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Times of India
Shivani Mody
Bangalore,India

Buying Health Insurance becomes Child Play
Buying health insurance today is almost like buying grocery. You can buy them off the shelf, buy them online, all without any hassle.

Bajaj Allianz’s Insta Insure health insurance is available over the counter at retail outlets, grocery stores and pharmacy chains. The cover starts once a unique authentication number is activated, which is a simple process done by an SMS or a telephone call. “The instant policy is issued as soon as the SMS or call centre authenticates the policy,” says Dr Shreeraj Deshpande, head of health insurance in Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

Bharti AXA’s SmartHealth Individual is also an over the counter product. These come in the form of pre–underwritten kits for individuals who fulfill a set of pre–underwritten criteria.

Most players have also adopted the online route. Customers need to create an account on the website. On entering details, customers will get a quote after which they can proceed to make the payment online. “The facility saves time as it delivers the policy at the click of a button,” says Ajay Bimbhet, MD of Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance. The policy is sent to the customer through email and the original policy document is couriered within a few days.

Online’s ease of use is also driving customers to renew their health policies through this channel. “Right now, buying health insurance online is negligible but this is sure to grow considering the ease of use. The youth is definitely shifting to online. Online currently is preferred for renewals,” says Deshpande.

The major limitation in such facilities is that only persons under 50 years and with no pre–existing diseases or conditions can get the health insurance. The policy is generally available for people from 18 years to 45 years but renewable up to 70 years. Medical tests are required when customers mention certain health conditions in their forms. But some companies waive even these for senior citizens if the medical insurance is for a short period international travel.

Currently health constitutes around 15% of the total general insurance premium. But health insurance has penetrated only around 2% of the population. So the potential is seen to be huge.

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