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How wellness and preventive features will help health insurance policyholders

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The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) recently asked the insurance companies to include wellness and preventive features in health policies.

How wellness and preventive features will help health insurance policyholders
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) recently asked the insurance companies to include wellness and preventive features in health policies. The move will encourage the policyholders to stay healthy and minimize the chance of falling sick.
As part of promoting wellness and preventive regime, insurers may offer reward points to those policyholders who comply with or meet the set criteria of wellness and preventive features.
The wellness and preventive features under a policy may be offered either as optional or add-on cover, the insurance regulator said.
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Based on criteria stipulated for wellness and fitness, insurers may endeavor promoting wellness among health insurance policyholders by offering the following services:
i) Health specific services provided by network providers or other empanelled hospitals/service providers for outpatient consultations or treatments, pharmaceuticals and health check-ups/diagnostics; including discounts on all the above.
ii) Redeemable vouchers to obtain health supplements.
iii) Redeemable vouchers for membership in yoga centers, gymnasiums, sports clubs, fitness centers for participating in fitness activities.
iv) Discounts on premiums and/or increase in sum insured at the time of renewals based on wellness regime followed by policyholders in the preceding policy period; provided increase in sum insured is not be linked to the cumulative bonus offered, if any.
v) Coverage of cost of treatment of any admissible claim in respect of non-payable items that are specified under the terms and conditions of the base policy.
According to Amit Chhabra, Head-Health Insurance, Policybazaar, these guidelines are an endeavor in the right direction.
“With this move, we believe that health insurance will no longer be perceived just as a measure to secure oneself against unforeseen illnesses; rather it will become a part of a customer's daily health needs. Now that they are a part of the insurance plans formally, this will encourage insurance policy holders to use facilities like gyms, yoga studios and fitness centers; which should help increase overall health levels in the country," he opines.
Gurdeep Singh Batra, Head - Retail Underwriting, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance seconds Chhabra's views.
"This move will not only encourage more people to opt for health insurance, but also help them lead a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, it will help policyholders to monetize the reward points earned by them by following a certain wellness regime. Further, it will aid the insured in achieving the desired objective of maintaining and improving good health and enabling affordable health insurance," he illustrates.
In words of Priya Deshmukh Gilbile, Chief Operating Officer, ManipalCigna Health Insurance Company Limited, "The recent changes in regulations will also reduce the premium for maintaining healthy life through various modalities like rewards as well as access to discounted rates. We believe it will go a long way in bringing down the overall product premiums."
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