Clash between insurance companies and hospitals continues in India

New Delhi, Sep 10 (Calcutta Tube) The deadlock between insurance companies and hospitals over cashless treatment under health insurance policies is continuing, even though the regulator claims that the issue is getting resolved.

‘The differences continue. I would say there is zero consensus on the issue,’ Analjit Singh, chairman of Max India Ltd, told reporters here Thursday.

He said cost of medical treatment has risen sharply in the past few years and it has to be passed on to customers.

‘The real issue is of cost. If you want better treatment and facilities, you have to pay more,’ Singh added.

However, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) chairman J. Hari Narayan said the issue of cashless treatment facilities would be resolved soon.

‘The problem is with certain group of hospitals. I am hopeful it will be resolved soon,’ said Narayan.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a CII event, he said the regulator is discussing the matter with various stakeholders.

Narayan claimed over 400 hospitals were now providing cashless treatment as compared to nearly 300 prior to the dispute. ‘Denying treatment is technically wrong. It is morally wrong. We have to resolve the issue as soon as possible,’ he added.

Apollo Hospitals Group chairman Pratap C. Reddy also said the issue is far from over.

‘Somebody has to bear the cost. The current structure is not sustainable,’ said Reddy, adding the government might be required to partly cover the cost of providing health insurance to the needy.

Reddy emphasised the need for bringing more people under insurance cover, and said it would reduce cost for hospitals as well as insurance companies.

Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said the government is targeting to bring 60 million people under the health insurance cover. Currently, less than 10 million people have health insurance. This figure is very low when compared with the health insurance coverage in the developed countries.

Reddy said nearly Rs.50,000 crore annual investment was needed over a decade to ensure good quality healthcare to the common people in India.

From April 1, four public sector general insurance companies, commanding around 45 per cent of the market share, withdrew cashless services at all hospitals and migrated to a preferred provider network.

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