IRDA seeks to wash hands of cashless mediclaim imbroglio

A day after the Delhi high court ordered the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority to sort out the imbroglio over cashless mediclaim facilities, it is still unclear if the insurance companies will be made to restore the facilities at the premium or so-called 'five star' hospitals.

Four public sector general insurers withdrew the facility in top city hospitals on the grounds that they tend to pad up their bills for insured patients and are unwilling to accept rates offered by these insurance companies.

The Delhi High Court had come down on IRDA on Tuesday for its failure to sort out the dispute between insurance companies and city hospitals and directed IRDA to make arrangements to restore the facility.

''Now that the High Court has given direction, we will follow that,'' IRDA chairman J Hari Narayan told reporters on the sidelines of a FICCI event in New Delhi on Wednesday.

At the same time, he refused to mediate between major hospital chains and insurance companies on denying cashless treatment to policyholders, saying that there was nothing the insurance regulator could do about it. He maintained that IRDA would come into the picture only if there was a breach of contract between the company and the insurer.

He said that that more products with differential features and varying premiums would help all stakeholders, and hinted that premiums for treatment in five-star hospitals are likely to go up.