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NEW DELHI: About 30% of policyholders have cover for parents as part of their group health insurance policies, as per Plum, an employee health insurance platform. Most of these companies on Plum's platform are first-time insurance buyers, with average employee age 30 years and that of parents being 57.5 years.

The coronavirus pandemic fuelled the adoption of group health insurance policies, with cover for parents, among companies. These are either fully employer sponsored covers or voluntary parental covers wherein the decision to opt for parental covers rests with the employees. Plum has also witnessed an increase in average sum insured in its policies from 3 Lakh to 5 Lakh per family over the past two years, as per the study.

While these numbers indicate a strong sense of responsibility among relatively early-age startups and enterprises in safeguarding the health and well-being of their employees and families, this is only the beginning. 

Data shows that most parents insured are at retirement age, which makes them dependent on working members for their wellbeing. For companies that do not insure their employees’ parents, there could be a loss of peace of mind and productivity. 

India has the maximum out-of-pocket healthcare expenditure among G20 countries, which pushes nearly 60 million people into poverty every year (National Health Authority, 2020), which means one chronic disease can drain a family’s lifetime savings.

Abhishek Poddar, co-founder and CEO, Plum, said, “…In a country where one out of five people has diabetes and a majority of elders have pre-existing conditions, group health insurance is the best option to extend comprehensive healthcare to the elderly. Availability of products is no longer a challenge but lack of awareness is. At Plum, we always counsel our clients to include parental covers and guide them on the best possible plan customized for each organization. We are seeing good results and are hopeful of having all our clients include parental covers."

Including parental covers in group health insurance comes with several advantages such as no age bar for parents, no pre-medical check-ups required, coverage is applicable from day one and it covers pre-existing diseases among others. Moreover, organisations can customize policies as per their requirements, as per the study.

Kriti Rastogi, Director of Placements at Plum, said, “…Besides the regular standard group health insurance plans, nowadays customers have a host of top-up plans which are affordable and easily accessible. Products such as voluntary parental covers allow corporates especially small business owners, to extend health insurance to the parents of employees without being burdened by a huge cost."

About 75 million people above the age of 60 in India suffer from some chronic disease, as per the world’s largest study on the aged — the Longitudinal Aging Study in India (LASI). Health insurance penetration within this age group is among the lowest due to lack of awareness, accessibility and affordability. Individual retail policies have their own restrictions for on-boarding senior citizens. Therefore, in order to facilitate medical security for parents it is extremely important to include them under group health covers.

Plum works with over 1,500 organisations, where a significant portion are first time buyers of group health insurance.

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