Swiss Re has launched a report titled “Health Risk Factors – India” in collaboration with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
The report highlights the considerable increase in incidents of non-communicable chronic diseases (NCDs) in India, including Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), making India a potential “CVD capital” among the emerging markets. The research on the Systematic Explanatory Analyses of Risk factors affecting cardiovascular health (SEARCH) was conducted to better understand the relationship between risk factors and health outcomes, and build sustainable life and health insurance pools.
Demand far outstrips supply
The Indian health insurance sector is a mix of mandatory social health insurance (SHI), voluntary private health insurance and community-based health insurance (CBHI). However, demand far outstrips supply, according to the report and the result is queues, waits and scheduling at inconvenient times.
The considerable underfunding of public health services requires substantial numbers to parallel private health services. In urban areas, around 70% of households rely on the private sector as their primary health provider. The report highlights the potential positive impact insurance can have in supporting and financing improved healthcare solutions in the country.
According to Swiss Re’s “Health Protection Gap” study in 2012, even if healthcare expenditure remains a stable share of GDP, Indian health protection gap is projected to reach US$43.6 billion by 2020. This is driven by an ageing population, a wealthier society, health cost inflation driven by advances in medicine and the growing consumer perception of insurance needs, amongst other factors.
Health risk factors in India
The Health Risk Factors in India report add:
• 58% of healthcare spending is currently funded from out-of-pocket expenses;
• NCDs currently account for 53% of the total deaths, with projections indicating a further increase to 67% by 2030.
• Projected increase of death due to NCDs will increase from 54% today to 67% by 2030.
About 2.7 million people die of CVD annually in India, higher in absolute terms than China. This figure is projected to increase by 1.5 million by 2030;
• CVD deaths in India are over 680 per 100,000 for men and 420 per 100,000 in women, which is twice those observed in the US;
• Deaths from CVD in India will increase to 4.2 million people by 2030, and this will entail huge healthcare costs not only to individuals, but also to the national
• Hypertension is the leading risk factor for CVD and accounts for nearly 10% of all deaths in India; and
• Diabetes is projected to affect to 109 million by 2035.