The Evolution of Health Insurance

Health Insurance

The Evolution of Health Insurance  01st Nov 2019

Health insurance is a necessity in today's age, but the easy accessibility and wide range we enjoy today weren't always there in the past. It's safe to say that health insurance policies in India have forged their path over the years. But do you know how? Here's where we can help you with facts about the insurance you can't do without these days.

How did it begin?

Since the independence of India in 1947, our healthcare system revolved around government schemes and plans. The life insurance system that dates back to 1818 was the first of its kind for Indians. The popularity of life insurance in India was attributed to the low life expectancy and closely-knit family systems.

However, with liberalization in the early 1990s, healthcare delivery improved with an increase in disposable income. As a result, life expectancy increased to 65 years by the year 2011. The nineties also saw an influx of other things such as lifestyle diseases and consistently rising medical costs which made health insurance the invaluable commodity that it is today.

Crucial developments and current scenario

The IRDAI or Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India's legislation of the year 2001 is a vital milestone for health insurance in India. It opened new avenues for investment by private players in the industry. Over the years, the advancement of treatments and cashless claims enhanced the popularity of health insurance policies among buyers.

Despite all these developments, the sector is largely dominated by government-owned enterprises and its subsidiaries that account for nearly 60% of the total market share. Private health insurers are increasing their base and outreach mainly in the tier-1 and tier-2 cities with features like cashless payments and in-patient reimbursements. A major goal of health insurance is reaching all parts of the country.

Challenges for health insurance

Over the past two decades, the health insurance providers in India are consistently struggling to provide accessible and affordable care to the masses. It has many challenges that need critical analysis and solutions. The main challenges in this sector are:

  • Lack of awareness about the importance of health insurance. For instance, people don't realise how much difference a comprehensive health insurance can make at the time of an emergency.
  • Gap between affordability and accessibility because the rural population relies on government-based facilities as the private sector does not cater to their basic needs. 
  • Differences in service quality due to multiple levels of care delivery system. This increases the overall costs and causes quality concerns.
  • Ignorance on the part of consumers which makes them avoid getting insurance until the last minute.
  • No strong regulatory framework to standardize the healthcare delivery system.   

These are only some of the glaring issues we face in our country. Both consumers and insurance providers need to do their part so as to bridge the gap which will allow everyone to get healthcare in an easy and fair manner.

Future trends in health insurance

With the internet and other media platforms, more and more customers are beginning to understand the importance of health insurance. As a result, the number of policies sold has doubled in the last ten years.

The millennials have become a key focus for the major players due to their increasing awareness and their numbers in the workforce. Incentives such as tax benefits also encourage the working class to invest in

health insurance plans


In a nutshell, a focused approach of evolving cost, quality, and access show a promising future for healthcare insurance in India. 

Standardization of adequate health care provisions is still an aspiration which must be realized over the years.

To get the best of health insurance policies in India, Check out Magma HDI.