Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (PTI image)
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman (PTI image)

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday asked IRDAI chairman S C Kunthia to "act immediately" to address the complaints of denial of cashless claims by insurance companies. To which the regulator promptly issued a letter pulling up general and health insurers.

The insurance regulator has asked insurers to take "appropriate action" against network providers like hospitals and others who are denying cashless facility to insured lives. The order by IRDAI also stated that it is on the insurance companies to "ensure smooth availability of a cashless facility with all network providers empanelled with them."

"All the Network Providers (hospitals) who have signed Service Level Agreements (SLA) with general and health insurers have to mandatorily provide cashless facility for any treatment to the policyholders including Covid-19 treatment in accordance with agreed provisions of SLA and terms and conditions of policy contract," it said.

The policyholders can even log a complaint against the grievance officer in case of such denials.

The regulator acted promptly as soon as it was brought to their notice by the finance minister with a series of tweets.

In a tweet, she also mentioned that more than 9 lakh COVID-related claims for Rs 8,642 crore have been settled by insurance companies.

"Reports are being received of some hospitals denying cashless insurance. Spoken to Chairman, IRDAI Shri SC Khuntia to act immediately. In March'20 #Covid included as a part of comprehensive health insurance. Cashless available at networked or even temporary hospitals," the minister said in a series of tweets.

The Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI), she added, has asked insurance companies to prioritise settlement of COVID claims.

She tweeted, "As on 20/4/21, over 9 lakh #Covid related claims have been settled by insurance companies for Rs 8,642 Cr. Even tele-consultations can be covered. IRDAI shall direct companies to prioritise authorisations and settlements of #Covid cases."

India registered over 3.14 lakh new coronavirus cases in a day, the highest-ever single-day count recorded in any country, taking the the total tally of COVID-19 cases in the country to 1,59,30,965.

According to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday, a total of 3,14,835 fresh infections were registered in a span of 24 hours, while the death toll increased to 1,84,657 with a record 2,104 new fatalities.

Registering a steady increase for the 43rd day in a row, the active cases have increased to 22,91,428 comprising 14.38 per cent of the total infections.

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