General and health insurers seek more exemptions for health insurance and reduction in GST

General and Health insurers want more exemptions in health insurance and reduction in GST in Union Budget 2019-20 in order to boost mass insurance schemes and increase penetration.

“Providing health insurance for employees can also be made mandatory for employers,” Tapan Singhel, MD and CEO, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, told. The government could also introduce a home insurance scheme in association with insurance companies that covers loss to property due to catastrophic events, he added.

According to Praveen Gupta, MD and CEO, Raheja QBE General Insurance Company, tax deduction should be given not just on health insurance spend, but also on preventive care and full treatment expenditure.“Limits, if any, should be revised in line with annual health inflation,” he said.

According to estimates by the insurance industry, annual health inflation is pegged in the range of 15 to 20 per cent. Even if medical inflation is growing at 14-16 per cent every year, healthcare expenses of the average household can easily exceed the medical allowance limit of Rs.15,000 per annum. “Companies usually cap the medical allowances at the tax-free limit of Rs.15,000. If this limit is revised upwards, companies will also be encouraged to hike the allowance,” said Shreeraj Deshpande, Principal Officer and Key Managerial Personnel, Future Generali India Insurance.