Personal Finance

Health and wealth go hand-in-hand

Bavadharini KS | Updated on July 15, 2018 Published on July 15, 2018

The wellness initiative benefits policyholders by offering them discounts

Gone are the days when a health insurance policy covered only hospitalisation expenses. Now health insurance companies offer a range of value-added benefits. One such initiative are wellness programmes. It is a system wherein the insurer awards you reward points for staying healthy and you can use them to get discounts on premium. Here is a look at the wellness benefits of a few top health insurance players.

Benefits offered

Health insurance companies have a set of activities which can help you earn points. For instance, if you quit smoking, companies such as ICICI Lombard offer 100 reward points. ICICI Lombard also gives a maximum of 2,500 points if you enrol for yoga or take membership in a gym for a year. But the maximum points an individual can get is 5,000 and each point is equivalent to 25 paise.

Note that the programmes, rewards and benefits may vary with insurance companies. To monitor your health and guide you on the right diet, fitness regime and offer tips for a healthy lifestyle, the insurance companies offer services of a ‘wellness coach’.

With the accumulated reward points, you can get discounts or concessions on tests done at diagnostic centres, treatment taken at network hospitalsand OPD bills.

This example will help you understand better.

Say, if you opt for an Aditya Birla health plan, you can earn health returns (reward points) through accumulation of Active dayz. If you burn 300 calories in a day, you earn one Active day. If you have 7-9 Active dayz, you get about 12 per cent premium (maximum 30 per cent premium for a maximum of 13 Active dayz) as health returns. You can use the health returns to pay for the renewal premium; at diagnostic centres; buy medicines or pay for any health emergency, irrespective of whether it is covered by the policy.

Another notable benefit are the discounts offered on renewal premiums when you redeem the points earned.

These points are monitored by health insurance companies on real-time basis through mobile app or wearables such as Fit Bit that track your activity.

For instance, Apollo Munich’s Optima Restore and Easy Health policies offer a wellness benefit, wherein you get a maximum of 8 per cent discount on premium at the time of renewal if you take 10,000 steps in a day. Similarly, with Cigna TTK’s wellness programme – Pro Activ Living — the reward points can be used to get a maximum discount of 10 per cent on the renewal premium or redeem it for health maintenance, which include meeting OPD or pharmacy bills. If you subscribe for a particular programme, say, life-style management, you are eligible for reward points up to 1 per cent of premium. You will be assigned a health coach too which will offer you suggestions and recommendations on your eating habits and exercises. In addition to monetary benefits, wellness programmes also offer expert advice and counselling, second medical opinion for a critical surgery from empanelled doctors with the insurance company or even book a doctor’s appointment for you.

For instance, in Max Bupa’s Go Active plan, you can earn up to 1 lakh points a year by completing various targets. If you complete 5,000 steps a day (five times a week), you get 300 points and earn a maximum discount of 20 per cent on premium.

The Go Active customer will also get a maximum of 10 OPD consultations. Further, you can also avail behavioural assistance (three counselling sessions per adult per policy in a year) over the telephone. You also get free second medical opinion. The interaction with the health coach too adds points.

Policyholders with chronic conditions such as diabetics or hypertension can set goals and earn points. Health players such as Cigna TTK offer targeted wellness programme for such customers.

How to start?

Most wellness programmes offered are online and through mobile applications. To enrol in the programme, you need to purchase a company’s health insurance policy first and then download the mobile app of your health insurer. Once registered, you can sync your wearables such as Apple watch or Fit Bit with the mobile app. In some cases, the app itself will track your fitness activity. This will ensure you accumulate your points.

Since most of the wellness programmes are value-added benefits, there are no additional costs for the enrolment. The main objective for the insurance players is to reduce their costs in the long run as you would make fewer claims when you stay healthy.

Take heed

While the discounts and benefits offered by insurance players may be attractive and motivating, they may have their own limits. So, do not get carried away. Understand the key policy benefits and coverage before you sign up for the wellness programmes.

Published on July 15, 2018
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