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Health Insurance

Best Health Insurance Companies in India

Quick Take: To compare health insurance companies in India, you’ll have to look at claim settlement numbers, network hospitals, operational efficiencies, net promoter score, company track record, the scale of business and product portfolio. Once you have this data, you can then rank insurers based on the metrics you want to prioritize.

We did this based on our subjective assessment and according to us, these are the best health insurance companies in India in 2024

Company

CLAIM SETTLEMENT RATIO

(avg. of last 3 years)

Network HospitalsGross Written Premium (2020-21)Track RecordRating out of 5
HDFC Ergo98%11,300+₹4,281.6 Cr20 years4.42
Care90%16,000+₹2,559.75 Cr10 years4.3
Niva Bupa (erstwhile Max Bupa)91%10,000+₹1,750.78 Cr14 years4
Bajaj Allianz95%8,000+₹2,301.74 Cr21 years3.92
ICICI Lombard85%7,500+₹3,021.35 Cr21 years3.65
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Introduction

There are 31 health insurance companies in India. 5 Stand Alone health insurers and 26 General Insurers.

Standalone health insurance companies are insurance companies that only sell health policies and nothing else. In 2012, Star Health Insurance became the first institution to set up a standalone health insurance company in India. Since then, 4 other companies have gone down the same route. And together they market over 15 policies with a whole host of features and coverage.

General Health Insurance companies are those that dabble with health, motor, and other non-life policies. In this section, however, we will restrict the analysis to general health insurance companies that market at least one health insurance policy.

Difference between Standalone health insurance companies and general insurance companies

From a buyer’s perspective, there isn’t a lot of difference when you compare health policies marketed by general insurance companies and standalone health insurers. For instance, you can’t automatically assume that a standalone health insurer will offer a better experience since they specialize in this domain. In our experience, we’ve seen general insurance companies do far better than standalone health insurance companies on several occasions. So that analysis is fraught with issues.

However, it must be noted that a standalone health insurer will likely have a better suite of products for a wide audience base, whereas a general insurance company may not have as many products. So if you’re looking to buy a policy for a very specific use case you’d be better off picking a standalone health insurance company.

Now that we have the basics sorted, let’s look at the next item.

How to compare health insurance companies?

When you are comparing different health insurance companies you have to rank them along a series of objective metrics before you take the final call. What do these metrics look like? Let’s start with the basics.

Historical Track Record:

Imagine a company that’s only been in business for a few odd months. It’s almost impossible to assess if the insurer holds potential. So you’re likely taking a gamble when you pick a policy from their basket. However, if you have a company that already has an extensive track record, then you can build a comprehensive assessment.

For instance, a young company with only a track record of a couple of years could post stellar claim settlement numbers, and offer amazing customer service. But it’s entirely possible that these numbers may go for a toss as they scale their business. On the flip side, if you have an insurance company that has been in the business for a while posting consistent numbers, you could expect them to do similar figures going ahead. You also don’t have to worry about potential issues that could crop up when they scale their business. So our suggestion is to always look at a company’s track record before you zero in on an insurer.

And if you have trouble doing this yourself, here’s a list of the top 5 insurance companies in India with the longest track record.

CompanyTrack Record
National Insurance116 years
New India Assurance103 years
United Insurance84 years
Oriental Insurance75 years
IFFCO Tokio22 years

If you look at the table above, you will see a peculiar pattern. All these companies are state-run, because the insurance sector in India was only privatized in 2000. Meaning most private companies have a track record of less than 22 years. However, any company with a track record of 10 years or greater would be a good bet. A company with a track record of 5 years and above is decent. And we generally urge people to avoid any company with a track record of less than 5 years.

Operational proficiency:

Based on the ranking above, you’d think that state-run companies are a better bet, considering their extensive track record. But the truth is that state-run companies usually have a bad reputation within the industry. They’re very slow in processing applications. It’s extremely hard to get a hold of customer care executives in these large public enterprises. And the claim settlement process is laborious. So you could argue that the table above is meaningless unless you take into account other metrics–like operations efficiencies.

But what do we really mean when we say operational proficiency? Well, operational proficiency deals with the end-to-end process–right from filling out the application to making the claim. If an insurer offers a smooth journey throughout, then you could argue that they’re operationally robust. On the other hand, if you see customer complaints, poor response time and sub-par claim settlement processes, it’s safe to say that they won’t rank well on operational efficiency.

And as a general rule of thumb, private insurers do better than state-run insurers in this department.

