According to a research report issued by India’s National Insurance Academy, only some 1.08 percent of the one billion Indians have secured medical insurance cover since 1986 when health insurance was first introduced in the country. Shortage of hospitals and insurance providers, poverty, lack ofco-ordination between hospitals and insurance firms and people’s belief in destiny have been cited as some of the reasons for the poor response, said the report carried in the Times of India newspaper Sunday. The data for the research from 16 insurance companies providing medical insurance in the country shows the medical insurance schemes have remained restricted to the five metropolitan cities –Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chennai. The potential market for health insurance in India is about three hundred million, but now it is just limited to 140 million. And money wise, the health insurance sector stands at just 3% of the insurance sector. There were restrictive players and not enough hospitals to enable people to take the benefit of the health insurance. Few people can afford to buy insurance policies due to poverty and also few insurance firms have their branches in semi-urban and rural areas, said the report. Majority of the semi-urban and rural population remains neglected. Besides, people tend to leave their health to their destiny instead of securing medical insurance cover, added the report.

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