No Room Rent Capping | No Medical Check-up up to 55yrs | Tax Benefit up to 75k | Buy Health Insurance starting @ ₹244 pm

The History of Health Insurance in India

The health insurance sector is only a few decades old in India. However, did you know? It is entrenched in our history with traces found in writings of Yagnavalkya (Dharmashastra), Manu (Manusmithi), and Kautilya (Arthashastra). These writings mention how the pooling of resources can be redistributed at the time of calamities like flood, earthquake, epidemics, and other disasters.


The first person to suggest the concept of health insurance was Hugh, the elder Chamberlen from the Peter Chamberlen family in 1694. And that's how 'Accident Assurance' came into existence in the 19th century. During the middle to late 20th century, traditional disability insurance transformed into new and advanced health insurance policies. After multiple amendments and advancements, health insurance emerged.

How did Health Insurance Begin in India?

Post independence, health care became important and thus saw significant improvement. Medical insurance in India started with the Employees State Insurance Scheme in 1948. This scheme included coverage against OPD, IPD, and other medical contingencies. In 1954, a contributory health plan was launched under the name Central Government Health Schemes (CGHS) to provide medical services especially to Central Government employees and their families.


General Insurance Corporation launched India's first mediclaim policy in 1986 to standardise the terms and conditions under health insurance. This voluntary health insurance plan indemnified hospitalisation costs with exclusions such as pregnancy, pre-existing diseases, HIV-AIDs, childbirth, etc. As per the indemnity clause, incurred expenses were reimbursed through the third-party administrators' mechanism.


In 1991, privatisation of the insurance sector took place after the Indian government introduced the new economic policy and liberalisation process. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) bill was sanctioned in the parliament. And in the evolution of health insurance, this marks a milestone.

Health Insurance Perspective in India

Lately, the health insurance sector has been picking up steam in India. The stakeholders of the health insurance ecosystem–private health insurance providers as well as IRDAI are together striving to provide us with the best health insurance plan. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, people have become more and more aware of how health insurance can act as the financial cushion they can fall back on during medical emergencies. Health insurance is available for senior citizens, children, and maternity in India. In fact, it also enables you to customise your plan as per your medical needs.


At Bajaj MARKETS, we bring to you the best health insurance plans from the leading insurers in India. We ensure that you can explore different plans, compare them, and buy the best-suited policy on our website. So, head over to our 'Health Insurance' page and buy a policy that offers maximum coverage at affordable premiums.

Best Health Insurance Plans Available at Bajaj MARKETS

FAQs on the History of Health Insurance

  • ✔️Who suggested the concept of health insurance?

    The concept of health insurance was first suggested in 1694 by Hugh, the elder Chamberlen from the Peter Chamberlen family.

  • ✔️When was IRDAI formed?

    The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India was founded in 1999.

  • ✔️Why was IRDAI formed?

    The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India was established to regulate and develop the insurance sector of our country.

  • ✔️Who started the first health insurance plan in India?

    The General Insurance Corporation (GIC) launched the first mediclaim policy in India.

  • ✔️When did health insurance start in India?

    In India, health insurance came into existence in the post-independence era.

  • ✔️Which is the first government health insurance plan in India?

    The first government health insurance plan in India is the Employees State Insurance Scheme. It was formulated to cover the blue collared private sector workers.