It is the world’s worst kept secret that private Indian hospitals and nursing homes, especially the “brands” which get plenty of press, are ripping people off. They have one ratecard for patients who pay by cash—and another for those who avail of a “cashless” facility vide their health/ medical insurance.
Now, 18 insurance companies, including the four public sector ones, have seen through the game and stopped the cashless facility from July 1. Their contention: they are losing as much as Rs 1,500 crore of the Rs 6,000 crore they collect in premiums from mediclaim policies because of the exaggerated rates.
Like night follows day, the “high-end hospitals” have contested the claim, and have the backing of industry bodies like FICCI. They blame the policy packages of the insurance companies. “How can someone unilaterally claim that our prices are high?” asks Vishal Bali of Fortis, pointing to the costs of setting up world-class facilities.
Obviously, the withdrawal of the cashless facility inconveniences patients, but do our “world-class” facilities deserve to charge 100% or more from health insurance policy holders? Is it OK for hospitals to rip off insurance companies because, well, insurance companies rip off from us? Has medicine become a business, and is that for the good?