Insurance Companies cautious before signing up for Ayushman Bharat scheme

General insurers are cautious about the National Health Insurance scheme with many choosing to be in a wait-and-watch mode before bidding for any States. As of now, only the bid for Nagaland has been finalised, with Dadra and Nagar Haveli likely to be the next for the tender. Though most are betting big on the impact of the Ayushman Bharat scheme on increasing awareness about health insurance and giving a fillip to business, many insurers are waiting for more clarity on the pricing and the model used by larger States to implement the scheme. “Everyone is waiting for the scheme to unfold and insurers will definitely participate in it. But first States have to decide on what model they choose. There is no idea about the premium either, as it is based on competitive bidding,” said R Chandrasekaran, Secretary General, General Insurance Council. “The rules of the game are not very clear, be it on pricing of the scheme or the package rates. We are certainly open to the scheme but will wait for all the guidelines to come out as there are concerns that hospitals are not too happy on some issues,” said Nikhil Apte, Chief Product Officer, Product Factory (Health), Royal Sundaram. Another insurer pointed out that Nagaland’s health and socio-economic performance is on the higher side and cannot be used to gauge the national average. A major concern is whether annual premium rates, once discovered through competitive bidding will then be frozen, like other government insurance schemes, which can then lead to losses. Roopam Asthana, CEO and Wholetime Director, Liberty General Insurance, said: “At present, very small States and Union Territories are issuing tenders for the scheme.”

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