Health is one of the truest forms of wealth, as it encompasses physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Prioritising fitness over everything else is an investment in longevity and quality of life.
A robust body and an active lifestyle not only fends off illnesses, but also boost productivity and happiness. When we prioritise fitness, we empower ourselves to navigate life’s challenges with vigour and resilience. It’s a holistic approach that pays dividends in overall wellness, reminding us that true wealth lies not just in material possessions, but in the vitality that allows us to fully enjoy and experience every aspect of our lives.
Hence, to cut costs in the long term, health insurance companies are incorporating wellness benefits into their health insurance plans.
Says Bhaskar Nerurkar, head- health administration team: “After the Covid-19 pandemic, with persistent stress, obtaining health insurance has become essential, and embracing the saying that prevention is better than cure becomes paramount. Rewards and wellness benefits are seamlessly integrated into health insurance plans, engaging individuals in activities that enhance mental and physical health. These activities include walking, jogging, cycling, and running, among others. Participants or policyholders accumulating wellness points are eligible for rewards, which can be redeemed according to conditions set by the insurance provider.”
The more emphasis the policyholder places on maintaining fitness, the greater are the rewards.
Adds Nerurkar: “These rewards can be utilised in various ways, such as redeeming points for premium payments or converting them into memberships at affiliated organisations. Policyholders can also avail themselves of benefits for gym memberships, yoga institutes, health supplements, health check-ups, and diagnoses at affiliated diagnostic centres, and network hospitals. Enrolling in such programs encourages individuals to adopt healthier habits, fostering long-term physical and mental well-being, and providing effective tools to monitor health status.”
Opting for a health insurance plan with integrated wellness programs not only supports a healthier lifestyle, but also leads to cost savings, thereby creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.
These benefits contribute to cost savings in several ways. First, the insurers seek to reduce the overall risk of illness among policyholders by promoting healthier lifestyles through perks, such as gym memberships or wellness programs. Healthier individuals typically require fewer medical services, thereby reducing healthcare costs for both the insurer and the insured.
Second, wellness benefits support preventive measures, such as vaccinations, screenings, and health check-ups, thus playing a crucial role in the early detection of potential health issues. Timely identification often results in more effective and less expensive treatments, ultimately lowering healthcare expenses.
In addition, financially, wellness benefits offer discounts on renewal premiums when policyholders redeem earned points from participating in wellness programs. This translates into substantial savings on policy premiums, contributing to the insured's financial well-being.
Lastly, the promotion of mental health resources within wellness benefits fosters a healthier and more productive workforce, leading to lower absenteeism, improved productivity, and a positive impact on the overall economic health of the insured population.
While the immediate cost of wellness benefits may seem like an additional expense, the overarching goal is to cultivate a healthier and more resilient community. In the long run, this approach can significantly save on medicines, premiums, and overall healthcare costs, creating a sustainable and cost-effective healthcare ecosystem.
Says Bhabatosh Mishra, director – claims, underwriting and product, Niva Bupa: “In the year 2020, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) allowed insurance companies to provide wellness benefits in health insurance plans. This was done with the motive of improving the customer’s health and encouraging them to enrol in various programs for their betterment and wellness. Health insurance companies reward consumers in many ways like discounts, sessions, etc. At Niva Bupa, we have a benefit called ‘Live Healthy’ which offers customers up to 30 per cent discount at the time of renewal basis the average steps taken by them in a day.”
He adds: “Also, health insurance companies reward consumers by offering benefits like ‘no claim bonus’, etc. Also, health insurance premiums can be dependent on the health status of the person. A healthy person doesn’t have to pay loadings for pre-existing diseases as compared to an unhealthy person.
Wellness benefits in health insurance aim to encourage policyholders to prioritise their health and well-being, providing the added perk of discounts.
Numerous wearables, apps, software, and tools are also available for monitoring one’s health. Particularly beneficial in hectic schedules, these wellness benefits motivate policyholders to focus on their health, offering tangible rewards.
Insurers also promote a healthy lifestyle by offering rewards, such as points, redeemable for discounts on premium renewals. The specific criteria and benefits for redeeming these points are determined by the insurance provider. To access these benefits, policyholders must download their insurance company's app and link it to their fitness device or smartwatch.