Cashless mediclaim only on our terms, insist insurers

Having come in for much flak after withdrawing the cashless healthcare facility at most major hospitals, state-run insurers on yesterday modified their stand, saying that they would work on expanding the list of hospitals where the facility is available. However, they asserted that the facility would be extended only to hospitals which agree to their rates for medical expenses.

"Working out such package rates and stabilising the hospitalisation costs will benefit the insured in many ways," the four state-run general insurance companies - National Insurance Co, New India Assurance Co, Oriental Insurance Co and United India Insurance Co - said in a joint public notice.

Claiming that their bottom lines were being badly hurt by the allegedly inflated bills charged by some hospitals for medical costs of people covered by cashless mediclaim facilities, these insurers have pruned the list of hospitals in four large cities that are eligible for providing this facility with effect from this month.

The selected list of hospitals in the Delhi National Capital Region, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore no longer includes big chains like Fortis and Max Healthcare, and was prepared on the basis of those accepting rate packages prepared by the insurance firms for medical procedures and hospitalisation costs.

The insurers' move has been vehemently opposed by large hospitals as well as the general public, which has been greatly inconvenienced, as settlement claims have been refused at the hospitals not on the preferred list for such a facility.

A conciliatory meeting was arranged between the insurers and the hospitals in Mumbai last Tuesday, after which the insurance firms agreed to work upon expanding the list of approved hospitals for cashless facility.