BHOPAL (Madhya Pradesh): The low rate of hospitalisation during the 3rd ongoing corona wave has posed a setback for health insurance companies. The 3.3% hospitalisation rate during the third wave compared to 40% during second wave has made people to overlook insurance cover.
But there are other reasons. According to health companiesí executives, people needed insurance money to clear inflated bills issued by hospitals during second corona wave. For instance, bills showed Rs 32,000 for Remdesivir injections, Rs 3,000 for oxygen cylinders. Besides, hospitals charged for PPE kits. But insurance companies did not clear the bills.
The pandemic has shown that private healthcare is unaffordable, public healthcare is weak and insurance is not helping people access healthcare either. There is really no substitute to developing a strong and free public health system.
At the end of what was often a traumatising period of treatment and recovery, Covid patients were handed substantial bills by private hospitals. Their insurance companies refused to reimburse, and they had no choice but to pay from their pockets.
LN Sharma, insurance companies agent, said, In third wave, hospitalisation is low as home isolation is suggested for most patients due to less severity. So this time, we have low turnout. Gradually, insurance segment is picking up. People are turning up for insurance. Insurance companies are covering Covid treatment in general insurance health policy cover. But they are not offering anything special for patients.
Anticipating roadblocks to insurance for Covid treatment, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India has issued circular this time. It stated that if an existing policy covers hospitalisation, then it would also cover Covid treatment. The agency also asked insurers to process Covid claims ìexpeditiously and to simplify procedures for this. Insurance companies were also asked to create insurance products specifically for Covid.