Health Insurers Also Offer Wellness Benefits, Do You Know Them?

The urban lifestyle and increasing workload have put a lot of people under stress these days. While health happens to be a crucial aspect of our well-being, in today’s time it is often overlooked and ignored. Hence, it would be a surprise, if you were told that you would be rewarded for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Of late, health insurance plans often offer wellness benefits that come as an incentive to policyholders to prioritize their health. In a typical wellness program, the policyholder gets credited with reward points for inculcating healthy habits. Indicators of a healthy lifestyle would be clearly stated in the policy document.

The insurance company regularly monitors the insured’s progress through digital devices or mobile apps. The reward points can be redeemed to avail of a discount on the policy premium or a concession on medical bills or consultation fees, etc.

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has called for wellness features to be incorporated as preventive measures in health insurance plans in order to promote healthy living and fitness.

The regulator has issued a new set of guidelines, thereby replacing the 2013 version of the rules. The new guidelines suggest that health insurers can now start providing benefits in the form of services offered by network hospitals or other empaneled service providers (or discounts on the same).

According to experts, health insurers include wellness benefits in their insurance plans to stand out from other insurers as well as encourage policyholders to choose a healthy lifestyle. Typically, such wellness benefits are added to increase the market competition, and at the same time, drive the customers’ needs. The wellness benefits under the health plan come in the form of points, also known as wellness points or reward points.

Here are some of the wellness benefits one can avail of in health insurance plans.

Reward points to promote a healthy lifestyle: You can use these reward points to get discounts for different medical tests and check-ups at all diagnostic centers and network hospitals. Also, you can redeem the points to get membership at a discounted rate at different wellness centers, such as yoga centers, gymnasiums, and so on.

A personal wellness coach: A lot of insurers also provide a mentor or a wellness coach with the wellness program. The coach is like a lifestyle mentor who advises the insured on his/her dietary intake, exercise routine, nutrition balance, helping to quit bad habits, such as smoking, maintaining a good body mass index, and so on.

“The coach sets realistic targets for the policyholders. On achieving the target, the insured gets rewarded with redeemable points,” says Bhabatosh Mishra, director of underwriting, products and claims, Niva Bupa Health Insurance.

Concessions on renewal: Insurers also offer exciting concessions on wellness benefit plans. Such plans are available free of charge, and do not require the insured to pay anything extra to the insurer. There is no need for one to enroll separately in the wellness program plan. The insured gets enrolled as soon as he/she or his/her family gets insured under the individual or family health insurance plan.

Second medical opinion: Some of the health insurance plans also come with the additional feature of the second medical opinion wellness option. Under this feature, in case of any chronic or severe medical condition, the insured can seek a second medical opinion free of cost.

“But you must be clear that no medical company would be responsible for any errors that arise in the medical opinion,” added Mishra.

As all these benefits and features differ from insurer to insurer, hence, it is advisable that one thoroughly reads through the terms and conditions to avail the best of the available offers.

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