The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) should extend the portability of health insurance schemes between companies to group policies as well as for continuity of the cover when people change jobs, a study by FORTE - an initiative of FICCI and ING Insurance - has said.
Health insurance portability will come into effect from July 1.
The study also underlined the need to set up additional sales channels such as retail kiosks, telemarketers and direct response marketing through television to increase penetration of health insurance among the masses.
India's health insurance sector will receive a shot in the arm if the government, the regulator and the industry work in tandem to strengthen healthcare delivery infrastructure, the study said.
The Indian health insurance industry, though growing at a healthy rate, has a penetration of a mere 4.22% of the population. Even adjusting for below- poverty line families, those covered by government schemes and excluding those in rural areas, 14.3 crore people in urban areas alone remain untouched by any form of health insurance. The demand has to be unlocked by a multi-pronged approach, which encompasses policy level interventions by the regulator and initiatives by the insurance industry and its associated partners, the study said. Insurers should develop strong consumer feedback and audit systems that can provide valuable inputs on satisfaction, needs, delivery providers and costs, it added.
There are huge inter-relational challenges involving a variety of stakeholders including insurers, distributors, service providers, consumers, healthcare providers, regulator and the policy makers, it said.