Kolkata (BL): Riding on increasing standardisation of, and demand for, ayurvedic treatment, insurance companies are fast bringing out new offerings in this segment. While some have been offering cover under their group policies, some others have started offering the facility to individual health insurance seekers. Increasing demand “Traditionally, health insurance policies have covered only allopathy treatments and disregarded alternative forms of medicine such as ayurveda and homeopathy. However, insurers are now seeing an increasing demand for such a cover,” said Dr Renuka Kanvinde, Senior Manager – Health Insurance, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.
The rising stress levels caused by lifestyle-related issues are prompting people to look at alternative forms of medicine, particularly ayurveda, she added. Chronic diseases related to spinal cord, bone disorder, arthritis and cancer are some of the common ailments that are covered under such schemes. According to Mr Sanjay Datta, Head – Underwriting and Claims, ICICI Lombard, the accreditation of bodies providing ayurvedic treatment by the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) has helped bring standardisation in the industry. “Insurance companies have started realising that ayurveda is good for outpatient treatment. Close to 60 per cent of the country’s spends on healthcare is on outpatient,” Mr Datta told Business Line. ICICI Lombard, which currently offers ayurveda in a few cases under its group policies, now plans to introduce it for its retail customers as add-on benefit. The product is likely to be launched in next 4-5 months. Claims Though the claims are lower, at 5-10 per cent of the total under health insurance, they are likely to go up as the demand for such treatment picks up. The average claim size is Rs 35,000-50,000 a year. Bajaj Allianz, for instance, has received close to 600 claims in the last two years. “The level of awareness of such treatment is higher in the southern States of Kerala and Tamil Nadu and hence the claims level as well,” Mr N. Banchur, Chief Manager, National Insurance Company, said. “The development of well defined protocols and their recognition by government recognised authorities will push the demand for such products,” said Mr Neeraj Moorjani, Head – Product and Brand Management, Chola MS.