The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) is seeking a separate licence for health insurance services and the creation of a clear definition of health insurance when the Insurance Act is amended next.
The announcement comes amidst demand by prospective investors in the health insurance segment for a separate capital structure. Traditionally, general insurance companies offer health insurance services and the subject had been listed in the list of miscellaneous items.
According to IRDA Chairman CS Rao: "A separate licence should help investors in this sector. We are also looking at risk-based capital for health insurance companies."
The present laws do not allow a separate capital structure for health insurance companies and they have to adopt the existing norms, Rao said at the health insurance summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry.
A request to relax the capital structure norms was made by a representative of the AMRI hospital in Kolkata, who asked whether the hospital would be allowed to offer health insurance packages. Rao suggested that it would be better for the hospital to work out a package with an insurance company. "Within the current rules we can work on introducing risk-based capital. We will work on that," Rao added.
The possibility of collecting health insurance premium in instalments, for senior citizens and the poorer section of the society, would be considered too, Rao said.