Some people are reluctant to buy policies
Even though there are numerous health insurance policies, people living in rural areas are either unaware of them or reluctant to avail of them.
Amir Pasha, a resident of Doddaballapur in Bengaluru Rural, informed The Observer he knows about various health insurance policies of the government and private companies but will not avail of their benefits. Asked why, he could not give a clear answer.
Rajashekhar, who runs a grocery shop, said he has insurance provided by the National Insurance Company, while Mumtaz (name changed), a homemaker, said she is unaware of health insurance schemes.
Rakshit Gowda, a tea stall owner, said he has benefited from health insurance provided by LIC. His insurance agent knows the insurance policies he has subscribed to.
Prakash, a 61-year-old in Doddaballapur, shared that his insurance policy under Ayushman Bharat covered the cost of his spine surgery.
According to the National Survey Office (NSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, only 14 per cent of the rural population said they had health coverage.
S.P. Nagaraj, an insurance agent and consultant of New India Assurance Ltd, explained: “Lack of knowledge and education among the villagers is the reason for many of them not availing of health insurance services. Insurance agents have done door-to-door campaigning about health insurance policies but most of them met with disappointment as rural people are not interested….”
People living in villages do not understand the terms and conditions under which health insurance is provided. Most cases want immediate returns after buying a policy. Owing to insufficient knowledge, they accuse insurance companies of making false promises, Nagaraj shared.
Health insurance is the last thing rural people want to avail.
Insurance companies were supposed to campaign among newlyweds and pregnant women for a scheme for children born with deformities and genetic disorders. It provides an immediate cover for up to Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh for a disabled child. Insurance agents failed as people refused to believe that a child in their home could be born with a deformity.
Poonam Rani, deputy manager of the National Insurance Company, said rural people at times think they do not need insurance as they can get free treatment. Insurance companies are trying hard to penetrate rural areas but are met with strong resistance from people.