At a time when the country is seeing a spurt in COVID-19 cases, private hospitals and insurance companies are in multiple disputes over unjustified insurance claim charges that are going up to Rs 8 lakh. Though there are fears around maintaining hygiene with COVID-19 patients, insurers are claiming private hospitals are charging patients for trivial things such as sanitising equipment. Also, these charges vary across India, with average insurance claims being the highest in Kolkata.
As per IRDAI data, there have been total 10,000 private healthcare insurance claims so far, with average insurance claim topping Rs 1.56 lakh. However, insurance companies pay the amount agreed in the contract, while the rest goes from the patient's pocket.
The insurance regulator data suggests the average claim among the four major cities in India is the highest in Kolkata at Rs 2.5 lakh per patient. The average claim in Delhi stands at Rs 2.41 lakh per patient; in Mumbai, it is Rs 1.19 lakh per patient and an average claim in Ahmedabad stands at Rs 97,000.
"You see hospitals billing patients for sanitising equipment. Does that mean they were using unsanitised equipment earlier?? With COVID-19 we are seeing hospitals billing anything and everything," The Times of India quoted an insurance company CEO as saying.
The report quoted a Delhi resident named Surender Gaur, who said his brother was charged Rs 70,900 for PPE kits alone, of the total bill size of Rs 4.08 lakh. Similarly, patients are also being charged for ventilator services even if they are not being used.
CORONAVIRUS CASES IN INDIA
India has reported the highest single-day spike of 9,996 new COVID-19 cases and 357 deaths in the last 24 hours. The cases in the country are now at 2,86,579, including 1,37,448 active cases, 1,41,029 cured and 8,102 deaths, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data suggests. A total of 52,13,140 samples have been tested so far, of which 1,51,808 samples were tested in the past 24 hours, says the Indian Council of Medical Research.
With a consistent rise in coronavirus cases, India last week jumped two places to surpass Italy and Spain to become the fifth most affected country in the world. As per an estimate, India will surpass the UK tally of around 2.9 lakh in the next one or two days.