12 August 2010
New Delhi, India
Refusing to mediate between major hospital chains and insurance companies on denying cashless treatment to policyholders, Insurance and Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) chairman J Hari Narayan hinted on Wednesday premiums for treatment in five–star hospitals are likely to go up.
"If you want to stay at Ashoka Hotel...and avail five–star facility, you need to pay more," Hari Narayan said at a Ficci meeting, justifying the assumed hike in mediclaim policy premiums. His remarks came a day after the Delhi High Court asked the insurance regulator to sort out the cashless facility to policyholders in major hospitals across the country. The IRDA chairman said there was nothing the insurance regulator could do about it.
Hari Narayan said that he has held extensive discussions with major hospital chains and insurers but it was not an issue for IRDA to address.
Ever since insurance companies discontinued the cashless facility to its policyholders at major hospital chains IRDA has been stating that it is for the health ministry to regulate over–charging by hospitals and that there is nothing wrong in the insurance companies denying cashless facility as long as they reimburse the claims.
Hari Narayan went a step further and said in light of the present controversy, if insurance companies decide to revise their premium for treatment at these five–star hospitals, the regulator could not stop it.
"We have long moved away from the administered price regime and it is for the market forces to determine the price of their product," he said, adding that there may be co–payee or higher premium products for these five–star hospitals, which the insurance companies have to decide. The consumers will get a range of products.
Insurers will decide pricing of mediclaim policies: IRDA
New Delhi: Insurance and Regulatory Development Authority (IRDA) chairman J Hari Narayan on Wednesday said that if insurance companies decide to revise their premium for treatment at five–star hospitals, the regulator could not stop it.
So, if for instance you take a Rs 3 lakh limit reimbursement policy, it may invite a different premium for a set of hospitals and altogether different for fivestar hospitals. The pricing would entirely be determined by the insurance companies and IRDA will not intervene, Hari Narayan said.
The cashless facility was discontinued at major hospitals from July 1 as they refused to lower rates for many standard procedures. Four major PSU insurers which command 80% market share of health insurance have said hospitals have to agree to the package deals if they are to be on the preferred network service and benefit from the cashless system.
These insurers have worked out package rates for some expenses commonly claimed under health insurance policies and have asked all hospitals to abide by the prescribed rates.