Till some time back, there were only two categories of insurers (i.e. life and general) in the Indian insurance market.
However, with time, there have been new players who’ve brought specialised knowledge and expertise on the health side of the insurance business and as a result, there is a third category of insurers known as standalone health insurers.
Presently there are around 5 standalone health insurers in India, namely, Star, Apollo Munich, Max Bupa, Religare and Cigna TTK.
In today’s article, we’ll see why these new age health insurance plans need to be considered when you are choosing a health insurance plan.
1. Innovative product design & features:
The crux of differentiation in these new age health insurance plans from standalone insures is the innovation factor.
For example, Apollo was the first to introduce restore and multiplier features in its Optima Restore Plan which became such a hit with consumers that it has now become a new normal for other standalone health insurers, and is slowly being adopted by general insurers as well.
To elaborate, a restore feature automatically restores your sum assured if it expires due to an illness in a particular year.
Multiplier feature increases your sum assured to say 50% or even 100% of the original sum assured in case of no claim in a particular year, while keeping the premium constant.
Then, we have products such as Cigna TTK’s Prohealth Preferred which promise re-imbursement of OPD expenses or Religare’s Joy which provides for a reduced waiting period of 24 months for maternity related claim, much lesser than usual.
Similar innovations have also been made for personal accident products whereby these plans cover things such as temporary total disability, fractures, transportation of mortal remains, cost of imported medicine, purchase of blood etc.
In short, the coverage in health plans from standalone plans is quite vast and has the potential to offer truly comprehensive protection.
2. Illness specific products:
Standalone health insurers have used their claims experience of working across the globe to design products specific to certain illnesses which are usually excluded or subject to high waiting period. For example, Apollo launched a specific product to cover Dengue.
Similarly, Apollo and Star have diabetes specific products Energy & Diabetes Safe in their portfolio which promise a zero day waiting period for this condition. This is a boon for people suffering from these illnesses.
3. Other add-on benefits:
Moreover, these policies offer certain add-on benefits, for example, you can seek a second opinion on your illness from the insurer’s expert doctor panel, no medical tests till a certain age, annual health check up facility for all insured members etc.
Also, while as a norm, health insurance policies in India only cover treatments undergone in India, you have policies such as Religare Care covering certain specialised treatments outside India as well.
Health insurance is a specialised area and standalone health insurers have a certain competitive advantage in terms of expertise and claims experience in various geographies, which gives them an edge in designing products that go that extra mile to meet consumers’ needs. For a policyholder, such plans deserve a look as they can provide a much wider coverage at almost the same cost.