Universal health cover may bring down costs

India’s uninsured population could get cover at Rs 2,000 for a sum insured of Rs 5 lakh if universal health insurance were to be introduced in line with the schemes of some state governments.

According to Bajaj Allianz CEO and CII National Committee on Insurance and Pension’s chairman Tapan Singhel, such a scheme could help cover the ‘missing middle’ — the population not covered by any scheme for underprivileged, individual health policies or employer’s group insurance cover.

“There are existing models like the universal health insurance in Rajasthan, which can be made available to the entire state population,” said Singhel. He added that the government could open up these schemes for subscriptions without any subsidy from the state, and the premium could be paid by employers, including those in the unorganised sector.

“One reason people slip below the poverty line is because of healthcare expenses they cannot pay. If such out-of pocket expenses could be covered, it would add around 1. 2% to GDP. “We already have the Prime Minister health scheme for those below the poverty line, the average premium is much lower compared to normal personal insurance cover,” he said.

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