But even amongst private insurers, you have some who are more in tune with their customers and others who don’t care as much. Once again, it’s not easy to tell them apart. But you could scour the web for some data points. You’ll find information on customer complaints, performance surveys, social media acceptance online. And you may have to put them all together to form an opinion. On the flip side, you could also talk to insurance experts, like our and take our help in this matter.

Product Portfolio:

Product portfolio matters if you are looking to buy policies for a specific use case. For instance, some companies offer products for a wide range of use cases. They offer affordable policies with bare minimum features, they offer comprehensive policies with a whole host of must-have features and premium policies that cover everything– right from dental complications to maternity expenses. Even others offer policies for special use cases i.e. senior citizens, cancer patients, diabetics and those with serious health complications.

So here we will list down companies who have an extensive product portfolio

CompanyAffordable OptionComprehensive OptionsPremium OptionsDiabetic Specific policyCancer Specific policyHeart Specific policySenior Citizen Options
HDFC ErgomyHealth SurakshaOptima Secure, Optima RestoreNoneEnergy silver, Energy GoldNoneNoneOptime Secure
CareCare AdvantageCare PlusCareCare ClassicCare FreedomCare HeartCare Senior
Niva BupaReAssureReAssureHealth Premia, HeartbeatNoneNoneNoneSenior First
Bajaj AllianzHealth Guard Silver, Health Ensure FamilyHealth Guard Gold, PlatinumHealth Care SupremeNoneNoneNoneSilver Health

Network Hospitals:

Insurance companies partner and work with a few hospitals in the hope of offering customers a completely cashless journey during the claim settlement process. Meaning if you ever visited a network hospital, then you’d technically be able to make a claim without paying a single penny out of pocket. On the other hand, if you were hospitalized in a non-network institution, then you’d have to pay the bills yourself and wait for reimbursement. Which once again, can be a painstaking process. So clearly, being admitted to a network hospital can save you a lot of time and money.

However, not every company partners with every hospital out there. Some companies have partnered with over 10,000 hospitals. Even others have less than a few thousand hospitals on their platform.

In our experience, any insurer with a hospital network spanning 8000+ hospitals is a decent bet. Anything between 5,000 and 8,000 is okay. And less than 5,000 is a no-no.

With that said, here’s a list of the top 10 insurers with the largest hospital network.

CompanyNetwork Hospitals
HDFC Ergo11,300+
Star Health14,000+
SBI6,000+
Digit16,400+
Niva Bupa (erstwhile Max Bupa)10,000+
Care16,000+
Bajaj Allianz8,000+
Iffco Tokio7,000+
National Insurance3,200+
Royal Sundaram10,000+

Claim Settlement Ratio:

Claim settlement ratio tells you about the percentage of claims settled by an insurer during a specified period. Put another way, a claim settlement ratio of 90 tells you that the insurance company settled 90 claims for every 100 claims they book during the year.

The figure is calculated using the formula: Claims settled / (Claims booked + Claims outstanding at the beginning — Claims outstanding at the end)

In our opinion, a claim settlement ratio of 90% and above is stellar. A claim settlement ratio of 80-90% is decent. And anything less than 80% is a no-go.

Here’s a list of companies with the highest claim settlement ratios for FY2020-2021

Company

CLAIM SETTLEMENT RATIO

(avg. of last 3 years)

New India Assurance99%
Apollo Munich (now HDFC ERGO)98%
HDFC Ergo98%
SBI97%
Digit97%
Oriental Insurance96%
TATA AIG96%
Acko96%
Iffco Tokio95%
Universal Sompo95%
Aditya Birla95%
Bajaj Allianz95%
Royal Sundaram94%
United India94%
National Insurance93%
Edelweiss92%
Niva Bupa (erstwhile Max Bupa)91%
Care90%
Manipal Cigna90%
Reliance89%
ICICI Lombard85%
Bharti Axa85%
Star Health83%
Navi64%

Conclusion: Once you take into consideration all the factors mentioned above, you can make your own list of the top insurers based on what attributes you prioritize. Based on our priorities we made a list and this is what it looks like.

Best Health Insurance companies in 2024:

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List of Health Insurance Companies in India

Acko

Acko

Acko, founded in 2016 and backed by Amazon is a tech-first insurance company that recently entered the health industry. And despite not having the most extensive track record, they have managed to market products that are truly affordable.

They also have a claim settlement ratio of 96% alongside 10,000+ network hospitals and they are brimming with potential.

Apollo Munich

Apollo Munich (now HDFC ERGO)

Founded in the year 2002, the company is a joint venture between India’s HDFC and Germany’s ERGO International AG. It offers policies across motor, travel, health and other sectors. And it also happens to be one of the largest insurers in the country.

