Majority consider health insurance cover as a necessity in post-COVID era, says survey

Before the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic in India only 10 percent of people were interested in buying health insurance to cover new age diseases, but now 71 percent people consider health insurance as a necessity to fight unforeseen pandemic like this, the survey said.

July 27, 2020 / 04:10 PM IST

New age disease outbreak like COVID-19 has led to more awareness among people towards health insurance and a majority of them now consider it as a necessity to be future ready for unforeseen situations like this, a survey by Max Bupa Health Insurance has revealed.

Before the outbreak of coronavirus pandemic in India only 10 percent of people were interested in buying health insurance to cover new age diseases, but now 71 percent people consider health insurance as a necessity to fight unforeseen pandemic like this, the survey said.

As many as 57 percent of the people polled understood the importance of comprehensive health insurance plans as uncertainty around treatment, high medical cost and quarantine period disrupting regular income due to COVID-19 is prompting people to purchase health insurance plans, said the Bax Bupa Health Insurance survey.

The survey with a sample size of 1,700 respondents from 11 major markets including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Lucknow, Pune, Patna, Jaipur and Chandigarh was done in February as a pre-COVID reference point and in May as post-COVID responses.

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A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

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"COVID-19 has brought a paradigm shift in people's mindset. Coronavirus has led to an increased awareness amongst people about the importance and benefits of health insurance during a pandemic situation like COVID-19. There has been a remarkable shift in the mindset of people before and after COVID-19, as earlier only 10 percent people were interested in purchasing," as per the survey done by the private sector health insurer.

Max Bupa Health said around 58 percent of the respondents have made enquiries to understand coronavirus coverage in existing and intended health covers.

The Max Bupa COVID-19 survey also found that 73 percent of the respondents are willing to pay more premium in the next 1-2 months to get coverage for COVID-19.

Though, knowledge of health insurance is still limited in both owners and intenders and many people are not clear about policy benefits, it added.

People find increase in medical expenses as one of the biggest concerns as 59 percent said the cost have risen exorbitantly in the last few years.

"It is put ahead of other important expenses like children's education and marriage, retirement corpus and wellbeing of family members. In the pre COVID-19 period, 60 percent of the respondents cited delaying health insurance purchase to prioritize household expenditure, while the others prioritized kids' education and household products including gadgets and personal devices," revealed the survey.

Around 90 percent of people are said to believe that health insurance can play an important role in covering the hospitalisation cost, followed by medical tests, medicines and quarantine cost.

Besides, women are now at the forefront for taking financial decisions as around 62 percent of the females enquired about the coverage for COVID-19 in health plans as against 54 percent males.

This trend was more prominently visible across key cities, including Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Lucknow, where women were taking financial decisions related to health insurance purchase.

Millennials --term for people in the age bracket of 27-35 years-- have emerged as important segment who were curious to understand health coverage, it said.

Around 63 percent of this age group made enquiries for health insurance and 59 percent enquired at an early stage when coronavirus case was first detected in India. Millennials are otherwise not concerned about health insurance, but due to coronavirus they are now keen to buy health insurance to save medical costs, as per the survey.

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first published: Jul 27, 2020 04:00 pm

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