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What insurance data tells us about the spread of Covid-19 – and Indian healthcare

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At least 24.34 lakh health insurance claims for Covid-19 treatment have been filed between last March, when the pandemic started, and September 7 this year. The claims amounted to a total of Rs 30,806 crore, data from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India shows. About 85% claims have been settled so far.

“In 2020, the number of people approaching me to buy health insurance doubled due to fear of Covid-19 hospitalisation,” said Tejas Shah, from Tej Dhaval Finance Services.

While the pandemic drove a surge in buyers for health insurance policies, insurance providers said they still suffered huge losses. This was partly because of the large number of claims, especially during the second wave this year, and partly because of the hefty cost of treatment for Covid-19.

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Mayur Trivedi, associate professor at the Indian Institute of Public Health, said that in 2019-’20, the average health insurance claim hovered around Rs 30,000, indicating the average amount charged by hospitals for treatment. Data from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority shows the average insurance claim for Covid-19 treatment was Rs 97,302, more than three times the amount.

“The treatment of infectious diseases has never cost so much,” said Sanjay Datta, chief of underwriting, reinsurance and claims,…

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