More importantly, HDFC Ergo boasts a claim settlement ratio of 98%, with a network of 11,300+ hospitals

All in all, an impressive resume.

Bharti Axa

Bharti Axa

Bharti Axa is a joint venture set up by Bharti Enterprises and Axa Health (UK’s leading Health Insurance Company). The company started its operations in 2005 and after being acquired by ICICI Lombard in 2021, they are now one of the largest leading online insurance companies in India.

Having said that, however, the company boasts a measly claim settlement ratio of about 85% and only has a sparse network of 4,500 hospitals PAN India. Not exactly stellar.

Digit

Digit

Digit Insurance is a 4-year-old InsurTech start-up financed by the Fairfax Group, a prominent Financial Services company. And despite not having the most extensive track record, they have managed to market products that are truly affordable.

They also have a claim settlement ratio of 97% alongside 16,400+ network hospitals and they are brimming with potential.

HDFC Ergo

HDFC Ergo

Founded in the year 2002, the company is a joint venture between India’s HDFC and Germany’s ERGO International AG. It offers policies across motor, travel, health and other sectors. And it also happens to be one of the largest insurers in the country.

More importantly, HDFC Ergo boasts a claim settlement ratio of 98%, with a network of 11,300+ hospitals

All in all, an impressive resume.

Iffco Tokio

Iffco Tokio

Iffco Tokio is a joint venture between Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), a government-owned fertilizer company, and Japan-based Tokio Marine Group. They have a sizable presence in many rural markets, however, their presence in urban areas isn't exactly extraordinary.

The company has a network of over 7,000 hospitals and its CSR ratio isn’t useful, since they have been settling a lot of pending claims from last year.

Max Bupa

Niva Bupa (erstwhile Max Bupa)

Founded in 2008, Niva Bupa (erstwhile Max Bupa) is one of the leading health insurance companies in India. While they have had a bit of a tumultuous time with their promoters, they still sell an impressive suite of products across multiple categories.

And they also boast a claim settlement ratio of 91%, with a network of more than 10,000+ hospitals.

Navi

Navi

Navi Insurance is an emerging general insurance company that started its operations in November 2017. Although it has remained active for only 4 years, it offers a whole host of insurance products like Health, Motor, Travel, and Home Insurance. Under Health, it offers a single policy with benefits like Maternity and Health check-ups.

Oriental Insurance

Oriental Insurance

Oriental Insurance is a government-owned company that offers health, vehicle, business, and farmer insurance. The company is a fully-owned component of the Oriental Government Security Life Assurance Company Ltd.

Now because it is a government-owned insurance firm, you can’t expect operational efficiencies across the board. Although, the company does boast a fairly high claim settlement ratio with over 3,264 network hospitals across the country.

Royal Sundaram

Royal Sundaram

Founded in 2001, Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Company Limited was India's maiden private sector general insurance company. The insurer is a forerunner in the bancassurance department, extending deep ties with reputable banks and Non-Banking Finance Companies across the country.

They also have a claim settlement ratio of 94% and 10,000+ network hospitals dotted across the country.

Star Health

Star Health

Star Health Insurance is India's first standalone health insurance firm. And with an army of retail advisors pushing their products across the country, they’ve managed to capture a fair share of the Indian market.

The company also boasts a network of over 14,000+ hospitals and a decent claim settlement ratio of 83%.

United India

United India

United India General Insurance company is an amalgamation of 22 different entities. The insurer has played an integral part in underwriting numerous government insurance schemes like - Maharashtra Government’s Mahathma Jyothiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana Health Insurance Scheme (2020) & Prime Minister Suraksha Bima Yojana.

However, since it is a government-owned insurance firm, it’s not the most nimble insurance company out there.

Aditya Birla

Aditya Birla

The company only began operations in the year 2016 as a subsidiary of Aditya Birla Capital Ltd., which in turn happens to be a joint venture between the famed Aditya Birla Group and MMI Holdings (South Africa).

While the company boasts a claim settlement ratio of 95% along with a network of more than 11,000+ hospitals, do remember they’ve only been in the market for a few years now. So they don’t have an extensive track record.

Bajaj Allianz

Bajaj Allianz

Founded in 2001, the company is a joint venture between Bajaj Finserv Limited (of the Bajaj Group) and Allianz SE, a German financial services corporation.

And while they may not be the biggest insurer out there, they do have a claim settlement ratio of 95%, with a network of more than 8,000 hospitals.

Care

Care

Care Health Insurance (formerly Religare Health Insurance) was founded in 2012. And in that time, they’ve managed to corner a large part of the Indian Insurance market.

