In order to align with the changing consumer behaviour towards wellness activities, wellness players are now gearing up to shift their focus from curative healthcare mass offerings to preventive healthcare and personalised services to meet the individual healthcare needs. Siddharth Kumar, Founder, HelloDoc reveals more
Healthcare costs are sky-rocketing around the world. Especially in India, when the majority of the population lives below the poverty line, rising healthcare cost negatively affects access to affordable and quality healthcare services.
Most of the time, people from the marginalised sections of society end up selling property and jewellery to pay their medical bills. Because of low priority and budget on the primary healthcare centres, rural and semi-urban residents are deprived of fast and quality healthcare services and private healthcare is too prohibitively expensive.
Transplantation of organs, management of chronic diseases, treatment of chronic diseases like cancer, heart ailments, cosmetic surgery, etc. cost lakhs and lakhs of rupees. Health insurance provided by corporates sometimes covers a part of the medical bills. Redseer report revealed that despite the growing awareness about health insurance, only one-fourth of the population is covered under some sort of health insurance. Of the 24 per cent covered, only 6 per cent of the population is covered under non-government schemes.
According to a study published in the British Medical Journal, the proportion of the population reporting out-of-pocket (OOP) payments on medicines has increased from about 60 per cent in 1993-1994 to 80 per cent in 2011-12.
In 2011-12, OOP for medicines pushed about 3.8 crore persons into poverty, of the 5.5 crore that were impoverished due to total health costs, including lab tests, diagnostics, doctor and surgeon fees. The leading cause of diseases that caused significant OOP payments are cancers, injuries, cardiovascular diseases, genitourinary conditions and mental disorders.
Outpatient expenses including medical check-ups, doctor fees, and medicines account for a higher chunk of costs than just actual hospitalisation expenses. Higher medical spends without a demonstrable return on investment will continue to be a challenge, revealed a report by a report by Mercer Marsh Benefits.
The report adds that respondents from Asia (including India) said that increased non-communicable diseases (like heart disease, cancers, stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, mental illness and kidney diseases) will increase employer-sponsored healthcare costs over the next three years.
Growing health concern and awareness towards wellness and preventive healthcare
With the cost of healthcare services becoming expensive by each passing day, the shift towards preventive healthcare will witness positive healthcare benefits and save millions in paying medical bills and providing employee health benefits (for corporates). Healthy eating habits of the consumers and the active participation in the various fitness and wellness programme will add fuel to the growing preventive healthcare market in India.
According to a report by Redseer titled “Indian Habit of Being Healthy”, the preventive healthcare segment is expected to touch $100 billion by 2022, growing from $55 billion in 2018 at a CAGR of 18 per cent, outpacing the healthcare and consumer space. Healthy consumption at 30 per cent, followed by fitness at 27 per cent has the largest share of this pie.
Mega sectors of the preventive healthcare segment such as recreational sports, wellness therapies, fitness wearable devices and healthy meal delivery have grown substantially and are the key drivers of the growth of the industry.
India has witnessed an increase in the population between the age of 15-59 years and is expected to rise to 63 per cent by 2021 from 60 per cent in 2011. People today are becoming more concerned about wellness owing to the growing health issues such as obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and other chronic diseases. The working population suffers stress and mental illnesses because of the busy schedules, polluted air and competitive work environment.
The Redseer report said that India is seen as diabetes and coronary heart disease capital of the world. Around 50 per cent of all heart attacks in India occur under the age of 50 years. The population living in cities are three times more prone to heart attacks than people living in villages.
Increasing awareness and concern about healthy living and the consumption of preventive healthcare services are gaining momentum among mostly among urban Indians. 80 per cent of affluent urban Indians are very driven when it comes to integrating physical fitness, mental wellness, nutrition filled food to everyday lifestyle.
With parents beginning to take fitness and healthy eating habits seriously, children at a very young age have now started to become very health conscious and therefore getting accustomed to the preventive healthcare culture.
Preventive healthcare is no longer just an option
Increasing healthcare costs, a sharp rise in lifestyle diseases and unhealthy eating habits in the last decade intrigued healthcare professionals to promote wellness and preventive healthcare by encouraging behavioural change for a healthy lifestyle.
Government of India has also lately realised the significance of wellness programmes to reduce healthcare expenditure and encourage healthy living. Initiatives like International Yoga Day and the formation of the Ministry of AYUSH speaks out loud the government’s intention to promote traditional health practices such as Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Yoga, Naturopathy and Homoeopathy.
Health insurance alone cannot solve the health-related concerns but the integration with wellness offerings will ensure the healthy lifestyle of the consumers. Wellness programmes are becoming very prevalent in our society owing to the rising concerns related to lifestyle diseases and societal changes. In an attempt to reduce the cost of chronic diseases and claims, insurance providers are trying to inculcate the culture of preventive healthcare among individuals. And this will help employers save money on employee health benefits expenses and strive to create a healthy workforce. Employees should be encouraged to take control of their health and well-being, and get enrolled in wellness programs for continuous participation to improve personal health.
In order to align with the changing consumer behaviour towards wellness activities, wellness players are now gearing up to shift their focus from curative healthcare mass offerings to preventive healthcare and personalised services to meet the individual healthcare needs.