The breaking health
Indians in 2030 will have less saving than in 2020.

The hindsight induced by the coronavirus pandemic has been a much-needed eye-opener for the country. The honest truth is that our lenient perception of healthcare has cost us more than money, it has cost us lives. Just 3 years ago, only about 18% of the urban population and 14% of the rural population was covered by health insurance of any kind Source for information. We were certainly not prepared for any form of health crisis let alone a life-threatening pandemic.

Our health care journey so far...

When we look at the insurance industry's performance over the past two decades, we see that it has been stagnant for half a decade after the legalization of insurance in 2000. The growth of the insurance industry increased steadily from 2.71 per cent in 2001 to 5.20 per cent in 2009. Following that, the insurance industry saw years of loss.

Even in the fiscal year of 2020, individual insurance plans had the lowest number of people. Overall, the penetration of health insurance in India stood at just around 35 per cent in the financial year 2018.

These stats don’t just tell the story of the past, but also dictate the future of healthcare in our country. It is evident that people in India have a decentralized approach to health care, they perceive health investments to be optional. Even though in the past, around 5 years ago over 64 per cent of the total healthcare expenditure in the country was from out-of-pocket expenses.

Besides the fact that India has become a popular healthcare destination for people across the globe, health care is also prohibitively costly by our standards. Such a comparatively well-off family may be thrown into debt by a protracted illness or an unexpected ride to the ICU..

What does the future look like?

India would grow old faster than you think: The elderly population in India (those aged 60 and up) is expected to increase from 8 per cent (100 million) of the global population in 2015 to 19 per cent (325 million) by 2050. India only has till 2035 to take advantage of the demographic dividend, after which it will quickly mature.

With the burden of illness moving to chronic diseases with sedentary lifestyles, dietary shifts, increasing obesity levels, and increased stress have all contributed to the deterioration of the nation’s health, this toxic lifestyle has now been converted into a trend. And these disorders will account for 74 per cent of all deaths by 2030.

It is evident that if we as a community do not push each other to take the right steps, we would soon be looking at an impending doom. The country’s health has been particularly left destitute because of the current pandemic, and we cannot afford to watch things get worse. Solving a money crisis can cut off the domino effect and also safeguard our health. Once we secure our savings and invest in our healthcare, we would be able to access a world of opportunities when or if any kind of health care emergencies comes our way.

How are Neo Banks filling in these gaps?

The Covid crisis has resulted in the rise of new-age health care solutions. There has never been a greater need for a "health bank," one whose central competitive advantage and offerings revolves around improving household financial wellbeing and preparing for unforeseen healthcare contingencies. Entrepreneurs all over the globe have begun innovating a much superior 21st-century banking experience by leveraging the growing ubiquity of smartphones, the availability of new sources of evidence, and behavioural economics insights.

How do they work? There is an enormous opportunity for product innovation and imagination in today’s mobile-enabled environment, ranging from smart ways to help households save and invest in health care, cut costs, and raise profits in the short term to creative ideas for long-term asset creation and risk reduction, and proving various health care benefits. All these features have played a crucial role in motivating communities across the globe to choose better investment options by prioritizing their health care needs and India won’t be left behind.

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