NEW DELHI: Health insurance coverage in India has witnessed a sharp increase reaching 28.7% households in 2014-15 from merely 4.8% around 10 years ago, according to the latest National Family Health Survey.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The penetration seems to be higher in rural areas than in urban India
  • 29% households in rural India have at least one member covered by a health scheme
  • Expansion in India’s health insurance coverage has helped improve various health indicators

In fact, the penetration seems to be higher in rural areas than in urban India, making healthcare more affordable and improving health indicators. The NFHS-4 data shows 29% households in rural India have at least one member covered by a health scheme or health insurance, as compared to 28.2% in urban areas.
Expansion in India’s health insurance coverage has helped improve various health indicators as more people are seeking treatment and medical services.

For instance, insurance penetration has resulted in significant rise in institutional deliveries reducing maternal and child mortality. Of the total deliveries, around 80% were institutional deliveries in 2014-15, up from 38.7% in 2005-06, according to NFHS-4. Though health insurance coverage continues to be driven by the government, latest data compiled by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) shows Indians are increasingly buying private health insurance policies also.

According to IRDAI data, premium collected by health insurance companies during 2015-16 jumped by a 21.7% annually to Rs 24,448 crore, indicating a growing trend of people seeking coverage.

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