It is no secret that the state of Indian healthcare is concerning and a potential crisis in the making, unless addressed urgently. Affordable healthcare or lack thereof is a key factor contributing to this situation apart from lack of health insurance for most Indians.
As India’s economy expanded over the decades, health spending by the Govt. at just 1.4% of the GDP has not kept up pace. While the recently announced National Health Protection Scheme is a welcome move, it is limited only to secondary and tertiary care and falls well short of a universal coverage. On the flip side, there is an acute shortage of skilled workforce with only 0.7 doctors and 1.1 nurses per 1000 population. Primary health in the country is in shambles.
Every year some 70 Million Indians fall back into poverty due to high out-of-pocket medical expenses, but affordability is equally a concern for middle income households. Low private health insurance penetration means a vast majority of these Indian households struggle to pay for their healthcare needs. The pain is all the more acute when paying in lump sum. Due to lack of proper insurance cover, about 5% of Indian households see more than 20% of their annual income erode. No one should have to choose between life saving medical help and survival of their family.
In April 2016 at a Kstart IC, Tejbir Singh, Co-founder & CEO of AffordPlan, presented his company’s vision to
“making healthcare affordable through planned savings for medical expenses”
His passionate pitch along with AffordPlan’s strong founding team credentials found a ready audience with us. AffordPlan’s solution which is tailor-made for Indian households with annual incomes between 2 and 10 lakhs instantly resonated with us.
Unfortunately, hospitals often have to turn patients away when they see an inability to pay for treatment in a single large payment, and a lack of insurance cover. AffordPlan’s savings plan enables patients to plan and execute non-emergency medical procedures such as knee replacement, cataract removal, pregnancies etc. It allows users pick a hospital of their choice from a list of empaneled hospitals and also offers discounts on OPD, lab tests, medicines etc.
AffordPlan’s solution not only makes healthcare more affordable but also gives the 300 Million strong Indian middle class access to quality healthcare, as it partners with a network of accredited and reputed hospitals. At the same time, it creates opportunities for hospitals to serve more patients.
We at Kalaari believe that technology innovation is key to tackling the fundamental issues dogging access, affordability, and quality in healthcare in India. Startups like AffordPlan are seizing on this challenge and turning a crisis into an opportunity. With this round of funding, we reiterate our faith in the team and the vision they are working towards.
We are heartened by the progress the company has achieved since our first investment and we are excited to continue being a part of AffordPlan’s journey as they scale and expand pan-India. We wish Tejbir, Hemal and their team continued success!
Acknowledging Karteek Pulapaka, a contributor to this article. Karteek is a Kstart fellow.
Note — Kalaari and Kstart are investors in AffordPlan. Kalaari or Kstart is not an investor in any other startups that may have been mentioned above.
Disclaimer : It is strictly an independent opinion of the writer, not representative of Kstart or Kalaari.
Read more stories at The Perch: Kstart’s resource central for startups.