IRDAI removes age bar for purchasing health insurance

IRDAI directs insurance providers to develop tailored products for seniors; hospitals say this will improve access for those who need healthcare the most, but note that premiums may be higher for this demographic

April 20, 2024 06:38 pm | Updated April 21, 2024 12:22 pm IST - NEW DELHI

IRDAI’s latest move is aimed at bringing in extended health benefits to the elderly. File

IRDAI’s latest move is aimed at bringing in extended health benefits to the elderly. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has removed the age limit for purchasing health insurance policies, with effect from April 1.

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Earlier, there was an age limit of 65 years to buy new health insurance policies. IRDAI’s latest move is aimed at bringing in extended health benefits to the elderly.

The IRDAI directive mandates health insurance providers to develop specialised policies catering to senior citizens, and to establish dedicated channels for addressing their claims and grievances. Companies are also encouraged to develop tailored products to meet specific age-related requirements, fostering a more inclusive healthcare ecosystem.

The notification adds that the move will enhance accessibility and affordability of healthcare coverage across all age groups. IRDAI is an autonomous and statutory body responsible for managing and regulating the insurance and reinsurance industry in India.

‘Premiums may be higher’

Speaking about the decision, Aashish Chaudhry, MD of Aakash Healthcare, said: “The recent decision to lift the age restriction on insurance coverage is a significant advancement. Previously, only individuals up to 65 years old were eligible for insurance, leaving senior citizens, who often need healthcare the most, without coverage. Now, with the removal of this restriction, even the elderly can access cashless insurance benefits, though premiums for this demographic may be higher. This change will greatly benefit those in need of medical insurance, including children, maternity cases, and senior citizens, ensuring a healthier life for many. It’s a welcome move, serving the public interest and promoting the longevity and well-being of our citizens, while also advancing comprehensive insurance coverage.”

Ratnesh Sinha, head of sales and marketing at PSRI Hospital said that this opens up avenues for people above 65 years to seek health coverage. “This may lead to better access to healthcare and reduced burden of medical expenditure for those in the age bracket,” he said.

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