India's health insurance market is expected to see robust growth over the next four years, according to a new report from UK based research firm BRICdata.

The reports lists robust economic growth, changing demographic patterns such as the rise in double-income no kids families, increased FDI limits and the expansion of distribution channels as the factors that will support health insurance growth in the country.

The report found that of the overall healthcare expenditure in India, only 26% comes from the local, state and central government authorities, while nearly 71% is paid by the patient’s family.

Insurance accounts for just 3% of overall healthcare expenditure in India, indicating a substantial opportunity for the health insurance sector.

The health insurance market is dominated by public-sector companies, while the private sector has made gradual progress in the sector.

In 2011, the India’s health insurance market accounted for only 3.2% of the overall insurance industry.

The driving factors for the health insurance sector are rising healthcare expenditure, increasing disposable income and the rise in population with affluent lifestyles.

During the review period 2007-2011, the penetration of Indian health insurance products increased from 0.07% in 2007 to 0.19% in 2011, as many new policies were sold in rural India.

The top six private health insurance companies increased their cumulative market share from 17.2% to 29.1% during the review period.

The report concludes that one of the key challenges for the health insurance market is the low coverage of plans in terms of both the diseases and the hospitals covered.

The full report ‘Business and Investment Opportunity in the Indian Health Insurance Industry: Analyses and Forecasts to 2016’ is available from BRICdata. Click here for more details.