General insurers have approached the General Insurance Council (GIC) asking it to bring in standard rates for treating the patients of coronavirus. Sources in the insurance industry say that the matter has been taken up by the council with the Union health ministry to standardise rates as costs differ from one hospital to other.
General insurers are of the view that in such a challenging time, the issue of differential cost needs to be addressed and standardisation of treatment at this critical juncture will be of immense value to the policy holders and the general public.
S Prakash, MD at Star Health and Allied Insurance, said, “Right now, costs of treatment vary from one hospital to another, but standard treatment rates should be done across lines such as ward, isolation room and ICUs more so when the testing procedure and the treatment protocol, remains more or less the same.” He added that Star Health Insurance has received 12 confirmed health insurance claims for Covid-19.
According to general insurance companies, currently rates for treatment of novel coronavirus are different for isolation wards and are charged differently by private hospitals. But if standard treatment rates are announced there would be uniformity in rates across the lines like isolation wards and charges for ICU and hospitals would not undercharge or overcharge the policyholders. According to the ministry of health and family welfare, as on April 7, 2020, there are 3,981 active cases of novel coronavirus in India and there has been 114 deaths due to this pandemic. In the past, the government had fixed the cost of testing for Covid-19 at Rs 4,500.
Health insurance officials says that right now hospitals are charging anywhere between Rs 50,000 to Rs 7 lakh. “If there are standard rates for treatment of novel coronavirus, it can be handled very well, and nobody will be overcharged. Currently, there are no medicines available to treat the novel coronavirus and even there is no surgery to treat this disease. So, I don’t think hospitals can charge such large amount from policyholders,” said a product head from a leading private insurance company.