MUMBAI: Health insurance for women could get cheaper considering that insurance companies view them healthier than men. Statistics of insurance claims show that women are healthier than men but they end up paying the same price for health cover as Indian companies do not practice gender-based pricing. Besides, how much women will pay in future for health cover will depend on whether insurance companies cover maternity under mainstream policies.
“Most men with health insurance policies are professionals and end up with a more sedentary lifestyle and are, therefore, more prone to be afflicted by these kind of (lifestyle) diseases,” said Sanjay Datta, head of claims and underwriting at ICICI Lombard General Insurance, the largest private sector health insurer. The company has done an analysis of its claims which shows that men’s illnesses are strongly linked to lifestyle issues such as “stress, long work hours, smoking, drinking” and women’s diseases are linked to neglect, weight gain and reproductive issues.
“As of now, we have not inculcated this in finer pricing. But it does have an impact in pricing of family policies,” said Datta. According to Datta, most of ICICI Lombard’s policies have started incorporating maternity benefits, which add to claims. “Although maternity is not an ailment, there is an element of certainty in it. Though it pushes up costs we cover it because customers find benefit in the product,” said Datta. He said the decision to incorporate maternity was to encourage people to buy the cover. “Nobody wants to use a mediclaim policy but when someone holds a policy for 10 years and there is no claim there is a feeling on the back of his mind that it is not utilized,” he said.