News Life and Health20 Dec 2017

India:Apex business chamber recommends health savings accounts

| 20 Dec 2017

India's largest, oldest and apex business organisation, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), has called for the introduction of a Health Savings Account (HSA) scheme linked to a high deductible health insurance cover for end-to-end coverage of healthcare needs.

In a joint report with the international professional services firm, KPMG, the FICCI says that the scheme will act as a catalyst to bring a major part of the population under health insurance.

The centralised health savings scheme should be managed by a government nominated body or privately managed by insurers with centralised fund management, the report adds.

The analysis demonstrates that there exists a significant gap in coverage offered by current medical insurance products and the need for a comprehensive ecosystem of financed healthcare. The joint report by FICCI and KPMG in India analyses these gaps to develop recommendations on a comprehensive health insurance product as well as the role of various stakeholders such as regulators, government, and the insurance industry.

The Indian healthcare industry is driven by out-of-pocket expenditure at 62% of the total healthcare cost. In addition, 73% of the population are uninsured.

"A Health Savings Account could, therefore, prove to be a viable option for creating a corpus for meeting future healthcare needs. This will ensure that more and more people have funds for accessing healthcare services, thereby going a long way in realising India's goal of providing healthcare to all," said Mr Shashwat Sharma, partner and head, Insurance, at KPMG in India.

The report mentions that health insurance products in India are currently geared towards indemnity schemes providing coverage for hospitalisation expenses, and there are limited options for coverage of expenses like outpatient department treatment, diagnostics and medicine.


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