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Health Insurance Needs Overhauling: Experts

The insurance industry in India is still lurching under problems of accessibility and coverage as the service providers// are not ready to risk the cost of delivery of products at the doorstep of the poor, according to experts.

These issues pertaining to the health insurance industry were extensively discussed at the International Conference on Micro Health Insurance: Developing Pro-Poor Health Insurance in India, organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Erasmus University, Rotterdam, University of Cologne with the support by the European Commission Thursday here.

"We have still to answer the question whether insurance has to be dealt with at the national, state, district or local bodies' level and determine the optimum capitalisation requirements of health insurance companies," said Ashok Lahiri, chief economic adviser to the ministry of finance.

"These issues are critical as India's health statistics, compared with neighbouring countries in South Asia, do not put us in a good light."

Meenakshi Datta Ghosh, secretary, ministry of panchayati raj, averred: "If activity mapping is carried out properly, it would become incumbent on states to open a panchayati raj institution window for every programme to benefit the poor."

"There is still a wide gap between what we know about health insurance and how to go about implementing it," said K. Sujatha Rao, additional secretary, ministry of health and family welfare.



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