Zumba your way to cheaper health insurance

507104-insurance4If you had been thinking that taking steps toward physical fitness would just help you melt off fat, then health insurance providers in India are here to prove you wrong. They are incentivising you to stay healthy by doling out rewards that will help you save some money in the bargain.

While an insurer is planning to offer tracking devices to its customers, Cigna TTK Health Insurance has announced an elaborate plan to incentivise active behaviour.

Universal Sompo General Insurance would offer premium and other discounts on health services and products based on the calorie meter.

Health Reward points are earned on the basis of the physical activity. These Health Reward points translate into lower health insurance premiums, says Sandeep Patel, CEO of Cigna TTK Health Insurance.

The steps come in the wake of the insurance regulator Irda asking companies to introduce rewards for policyholders who take care of their health and alter lifestyle to stay healthy and fit.

General insurers and health insurers may devise mechanisms or incentives to reward policyholders for early entry, continued renewals (wherever applicable), favourable claims experience, preventive and wellness habits…, states the Health Insurance Regulations, 2016, notified recently.

The health insurance industry is responding to a barrage of measures to convert each step toward health into a lower premium, subject to limits.

Walking, running, monitor, yoga, weight training, swimming, every step that the policyholder is taking is helping him accumulate reward points that would reduce the premium in the future, says Patel.

Cigna TTK’s rewards point system is based on the number of steps taken by an Individual. In addition, the customer can earn additional weekly bonus points by performing additional physical activity.

So you earn 0.25 points in a day if you take up to 5000 steps and 0.75 points for 75,000 steps and 1 point for10,000 steps.

If your physical activity crosses 180 minutes during the week, then you earn 1.5x points accumulated during the week.

Running marathons would help you accumulate more reward points.

Unlike cards where the conversion ratio is low, under Cigna TTK’s Get ProActiv, each reward point is equivalent to Rs 1.

While such programmes and rewards aren’t new to global policyholders across US, UK, Australia and Dubai, Indians would be able to reduce the premium for following a healthier lifestyle for the first time.

Patel says, The idea is that keeping consumers healthy is a win-win for both the policyholders to keep illness at bay and it also helps us better manage our portfolio of consumers, hence the premium benefit.

While few are focusing on physical activity, others are capturing the holistic well-being including sleep patterns, and technology is assisting the insurance players.

We are planning to extend discounts in health premiums and other allied rewards based on a daily or weekly report on the calories burnt and time and sleep patterns as captured by the tracking device, says Rajiv Kumar, head corporate planning, product development, customer service & operations at Universal Sompo General Insurance.

Also, incorporation of discounts and rewards for normal heart rate, metabolic health, respiratory rate and others may incline customers towards adopting good practices of yoga, aerobics and others, Kumar adds.

While the rewards are being put in place by insurance companies, the policyholder would have to substantiate his claim on the actual measures undertaken towards healthy living.

So, merely taking a walk around the park wouldn’t lead you to gain reward points, unless it can be substantiated.

The confirmatory statement of your neighbour who jogged along wouldn’t suffice.

The fitness or wristband should be purchased by the policyholder which is easily available in the Indian markets nowadays at a low price that can be used to track the amount of calorie burnt on a daily or weekly basis.

The dashboard or notifications copy provided by band manufacturer should be sent to the insurer to the email address provided for regular tracking, says Kumar.

While the Cigna TTK Health Insurance has launched an app that tracks the steps taken, if the policyholder forgets to carry the phone, he/she can also one can sync with wearable devices and other apps used to track the activity. Reports can be emailed.

But you can’t cheat by not exercising and yet feeding non-traceable activity as Patel reveals, There are enough controls around it and I don’t see a huge risk in terms of consumer play.

Reduction in premium isn’t the only benefit that health insurance providers plan to offer.

We will endeavour to make more tie-ups at discounted prices with Ayurveda treatment centres, panchkarma centres, nutrition centres, homoeopathy clinics, yoga training centers, siddha centres etc, reveals Kumar.

To help policyholders meet their health goals, insurers would provide health tips based on the declaration submitted at the policy application stage or the pre-existing diseases and current health scenario, say insurers.

Curated from Zumba your way to cheaper health insurance

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