02 Oct 2017 14:00 IST

Insurers providing cover for heart diseases in a big way

Changes in lifestyle lead to a rise in heart ailments

With a seven-to-eight per cent rise in claims related to heart ailments on a year-on-year basis, insurers are looking to push critical illness or specific heart insurance as an add-on cover to a base health insurance policy.

Lifestyle diseases

According to industry experts, hospitalisation claims due to heart ailments, which were close to five per cent in 2015-16, doubled to nearly 10 per cent in FY 17. The rise is primarily attributed to increasing prevalence of lifestyle conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

“Earlier heart-related ailments were prevalent in the age group of 50 and above; now we are increasingly seeing claims coming in from people in the bracket of 35 and above,” Puneet Sahni, Head – Product Development, SBI General Insurance, told BusinessLine.

The insurer is in the process of designing a comprehensive critical illness product to cater to the growing demand for such cover.

Max Bupa saw claims for heart ailments grow to 5.31 per cent in 2017, up from 4.03 per cent in 2013. “Men are more prone to heart ailments with 70 per cent of the claims received from males, while women have contributed to 30 per cent,” said Ashish Mehrotra, MD and CEO, Max Bupa.

The insurer’s indemnity plan, Heartbeat, covers heart ailments such as heart attack, coronary artery bypass graft and major organ transplant, among other conditions. The insurer also has a critical illness cover, CritiCare, which covers various heart ailments along with other critical illnesses.

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance does not have a specific cover for heart ailment, but it has come out with its new policy, Extra Care Plus. It takes care of the extra cost of hospitalisation when the existing policy is exhausted due to lower sum insured at an economical price, said Sasikumar Adidamu, Chief Technical Officer – Non Motor, Bajaj Allianz.

Standalone cover

While Star Health and Allied Insurance Co Ltd’s Star Cardiac Care provides cover even to those who have undergone treatment for cardiac-related ailments or surgery in the past, Cigna TTK offers Lifestyle Protection – Critical Care, a plan with lumpsum benefits for the listed 15 or 30 critical illnesses, including first heart attack of specific severity.

Star Cardiac Care, which was introduced three years ago, has seen a good traction despite being a niche product, according to Anand Roy, Executive Director & Chief Marketing Officer, Star Health.

“In FY 17 we sold close to 15,000 policies under this plan, this year we hope to sell 20,000 policies as we are witnessing growing awareness and acceptance for such products,” said Roy. The product has a waiting period of 90 days and claims ratio of 65 per cent.

Critical illness plan

Cigna TTK’s critical illness plan pays a lumpsum amount, which can be used towards medical expenses, living expenses or alternative treatment not covered under health insurance. “The plan serves the dual purpose of covering the cost of treatment and income replacement,” said Sandeep Patel, MD and CEO, Cigna TTK.

The life insurer PNB MetLife has launched Mera Heart and Cancer Care, a non-linked and non-participating health insurance plan. It is a tailor-made product that provides comprehensive cover against all stages of cancer and heart diseases.

The plan offers additional benefits to women at special premium rates. The customisation in coverage comprises payouts at different stages of the disease ranging from mild, moderate and severe; no survival period clause; life cover; and terminal illness cover to protect one’s family.