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Gurugram-based eTechAces Marketing and Consulting Pvt Ltd, which owns and operates online insurance company PolicyBazaar and lending company PaisaBazaar, will now explore the healthcare tech and services segment.

Reportedly, PolicyBazaar has reserved $100 Mn for the new venture, which is presently being called PaisaWiki and has put together a team of 20 people, being led by Richit Unmat and Dhruv Sareen.

The service will provide online access to top-rated medical professionals, who will form part of its in-house team of doctors. Others associated with the service will include clinics, diagnostic centres, hospitals etc.

The company has also targeted to launch its first insurance product to cater to the out-patient department (OPD) market within the coming six months.

Talking to ET, Yashish Dahiya said, “Indian healthcare system has a $100 Bn out-of-pocket expense market, one that is not covered by health insurance. This market is expected to grow to $200 Bn by fiscal 2020. We will enter into tie-ups with hospitals, and have PolicyBazaar advisors there, to help consumers at the moment of truth — which is claims.”

With the new venture, the company aims to “tie-up with about 300 hospitals by the end of the next financial year. These services will help the company create very powerful data on consumer healthcare habits, as well as design intelligent and customised products for in-patient department insurance.”

An email query sent to PolicyBazaar’s communication team awaited response till the time of publication.

Founded in 2008 by IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad alumni Yashish Dahiya, Alok Bansal and Avaneesh Nirjar, PolicyBazaar is an online portal to compare life insurance and general insurance.

A report by ET quoted Dahiya saying that the startup had broken even during FY17, after chalking a total revenue of $33.8 Mn (INR 220 Cr) in the said period. In December 2017, reports flooded that the company aims to raise its value from the existing $500 Mn to $1.5 Bn through an IPO. Also, recently reports surfaced that Softbank was looking to acquire PolicyBazaar at a valuation of $800 Mn.

PolicyBazaar Will Challenge Existing Players Like Practo

With its services of online access to hospitals, medical professionals etc, the company is going to directly challenge players like Tencent-backed Practo.

Bengaluru-based Practo recently partnered with ICICI Lombard General Insurance to launch its health insurance app — ‘IL TakeCare’. At the launch, the ICICI Lombard said that the app is a step to solve outpatient expenses towards consultation, diagnostics and medicines.

PolicyBazaar is also planning to sell medicines online, thus challenging existing players like 1mg Technologies, NetMeds etc.

According to an IBEF report, the overall Indian healthcare market stands at $100 Bn. It is expected to touch $280 Bn by 2020, growing at a CAGR of 22.9%.

As PolicyBazaar plans an outpatient product, it is to be noted that as per industry estimates standalone outpatient care in terms of size would be six times that of the current health insurance market. Drugs, diagnostics, consultations and tests primarily constitute out-of-pocket-expenses.

In India, outpatient expenses are met through personal income and savings, raising the issue of the ability of OPD patients to pay for various medical services. As per estimates, about 3.5% of the population is below the poverty line because of out-of-pocket expenses, which can decline to 0.5% if out-of-pocket payments for outpatient care are excluded.

With the first product by PaisaWiki, the new venture of PolicyBazaar, slated for launch in next six months, the present players have to be ready to share the slice of huge pie of healthtech and services segment.

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