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Mahua Venkatesh, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 20, 2013
If you are under 60, you may soon be able to get a health insurance policy within minutes of applying for one, without having to go through a bevy of diagnostic tests.

Health insurers are working out plans by which your insurance application is almost instantly passed without medical tests. All you would need to do is submit a declaration that you are medically fit, and pay the required payment, to start a health insurance policy.

At present, customers seeking health insurance have to go through several diagnostic tests before the insurance company finally issues the product to you. Moreover, it takes a week to 10 days for an application to get processed by the insurance company.

While private stand alone health insurer Max Bupa recently initiated the process of instant approval - albeit on a limited scale to see how it works on the ground level - Apollo Munich is working on the modalities of such a model, and government owned insurance companies could follow suit. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2013/1/21-01-13-biz-01.jpg

"Customers can choose a policy as per their requirements, upon completion of the payment process, they instantly receive the policy number; the policy details are sent to the customer within 30 minutes," a Max Bupa spokesperson said.

"We are working on the process, health insurance should be able to come to customers within minutes, our aim is to ensure that there is no waiting time," said Antony Jacob, chief executive officer, Apollo Munich.

If a person who is suffering from a chronic problem hides it while making a 'clean health' affidavit, and this surfaces when he makes a claim, such claims would not be honoured.

"It is not as though you start a policy today and file a claim tomorrow," one insurance company official said.

The health insurance market in India is expected to grow five times to cover 10% of the population by 2015, according to a report released by consulting firm Nathan India.

Globally, health insurance has become key for consumers as even the most developed economies are finding it tough to meet the burgeoning spends on health due to increase in longevity and advancement in medical sciences that are continuously pushing per capita health expenditure of households, said the report, which was published last year.