Health insurance evolves to suit millennial needs

India has a major share of the millennial demographic — 34% of the total population — to be precise. While this might be a significant percentage, before the pandemic struck, this consumer segment is seldom considered having an adequate insurance policy.

The pandemic has brought about an irreversible revolution in the insurance industry, and also accelerated the awareness level, regardless of age.

The rise in health emergencies, transcending age groups, has sounded a caution alarm for youngsters to be prepared with a safety shield as well.

Fortunately, the insurance ecosystem is working in tandem with this transition to effectively cater to millennial needs with innovative health insurance products. More modular, more consumer-centric, here’s how health insurance products are evolving to suit millennials.

OPD coverage

Traditionally, the key reason for the younger lot not buying health insurance was that they did not anticipate an event of hospitalization. However, health insurance no longer gets triggered only when one is hospitalized. OPD, as a category, gained immense traction over the past few months, all because of high-paced product innovation. With OPD coverage, one can now expand coverage to include expenses such as doctor consultations, lab tests, medicines, dental care, and preventive healthcare, which account for more than 70% of healthcare expenditure in the country.

Though beneficial for everyone, this coverage is specially targeted towards millennials who would find OPD expenses more relevant for them.

Cumulative bonuses

While NCB, or the no-claim bonus, is a well-known feature in health insurance, the cumulative bonus is considered to be an even more comprehensive version of it.

Even though health insurance shields policyholders from the unprecedented financial shock, it’s also seen as a constant recurring expense.

However, new-age plans are woven into customer centricity and offer protection along with affordability. Under the cumulative bonus, policyholders can easily increase their insured sum even if they make a claim during the terms of the policy.

The bonus gets added to your sum insured at the beginning of each policy year. The useful feature makes sure that you stay protected even if the need to make a claim arises.

Maternity plans

Maternity-related expenses are likely inevitable for most millennials.

While parenthood is a natural and beautiful milestone in one’s life, it is also something that requires thorough financial planning. The condition here is, maternity plans need to be bought well before the pregnancy actually occurs.

However, now there are plans available in the market that have made it smoother for people planning a family in the near future. Previously, the waiting period would range anywhere from 2 to 4 years. Now, the plans offer a waiting period of about 9 months to 1 year which has made it easier to anticipate and assess maternity expenses and buy a policy.

Plans are also now more comprehensive with added benefits and features such as coverage for NICU, legal termination of pregnancy and even in-vitro fertilization.

Mental health coverage

Mental health issues had earlier been brushed under the carpet. However, it took a global pandemic to drastically change that.

Isolation, loss of loved ones, restricted socialising — there are several factors that have pushed people off the edge. While the prolonged state of the pandemic has adversely affected the mental health of all age groups, studies suggest that more millennials are now prone to depression, anxiety and similar issues.

Keeping this in view, the IRDAI has also mandated the coverage of mental health issues under the ambit of health insurance. To comprehensively cover mental health, one should opt for OPD coverage to ensue doctor consultations which are also part of the policy.

Wellness benefits

The pandemic has been a wake-up call for everyone to take stock of their health and immunity. Now, health insurance plans also reward you for staying healthy. So, every time you hit the gym or e-track your steps, your insurer can better assess your risk profile and reward you for performing better.

Mainly targeted at the younger consumer set, wellness benefits are earned by a policyholder who meets the fitness criteria of the insurer.

It could be a discount on premium or a higher sum insured or vouchers that the customer would be rewarded with.

This not only incentivizes policyholders to stay healthy but also helps keep the cumulative risk lower. Not to forget, this encourages policyholders to renew their health insurance as well.

(The writer is Business Head, Health Insurance, Policybazaar.com)

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