Moneycontrol
Dec 01, 2017 03:37 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Majority of Indians pay for their own medical expenses: Cigna 360° Well-Being survey

The perception of ‘old age’ in India is among the lowest globally. Indians prefer to work even in their retirement years, to stay mentally and physically active rather than for money.

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A whopping 62 percent of Indians burned a hole in their pockets by paying for their own medical expenses in 2016, according to the 2017 Cigna 360° Well-being Score-India Report. The report by standalone health insurer Cigna TTK Health Insurance said that Indians primarily depend on their own savings when it comes to funding health emergencies and also underscored the low penetration of health insurance in the country.

While 85 percent are covered by private medical insurance, nearly two-thirds of medical expenses are self-funded. Local government and public welfare schemes contribute a paltry 7 percent. Both employer-provided and self-purchased insurance accounts for 13 percent. About 15 percent of the populace is not covered by either private or government insurance schemes.

Cigna TTK Health Insurance MD and CEO Sandeep Patel said, “Cigna 360° Well-being survey highlights three major areas that we as a country should focus on – healthcare moving into digital, financial stability and preparing for retirement. It points out a need for providing health insurance solutions for customers, focusing on affordability, ease of transaction, accessibility, and overall security.”

In an interesting finding, healthcare apps are becoming increasingly popular in India — and the trend is only growing. Indians are using apps to track and monitor their medical symptoms and improve health. Around 59 percent of respondents said that their use of medical apps and devices had increased over the past year.

Measuring health and fitness goals will be the next digital health management activity, though the cost of installation remains a concern, the survey reveals. Notwithstanding the ongoing debate over data privacy, two-thirds of Indians are willing to share health data with third parties.

The perception of ‘old age’ in India is among the lowest globally. Indians prefer to work even in their retirement years, to stay mentally and physically active rather than for money. This mindset peaks in the 50-59 age group, probably due to the fear of old age and life expectancy. Among other reasons, people like to engage in things they enjoy doing or support other people and causes.

Most respondents expressed growing concern over socio-economic issues where unemployment or underemployment, high cost of living and food safety topped the category. In addition, increasing pollution levels and global warming were the two major environmental concerns.

The 2017 Cigna 360° Well-being Score is the third annual research study from Cigna, the global health services company which provides a wide range of employer, individual and supplemental health benefit products and services. The survey monitors and tracks the annual evolution of key emotional and psychological well-being indicators across 13 markets.
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