Interim Budget 2019 Reaction - Ashish Mehrotra, MD & CEO, Max Bupa Health Insurance
"It's heartening to see the Government's continued thrust towards building a Digital India and providing Universal Health Insurance Coverage to about 80% of the Indian population which is grossly underpenetrated. We wholeheartedly support the Government's resolve to make preventive healthcare and health insurance more affordable for the masses. Ayushman Bharat has the potential to alter the social fabric of the country and with the announcement of two major initiatives - Health and Wellness Centres (HWCs) and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (PMJAY), the world's largest social health scheme is expected to provide coverage to nearly 50 crore people.
This year, the announcement of a National Centre for Artificial Intelligence, National AI portal, support to digital start ups and setting up of Centres of Excellence, is a crucial step towards realizing the vision of building a Digital India. Specifically from a health insurance perspective, AI has the power to revolutionize the sector - personalising, improving and streamlining processes from underwriting, claims management, to even product design and innovation. With greater focus on digitization, the play of health tech in the health insurance space will encourage players to provide customers a complete health and wellness ecosystem.
The budget has also been encouraging for the common man with increased income tax relief coming their way.
However, as a health insurer, we believe the introduction of Reduced/No GST slab for health insurance would have been a significant driver to increase health insurance penetration in the country. Nonetheless, the overall budget has been reflective of the efforts made by the government to build a healthier nation."