Pressure is building up on the government and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) to chalk out a health insurance strategy for senior citizens.
The elderly are the worst impacted with the upward revision of health insurance products in 2010, when insurance companies stopped cashless hospitalisation and treatment claiming that hospitals were inflating bills.
A joint action committee for senior citizens said that while insurance regulator IRDA has asked insurance companies not to discontinue a policy based on age, it has not given any directive on pricing.Members of the committee are slated to meet IRDA chairman J Hari Narayan next month to discus the issue.
The regulator had indicated that that re-pricing would be applicable for all policy-holders, including the elderly.
“Pricing must be different for health insurance products for senior citizens as they are finding it difficult to continue with the policies with the rise in premium,” SK Mahapatra, member, joint action committee, told Hindustan Times. He said health insurance products are no more in the ‘affordable range” for senior citizens with limited income.
According to official estimates, by 2025, over 189 million Indians will be 60-plus.
The KS Sastry Committee of IRDA, which looked into the issue, stressed the need for a ‘national policy on older persons’. The committee said insurers should promote separate products for senior citizens.
“We believe health insurance should be available to all, we offer all our customers pricing based on their age and city of residence and there is no loading based on claim history at any age,” Damien Marmion, CEO Max Bupa Health Insurance said.