Health Insurance in Chennai

Chennai is the cultural capital of India for its love of ancient temples, deep-rooted traditions, vibrant art and rich heritage. The city has one of the country's most advanced medical infrastructures, with people flying in from various countries for medical treatment. However, high healthcare costs in Chennai are a major challenge. Read on to know why people living in Chennai should prioritize their health and buy health insurance in Chennai.

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      Health Statistics of Chennai

      Take a look at some of the health statistics in Chennai:

      • 3 out of 10 adults suffer from obesity and type 2 diabetes in Chennai
      • More men die of cancer in Chennai even though more women are diagnosed with cancer
      • Breast cancer is the most prevalent among women in Chennai
      • Chennai has one of the highest number of obese people among metropolitan cities
      • Risk of type 2 diabetes is higher in people of Chennai due to air pollution
      • Chennai reports maximum malaria cases in Tamil Nadu

      Why Do You Need Health Insurance in Chennai?

      Here are some of the reasons why people of Chennai should purchase health insurance:

      1. High Risk of Air Pollution

        Air pollution is highly prevalent in Chennai. The PM 2.5 concentrate in the air is about 10 times more polluted than the WHO limits. The polluted air not only leads to respiratory problems but also increases the incidence of diabetes. If a resident of Chennai develops either of these health issues, its treatment can exhaust their savings in no time. However, those covered under health insurance can protect their hard-earned savings, as their insurance company will pay for their medical expenses.

      2. Increase in Water-borne Diseases

        The incidence of water-borne diseases is increasing in the coastal city of Chennai, which has witnessed multiple floods in the recent past. Contaminated water and food are the major reasons for such diseases that spike during the monsoon season. The need for hospitalization or frequent visits to the doctor can increase your medical bills substantially. But if you have a medical insurance policy, all your medical bills will be taken care of by your insurance provider.

      3. Prevalence of Vector-borne Diseases

        Every year, Chennai struggles with various vector-borne diseases, such as dengue, malaria, chikungunya, etc. Stagnant water across the city, especially during monsoon, becomes the breeding ground for mosquitoes that spread these vector-borne diseases. Fortunately, many insurers offer health insurance for vector-borne diseases, saving you from the financial stress of paying for the treatment expenses.

      4. High Cost of Healthcare Services

        Although medical tourism in Chennai is common with NRIs and foreigners visiting in huge numbers, healthcare services are very expensive. Hospitalization for just a few days can cost you lakhs of rupees. The only way to safeguard yourself from unforeseen medical expenses is by buying the best health plan. 

      5. Access to Quality Treatment

        Since healthcare services are costly in Chennai, many people compromise on the quality of the medical treatment. They tend to go for the affordable treatment instead of the best one available. With mediclaim insurance, you can avail the best-quality medical treatment without losing all your savings.

      Major Health Problems in Chennai

      Given below are some of the major health problems in Chennai:

      1. Diabetes

        The number of people suffering from diabetes in Chennai is increasing every year. As per the Indian Diabetes Research Foundation, people with diabetes in Chennai have increased by 8% in the last decade. In fact, 3 out of 10 adults in Chennai have diabetes.

      2. Obesity

        Obesity is also highly prevalent in Chennai. The incidence of obesity has increased by 16.3% in Chennai over the last 10 years. In fact, Chennai women are more obese than women in Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata.

      3. Cancer

        Cancer is a major health concern in Chennai. As per the Madras Metropolitan Tumor Registry, the incidence of breast cancer among Chennai women has increased by 7% in the last 15 years. On the other hand, stomach cancer is the most common among men in Chennai. 

      4. Dengue

        Dengue is also a common vector-borne disease in Chennai. The city reports dengue cases in large numbers every year. In fact, Chennai has reported more than 300 dengue cases by September 2023.

      5. Malaria

        Malaria continues to hold its presence in Chennai compared to its high incidence a few years back. The cases usually surge during the monsoon season. However, Chennai reports the highest number of malaria cases in the state

      How Much Health Insurance Coverage Do You Need in Chennai?

      If you live in Chennai and are looking to buy medical insurance, make sure to opt for a coverage amount that adequately covers you for the treatment of a critical illness in the city. As per experts, the sum insured of your health insurance policy should be at least half of your annual income. In the case of family health insurance, the sum insured should be sufficient to cover the medical expenses of all insured family members.

      Therefore, the people of Chennai should buy health insurance of at least Rs 10 lakh to beat medical inflation in the city. If you want to buy health insurance for your entire family, you must go for medical coverage of at least Rs 30 lakh. Since older people are more prone to lifestyle diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, a senior citizen health insurance policy of at least Rs 20 lakh is recommended.

      Health Insurance in Chennai for NRIs

      Non-Resident Indians or NRIs can buy health insurance in Chennai from an insurance company in India. This health insurance for NRIs can be used to cover the healthcare expenses incurred during their visit to Chennai. In case the NRI decides to shift back to India, the policy will be available for immediate use without the need to serve any waiting periods.

      Moreover, NRIs can also buy health insurance for parents living in Chennai. This will help you cover planned and emergency medical expenses incurred by their parents who stay in Chennai. Besides, NRIs can get a GST refund on health insurance premiums paid for a policy purchased from an insurer in India.

      People also read: GST Refund on Health Insurance for NRIs

      Is Government Health Insurance Enough to Cover Medical Expenses in Chennai?


      The Government of Tamil Nadu introduced the Chief Minister's Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (CMCHIS) in January 2012 to provide medical coverage to people with a weaker economic background. However, this government health insurance scheme is not enough to provide comprehensive health coverage to the people living in Chennai. 

      Check out the table below to know why the Chief Minister's Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme is not sufficient to cover the medical expenses incurred in Chennai:

      Categories Chief Minister's Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme Private Health Insurance
      Eligibility The scheme is available only to members of unorganized labour welfare boards and families with an annual income of Rs 72,000 or less. Anyone can buy a private health insurance policy regardless of income.
      Sum Insured Each family gets a sum insured of Rs 1 lakh per annum for a period of 4 years under the CMCHIS scheme. People can choose a sum insured of up to Rs 6 crore as per their budget and needs.
      Network Hospitals in Chennai CMCHIS promises more than 6 empanelled hospitals in the Chennai district, which is very few. Private health insurance plans come with a wide range of network hospitals.
      Procedures Covered The scheme covers 1090 procedures, 52 diagnostic procedures and 8 follow-up procedures. Coverage for all surgical procedures, day care procedures and diagnostic tests are available along with pre-hospitalization and post-hospitalization expenses, depending on the chosen plan.

      Wellness and Prevention Tips in Chennai

      Follow the tips given below to stay healthy in Chennai:

      • Drink only boiled water to avoid consumption of contaminated water in Chennai
      • Always wash your hands with a disinfectant soap before eating
      • Eat home-cooked meals instead of eating out in Chennai
      • Exercise regularly to maintain a healthy body weight
      • Keep your house in Chennai clean and prevent water contamination
      • Avoid moving around in floodwaters in Chennai to prevent the risk of infection
      • Make sure to treat any open cuts or wounds
      • Use mosquito-repellent and wear full sleeves clothes when going out in Chennai
      • Avoid going out on days when the Chennai air quality is extremely poor
      • Use air purifiers to purify the air indoors in Chennai
      • Avoid using water from open bore wells and tanks in Chennai
      • Eat a well-balanced meal that rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals
      Disclaimer: Policybazaar does not endorse, rate or recommend any particular insurer or insurance product offered by an insurer.

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