Today's DNA report that patients holding a policy from government insurers are charged exponentially more than those who hold policies from private insurers is just the tip of the iceberg of a problem called medical insurance.
As the report shows, the problem is two-fold — that of transparency and regulation. Distilled to its essence, apart from the patients' woes, another major problem here is that government insurance companies are bleeding because they are paying out a lot more by way of claims than what they earn via premium.
Third Party Administrators, who act as the liaison among hospitals, patients, and insurance companies, and whose primary responsibility is to manage costs, seem to be more interested in li
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ning their pockets with the brokerage they earn on claims. And government firms, being what they are, are bearing the brunt of this malfunctioning system as nobody seems to care about getting to the bottom of the issue and regulating the industry to make the process more transparent.
More important is the fact that the four government insurance companies are bleeding badly and risk sinking. Admittedly, private health insurance is a relatively nascent industry, being just about a decade old. But that cannot be a reason to turn a blind eye to the sustained misuse of the system. For, the ultimate loser here is the patient, who is flogged within a rupee of her life every time she is hospitalised. And, of course, the taxpayer.
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