Ramesh Arora (name changed), a mid-level executive at a public sector undertaking, has had his 80-year-old mother admitted twice in the past year to an upscale hospital.
Both times, he didn't spend any money, though the bill crossed R1 lakh. His employer offers him a group health insurance policy that covers the medical/hospitalisation expenses of his dependents and parents.
But life may not be the same in future. Next time, he may have to pay a good part of his mother's medical bill himself.
Non-life insurance companies — stung by high, commercially-unviable claims of those insured under corporate health schemes — have begun to raise the premiums they charge corporations offering group health insurance to their employees.
In the last two months, premiums have gone up by 25 per cent. Benefits for dependents are being curtailed, or charged higher premiums.
"Group insurance premiums are likely to increase about 25 per cent in the next few months," Amarnath Ananthanarayanan, CEO and MD, Bharti AXA General Insurance Co Ltd said.
"With premiums going up, many companies are looking at curbing insurance benefits to parents to keep costs under control," said Sanjay Kedia, CEO of Marsh India, an insurance broking firm.
"From this year, cover for additional benefits to dependent parents will have to be borne by the employee," said the HR director of one of India's largest IT companies, who did not wish to be named.
State-owned Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd has called for fresh bids from insurance firms for health insurance cover for its retired employees. Until now, both retired and serving employees enjoyed the same insurance benefits.
"Group insurance premium is based on the claims employees of companies make. In most cases, claims are high," said M. Ramadoss, CMD of government-owned New India Assurance Company.