India’s population.