Health insurance premiums rise with inclusion of more diseases in products

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Health insurance covers in India earlier had an array of exclusions, but are now seeing more diseases being included in the health cover. While the premiums on policies have increased, the features of products have also gone up.

Standalone health insurance company Star Health and Allied Insurance has launched Star Cancer Care Gold, a health insurance plan for persons already diagnosed with cancer.

This cover provides up to Rs 5 lakh to anyone between the age of 5 months and 65 years who have already had stage 1 and 2 disease. The plan covers the risk of recurrence, spread of cancer (metastasis) and second cancer (second malignancy). This policy can be bought without prior medical screening.

V Jagannathan, CMD, Star Health and Allied Insurance, said: “Health insurance is generally made available to those who have not been diagnosed with pre-existing illnesses. But we, at Star Health Insurance, develop products for people who have undergone treatment for life-threatening diseases and are uncertain about their future. These people are the ones who genuinely need medical and financial assistance in the years ahead.”

Others insurance companies, including the country’s largest general insurer New India Assurance, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, Max Bupa Health Insurance, have launched products that will cover existing ailments.

But on the other hand, product premiums have also been on the rise. Speaking to Moneycontrol, G Srinivasan, chairman and managing director, New India Assurance said that they have re-priced products in both the corporate as well as retail health segments.

Industry sources said that with double-digit health inflation, premiums are going up by almost 20-25 percent for retail customers even as new features are being added.

Bajaj Allianz has recently launched a super-top up plan ‘Extra Care Plus’ that offers a range of aggregate deductible options. Extra Care Plus covers maternity expenses and pre-existing diseases after a waiting period of just 12 months.

Earlier, heart and kidney ailments apart from cancer were one of the most common exclusions in health insurance products. However, several companies cover these ailments at special rates now. Further, even maternity and dental expenses that were excluded in the health products have been made part of the product features.

[“Source-moneycontrol”]