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Monday, October 1, 2012

Country lacks effective regulatory system, says IRDA chief

India does not have an effective system to regulate and manage its health care sector , said J. Hari Narayan, Chairman, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority. He said he would be glad if this issue is considered by Parliament or State Governments.

Addressing a gathering at a forum on health insurance, organised here by the Consumers’ Association of India, he said the State Government-run health insurance schemes were very successful.

It will be good if the State Governments concerned could include those who are not part of the target group by collecting premium from those individuals, he said. It will work out cheaper for those individuals, as the insurance companies could pass on the benefit to them.

Elaborating on this, he said, every insurance company spends some money on consumer acquisition. If it is going to be a collective cover, the insurer can pass on the cost benefit to the consumer.

Though health insurance is now more widely accepted and has been growing in the last five to six years, it should penetrate the market further as a majority of spending on health is met out of an individual’s pocket. The health insurance sector grew by 33 per cent in the first half of the current financial year. Last year, it grew by 23 per cent.

However, out of the Rs 3 lakh crore total medical expenses, Rs 2 lakh crore came from individuals’ own money. As premiums are very low in India compared to most other countries, people must consider health insurance as a financing alternative to meet health contingencies, he said.


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