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    International Women's Day: Only 26% women are decision-makers when it comes to buying health insurance, finds Future Generali study

    Over 74 percent of Indian women prefer not to get involved in making decisions around buying health insurance. Only 21 percent, or one in five, purchased their health insurance policies independently, as per a study conducted by private general insurance company Future Generali India.

    The survey polled 600 women aged over 21 years, with 80 percent of them falling in the age bracket of 21-35 years. Of those polled, two out of three were working women; more than 50 percent of the respondents were married with kids, while 27 percent were single.

    Close to 43 percent of the respondents were covered under health insurance through their own or their husbands’ employers. Over one-third (36 percent) were covered under family floater policies owned by their fathers or husbands. Only 21 percent said they purchased their health insurance policies on their own.

    Awareness of policy conditions low

    Despite the fact that only 26 percent of the respondents played a role in taking a decision on buying health insurance, over 53 percent of them paid the premiums. In contrast, more than half of those polled (56 percent) had a say in picking motor insurance policies. “Our findings show that 40 percent of the women respondents had done some level of research compared to 32 percent for motor. But while close to 60 percent women decide which motor policy to buy, only about quarter of them said they take the call as far as health insurance is concerned, which obviously not a very encouraging number,” said Anup Rau, Managing Director and CEO, Future Generali India.

    Willing to pay higher premiums for women-specific needs

    According to Future Generali, which rolled out its women-specific health policy Health PowHer, two out of three women felt that health insurance policies available today were “were too generic.” The company said its new product addresses specific needs of women, including higher limits for female cancer treatment, coverage for puberty and menopause-related disorders, lump-sum benefit for new-born defect and also coverage for bone strengthening injections or joint injections  that women in older age-groups might require, and so on.

    Nearly 9 in 10 (86 percent) of those polled said they were willing to buy a health insurance plan that comes with value-added services that help prevent women-specific diseases and remain fit. “Now, 78 percent of the women said they were willing to pay higher premiums for such plans. Clearly, there's a market for a comprehensive health insurance product which has far greater degree and extent of coverage,” said Rau.

    Though fear should not be the driving factor for buying health insurance, this is the case currently. “When it comes to insurance, what you are selling is security and that promise of security in the future. Unfortunately, fear continues to be a key enabler of purchase, which is not something that we want. We want women to take the decision with the view that insurance is security for the future, not because we are fearful about the future,” he added.