The health insurance sector in India is only a few decades old. However, it has a deep-rooted history and the traces found in writings of Manu (Manusmithi), Yagnavalkya (Dharmashastra), and Kautilya (Arthasastra). Its mentioned how the pooling of resources helpful during calamities like floods, fire, and epidemics. The health insurance concept was first suggested in the year 1694 by Hugh the Elder Chamberlen from Peter Chamberlen family. As a result, "Accident Assurance" began to be available in the 19th Century. However, in the middle to late 20th-century traditional disability insurance evolved into new health insurance programs. After that, with several amendments and innovations, health insurance came into existence. For the last 50 years, India has also achieved a lot in terms of health insurance. Take a look back at the health insurance evolution in India.
How did Health Insurance start in India?
After independence, primary health care given importance and seen considerable improvement. Health insurance history in India began with an Employee's state insurance scheme (ESIS) in 1948. It introduced as an umbrella of social security for blue-collar workers of the organized sector. It provides health care services through a network of dispensaries and hospitals that impaneled with ESIS. The coverage under ESIS includes OPD and IPD expenses and cash benefits to compensate for the loss of pay and other medical contingencies. This scheme is still prevailing and financed mainly through the contribution of employers and employees. In 1954, a program for central government health schemes (CGHS), was also introduced. It was a contributory health scheme to provide comprehensive healthcare services, especially to the central government employees and their families. The government of India and central government employees also contribute a nominal amount per month based on their pay scale, which is still going well.
In 1986, General Insurance Corporation (GIC) to standardized the terms and conditions of health insurance launched India's first Mediclaim policy. It was a voluntary health insurance scheme covering hospitalization expenses with exclusions like pre-existing diseases, pregnancy, childbirth, HIV-AIDS, etc. Based on the indemnity clause, the expenditures were reimbursement directly through third-party administrators' mechanism. However, in 1991, after the new economic policy and liberalization process introduced by the Government of India, privatization of the insurance sector taken place. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) bill passed in the Indian parliament. In the health insurance evolution, it sets as a milestone.
Health Insurance Perspective in India
Left with no stone unturned, the health insurance sector gaining popularity in India. At present, health insurance is one of the emerging sectors in India. Different stakeholders of this ecosystem, such as private health insurance companies, IRDAI, and other entities, are thriving each day to come up with the best health insurance policy for every citizen. Indians become the most active and engaged customers when it comes to health insurance. After pandemic, buying cashless health insurance online is a new normal. This increasing attention and awareness are due to rising medical inflation, advancements in medical sciences, pandemic, and critical illnesses. The availability of health insurance covers for senior citizens, maternity, and children, also popularizing medical insurance. Thus, the Indian Health insurance market has come up with lucrative growth avenues and opportunities for companies and customers.
Care Health Insurance (Formerly Religare Health Insurance)
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