By: Lakshay Aggarwal, Research Analyst II, Ken Research
Dental Insurance is not new to India. It was first started by Ocare in 2015, through a plan worth INR 999 providing dental treatment coverage for Root Canal, Tooth Extraction, Crowns and Bridges etc. However, Ocare shut down its operations in 2017 after selling 100,000+ policies during its stint.
Till date, India lacks a standalone Dental Insurance Provider and it is pertinent to understand why India cannot adopt a model similar to developed countries.
In conversation with Amar Singh, Founder & CEO at Clove Dental, we attempted to seek his opinion and understand his side of story to Dental Insurance in India. Here are some excerpts of the interview:
What are the current challenges to Dental Insurance in India?
Insurance is a business of probability and considering the high incident rate of dental diseases among population, it is pertinent to also understand the customer paying capacity before pricing insurance product. Another major challenge is reliability of suppliers, agreeing to follow a standardized pricing model and adhering to quality assuring treatment procedures.
How are these challenges being overcome by Clove?
Standardized pricing across 350+ chain clinics and digitized patient records coupled with treatment audits done by our team at Clove ensures that patient receives a quality adhered treatment and is fairly charged for the same. Moreover, the basic & platinum membership plans run by Clove also substantiate the fact that patients wants to establish long term relationships with us by paying a defined amount upfront. (According to Ken Research Estimates, 25,000+ live families are availing the Platinum Membership Plan, as at end of December’19.)
Why do you say that Dental Insurance Network Coverage must start off with Corporate Chain Clinics?
In India, Chain clinics are an emerging trend and are working towards solving the lack of infrastructure of Dental Facilities in India. Standardized Pricing, Standard Operating Procedures, Defined End-Point, Access across different cities, Empanelled Dentists etc. are some key features, making the case for efficient network coverage of Insurance.
Learning from USA, India could adopt model of Dental Treatment Plan working on the similar lines of Insurance provided given challenges are being addressed by all the stakeholders.
How according to you is the right way for dental insurance implementation in India?
I believe that for the product to be economically viable, different treatment coverage must be accurately priced and pilot testing must begin with partnering with corporate chain clinics.
“We would definitely want to explore such opportunities aimed at creating win-win situation for all stakeholders and improving the infrastructure, awareness for Oral Care among Indian population”, said Mr. Singh when asked about Clove’s strategy to partner with Dental Insurance Provider.
Analyst Comment: Dental Insurance could be a reality only if it witnesses collective effort from all stakeholders, especially Regulatory Authorities, which need to upgrade the healthcare infrastructure and consider revising the treatment prices under different schemes.
This interview was conducted as a part of project titled ‘Feasibility of Dental Insurance in India’. Read our Interview with Dr. Neeraj Sheth, Founder & CEO at Ocare, here.
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Director Ken Research