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ICICI Lombard introduces cover with cashless settlement for out-patient medical needs: Should you buy?

The solution will be offered through the company’s app to existing and new policyholders. It will come at extra cost, bundled with the insurer’s flagship comprehensive health policy

November 01, 2021 / 10:41 AM IST

Are you can ICICI Lombard customer? You may need not reach for your wallet for cash or cards while paying doctor’s fees, pharmacy or diagnostic test bills. Your policy will directly pay the service providers’ bills on your behalf.

The company has launched a ‘BeFit’ solution for its customers that settles such bills on a cashless basis. “For a country that witnesses over 60 percent of spends being made out-of-pocket for regular medical expenses, not much has been done in this area,” an official release from the insurance company said.

The solution will be offered through the company’s app to existing and new policyholders. It will come at extra cost, bundled with the insurer’s flagship comprehensive health policy. “This provides a digitally enabled health ecosystem that is integrated to bring more than 11,000 doctors across cities. The pharmacy service gets medicines delivered at home within 60 minutes and lab tests are done at home and at the centre. The product also offers 24 x 7 consultations (tele and virtual) by our panel of expert panel of doctors,” says Sanjeev Mantri, Executive Director, ICICI Lombard General Insurance. As part of the wellness offering, policyholders will be rewarded for maintaining good health through discounts on renewal premium, besides other concessions. The premiums range from Rs 300-6,500, depending on the insured’s age.

What works

Given that routine, recurring medical expenses corner a larger share of Indians’ wallets compared to hospitalisation, a cashless facility for paying such bills can fulfil a long unmet need. This holds true particularly for those with chronic ailments such as diabetes and hypertension, and would need regular check-ups and medications. “In addition to paying OPD bills with minimal conditions and restrictions, it also offers a host of other features such as health check-ups and reward points,” says Nayan Goswami.

Close

The reward points that can translate into discounts on renewal premiums can serve as an incentive of younger, healthier policyholders to buy health insurance. “It covers virtual consultations (general and specialist) and the customers don’t have to worry about visiting the clinic in unfavourable conditions such as during the pandemic. They need not be concerned about not being able to get the claim settled without having visited the hospital,” says Naval Goel, Founder and CEO, PolicyX.com.

The limitations

While cashless OPD coverage under a health insurance policy seems like a highly useful service, it may not work in favour of those who have been consulting doctors for several years. That is, if these doctors are not empanelled with ICICI Lombard. In such cases, you will have to shell out the fees out of your pocket. “It’s the execution that will be key as this is a purely cashless product. You will only be allowed visit doctors and pharmacies that are empanelled (that is, part of the insurer’s cashless network). Historically, we have seen that insurers empanel hospitals and organisations, but not individual doctors,” says Nayan Goswami, Head, General Insurance, Sana Insurance Brokers.
Preeti Kulkarni is a financial journalist with over 13 years of experience. Based in Mumbai, she covers the personal finance beat for Moneycontrol. She focusses primarily on insurance, banking, taxation and financial planning
first published: Nov 1, 2021 10:41 am

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