With increasing cost of healthcare, insurance sector regulator Irdai should be allowed to regulate hospitals or a separate regulator be instituted, a member of the regulator said on Monday.
The member explained that as an insurance regulator, Irdai wants to protect public against continuous increase in health insurance premiums.
“As an insurance regulator, we don’t find it very difficult to regulate the health ecosystem … we are regulating the only one portion of it, which is only the insurers. Related to insurers are TPAs (third party administrators), we try to indirectly, if I use the word, regulate the hospitals,” Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) Member (non-life) T L Alamelu said.
“So, we do have an eye on how insurers increase their premiums…but on the other end you do have the service providers where there is no regulator and you can imagine that there is a free hand and there were some incidents that we had to step in and talk to state governments.
“So, we had to step-in and it took time for the hospitals to respond. So, it is our wish that there is a regulator or we are allowed to regulate the hospitals also so that it becomes a logical ecosystem,” Alamelu said.
The Irdai member said that there were some incidents related to Covid-19 where hospitals refused to give cashless treatment.
“We ask the hospitals to come forward for cashless (treatment). That has been only a few hospitals considering the population, considering the number of insured population, the number of hospitals who have cashless agreements with the insurers is not many and there also are issues where hospitals can keep raising their bills and they can keep changing their tariffs.”
She said an entire regulated ecosystem in the healthcare space will ultimately protect the policyholder or the general public.
And because of this, people will get more faith in buying insurance, will trust the insurance system, which will prompt more people to start buying insurance.