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38% of policyholders saw premiums rise by up to 50%: LocalCircles Survey


NEW DELHI: Are you among the lucky ones to be covered under a government healthcare or insurance scheme? If not, the uncertainty of being without health cover or having to pay a higher premium than last year for you and your family’s health insurance cover must be a daunting task. The government’s promise of “Universal Healthcare for All” by 2030 is a much-awaited dream for all who routinely dip into their savings to pay for medical/accident insurance, but remain worried about costs that may not be covered by the insurance policy bought.

After thousands of posts and comments were received pertaining to sizable increase in health insurance premiums by LocalCircles, it decided to conduct a national survey. The survey, conducted during August 2021 and August 2022, recorded 20,000 responses from people across 287 districts of the country on rising health insurance premiums.

About 67% of respondents were men while 33% were women, with 47% from metros or tier 1 districts, 35% from tier 2 districts and 18% from tier 3, 4 and rural districts.

About 38% out of the nearly 10,000 respondents to the question on “how much has your annual insurance increased in the last 12 months” said they had paid 50% or more, while 24% citizens had paid 25%-50% higher premiums and 11% had seen their health insurance premium go up by 10%-25%, another 9% paid 0%-10% higher premium. Only 28% did not have to shell out more or witnessed a dip in insurance premium or were unaware as their employer takes care of it.

From the responses to the survey, it was clear that the magnitude of the increase in premium has caught many unaware. Last year, while the percentage of respondents who experienced an increase of over 25% in health insurance premiums was 34%, this year that number jumped to 62%. Overall, an average Indian, after experiencing a 10% increase in 2021 is now experiencing an average increase of 25%. Many senior citizens with independent policies reported a much higher increase of over 50% which has squeezed their retirement finances amid rising inflation.

According to experts, health insurance premiums have increased anywhere between 10% and 25% after the pandemic, for a number of reasons, including high payouts during the last two years. In the case of senior citizens, according to policybazaar.com, “Health insurance premiums have increased by up to 100%”.

Feedback on LocalCircles’ platform suggests that for people over the age of 65 years, the premium amount has doubled over the last two years. For example, if the policy premium for two people in the 2019 – 20 was 28,000, then it is between 55,000 and 60,000 this year.

Also, in 2019 September, IRDAI had introduced standardisation of the exclusions under insurance cover. According to this, insurance providers cannot exclude some diseases from a policy. IRDAI has also made it mandatory for companies to provide coverage for some of the modern methods of treatment.

To summarise, every three in five Indians have experienced an increase of over 25% in health insurance premiums in 2022 after a sizable increase in 2021, with 38% witnessing a nearly 50% rise in their premiums.

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