New India to launch premium health policy shortly

Leading state-run general insurer New India Assurance Company today said it will soon launch a new premium Mediclaim product as a part of its efforts to resolve the issue over the cashless health cover, which the state-run players had discontinued early July alleging inflated billing by hospitals.

New India Assurance Company

New India Assurance Company

“We will shortly launch a premium product with the cashless option so that the consumer has the choice of cashless hospitalisation at premium corporate hospitals,” New India Assurance Company chairman and managing director M Ramadoss told newsmen on the sidelines of an insurance seminar organised by industry chamber Assocham here today.

Ramadoss further said, “the acquisition of cost of this product will depend on the type of scheme one chooses. If one wants hospitalisation in a corporate hospital, then the premium will be higher.”

The move is also aimed at bringing corporate hospitals under its fold, Ramadoss said, adding it is adding three Delhi-based leading corporate hospitals-Gangaram, Max and Medicity to its empanelled list of hospitals for this scheme.

The move comes on the heels of the sectoral watchdog Irda recently stating that companies were free to launch premium products to bring five-star hospitals under the cashless cover scheme and that the Authority has no role in fixing prices.

“If you want to stay at Ashoka Hotel…and avail of five star facility, you need to pay more,” IRDA Chairman J Hari Narayan had said in the Capital earlier last month.

The IRDA Chairman’s remarks came a day after the Delhi High Court asked the insurance regulator to sort out the imbroglio over the cashless facility to policyholders in major hospitals across the country. The regulator, however, held the view that it could do nothing in this regard.

“We have long moved away from the administered price regime and it is for the market forces to determine the price of their products,” Narayan further said, adding there might be co-payees or higher premium products for these five-star hospitals, which the insurers should decide.

Clarifying on the PSU insurers’ recent decision to discontinue cashless policies, Ramadoss said, the company was never against cashless claims but wanted some clarity on the tariffs being charged by most of the hospitals empanelled, which the insurance industry felt were inflated.

Claiming the issue has been blown out of proportion by the media, he said “only 35 per cent of health polices are cashless ones and that just 8 per cent consumers make the claims through hospitalisation.”

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