“Healthcare expenditure is a major cost for most Indians today as almost 62% of the healthcare spending is currently Out of Pocket. Financial pressure on individuals from such expenditure is constantly increasing given the high rate of medical inflation in India (12%-15%). We expect the Budget (2018) to be a ‘healthy’ one for all Indians and look forward to the government increasing its spending on public health cover as well as incentivizing health insurance purchase. Incentives could be in the form of a lower GST slab for health insurance premiums paid from the existing 18% to 5% and higher tax benefits under Section 80D. Additionally, to encourage people to insure themselves for a longer period, tax exemption should be available each year based on number of years covered. Alternatively, tax exemption can be multiplied by number of years of coverage. Tax benefits will help boost penetration of health insurance as well as help nurture a culture of preventive healthcare in India. For specialized health insurance companies, period of carry forward of business loss and depreciation should be extended to at least 12 years.”
Ashish Mehrotra, MD & CEO, Max Bupa Health Insurance
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