What’s more impressive?

Care Health Insurance has a remarkable claim settlement ratio of 90% and a network of more than 16,000+ hospitals.

Edelweiss

Edelweiss

Edelweiss Health Insurance company was founded in 2017 when they were hived off the homegrown Edelweiss Financial Services Limited. The company provides an array of products across multiple categories and they boast a claim settlement ratio of almost 92% with more than 6,200 network hospitals.

The only problem is - They’re still trying to find a firm foothold in the market.

ICICI Lombard

ICICI Lombard

ICICI Lombard Health Insurance company is a joint venture between India's ICICI Bank and Canada's Fairfax Holdings. They are one of the leading insurance companies with over 270 branches spread across India.

However, with a claim settlement ratio of 85% and a measly network of 7,500+ hospitals, their performance needs significant improvement.

Manipal Cigna

Manipal Cigna

ManipalCigna Health Insurance Company is a collaborative partnership between Manipal Group and Cigna and together they have over 200 years of expertise in the healthcare business. And while the company has shown some potential recently, it still only corners a small part of the Indian market.

Also, they have a settlement ratio of 90% with more than 8,500+ network hospitals in tow.

National Insurance

National Insurance

National Insurance is the country's oldest general insurance firm and is wholly owned by the Government of India. That means, despite a claim settlement ratio of 93% and over 3,200 network hospitals it can be a bit difficult to reach the insurer when you need them the most. Perhaps due to the fact that they are still a public sector enterprise.

New India Assurance

New India Assurance

New India Assurance, is a government-owned insurance firm that was established in 1919. Their insurance portfolio includes Health, Motor, Travel, and Marine products. But despite being in the business for so long, they’re not the most efficient when it comes to processing your application and dealing with your claims.

And that means, even with a relatively high claim settlement ratio and 3,139 network hospitals, the company isn’t exactly a stellar performer.

Reliance

Reliance

Reliance General Insurance, part of the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, entered the health insurance industry in 2000 but has not gained significant market share over the past two decades.

They also have a claim settlement ratio of 89% alongside 9,100+ network hospitals.

SBI

SBI

SBI General Insurance Company Limited is a joint venture between the State Bank of India and Insurance Australia Group (IAG). The firm, which was founded in 2008, offers insurance products in the areas of auto, travel, home, and health.

However considering they are a part of India’s largest government-owned banking firm, you can expect a bit of dilly-dallying during the claims process. And their claim settlement ratio of 97% isn’t something to boast of either.

TATA AIG

TATA AIG

Tata AIG Health Insurance company is a joint venture between the Tata Group and American International Group. It was founded in 2001 and it’s one of the few companies that market products that are truly comprehensive, albeit expensive.

The company also boasts a claim settlement ratio of 96% with over 10,000 network hospitals across India.

Universal Sompo

Universal Sompo

Universal Sompo General Insurance Company is a public-private venture floated by two nationalized banks (Indian Overseas Bank and Allahabad Bank), one private bank (Karnataka Bank), an FMCG giant (Dabur Investment Corporation), and a well-known Japanese insurance firm (Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Incorporation).

The insurer also sells 135 IRDAI approved products and boasts over 5,000 network hospitals with a claim setllement ratio of 95%. Needless to say, the company isn’t exactly stellar when it comes to processing claims.

FAQs about Health Insurance Companies:

1. How many Health Insurance companies are there in India?

India has 31 health insurance companies. Of these, 26 are general insurance providers and the rest 5 are standalone health insurance companies.

2. Can I port my policy from one Health Insurance company to another one?

Yes, you can.

Medical inflation and COVID-19 have led to the growing necessity and reliance on financial coverage options for healthcare expenses. Subsequently, now the insurance market has more players with diverse and lucrative offers and perks in the coverage plans.

To ensure that policyholders have the option to avail the most suitable policy cover, the IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) enabled the portability option in 2011.

However, before you opt for the portability option, it’s crucial that you understand the why, the how, and the when! Here’s a detailed article that will be your perfect guide!

3. Which are the best Health Insurance companies on the basis of Claim Settlement Ratio (CSR)?

A higher CSR of a health insurance provider is indicative of the company’s claim settlement ability and history. This also serves as one of the pivotal determiners when choosing your healthcare insurance partner.

Here’s a look at the top 5 health insurance providers based on their CSR -

CompanyCLAIM SETTLEMENT RATIO

(avg of last 3 years)

New India Assurance99%
Apollo Munich (now HDFC ERGO)98%
HDFC Ergo98%
Digit97%
SBI97%