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71% Indians lack health cover
BS Reporter in Mumbai | December 22, 2006 02:49 IST
As much as 71 per cent Indians are not financially protected against any major illnesses while 72 per cent of people will not be able to sustain themselves and their dependants financially for more than a year if their main source of income was eliminated due to sickness or accident.
These findings are part of a unique survey titled "Health Matters" Index 2006, conducted by Tata AIG Life Insurance Company Ltd (Tata AIG Life) to assess the awareness and the need for accident and health insurance as well as critical illness covers in India.
The survey was conducted on a sample size of 1,200 working men and women above 25 years of age across Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Bangalore. The target respondents belonged to socio-economic Class A and B with an income of over Rs 3,000 per month.
65 per cent of the respondents felt that they were unable to meet the rising healthcare, hospitalisation and surgical expenses, and 67 per cent were extremely concerned about accidents and disabilities adversely affecting their financial stability. 43 per cent did not feel the need of having health insurance cover. This is significantly alarming and indicates a lack of awareness towards the relevance and the need for health insurance, in the backdrop of rising healthcare costs and an increasingly stressful life.
When it comes to various benefits offered by accident and medical insurance products, the survey revealed that 65 per cent respondents rate cashless hospitalisation as an extremely important attribute in selecting a medical insurance product. Besides, the respondents prefer no-claim bonus and refund of premium kind of health insurance covers.
Based on the findings of the survey, Tata-AIG Life has designed certain standalone health insurance products, and will be filing them with IRDA soon.
41 per cent of the respondents said that post-retirement, they would prefer private hospitals while 27 per cent expressed a desire for public medical care.
Interestingly, the survey revealed a high preference among respondents (about 79 per cent), who expressed their desire to purchase health insurance products for their children.
The survey revealed that the average age of owning an insurance policy in India is 28 years which is a positive sign and indicates a growing awareness amongst the youth towards the need and importance of insurance.Speaking about the survey, Bimal Balasingham, director, Tata AIG Life Insurance Company said, "The 'Health Matters' Index survey is an initiative aimed at assessing and understanding the needs and expectations of consumers for insurance products. The findings of this survey will aid us in customising suite and offering innovative insurance solutions to the Indian consumer."