Five of India's largest private hospitals have asked the government to reconsider the pricing list of the flagship insurance programme Ayushman Bharat Scheme (National Health Protection Scheme) because quality care to patients at current rates is unviable.
Executives of the hospitals told The Economic Times that the government should have taken their inputs into account before deciding the package costs that the Niti Ayog (National Institution for Transforming India) announced last month.
Niti Ayog announced a detailed list of rates for 1,354 packages for 23 treatments across various therapies and procedures. This scheme is expected to provide insurance cover of INR500,000 ($7,484) per family for up to 500 million Indians below the poverty line.
The policy covers hospitalisation, treatment expenses including for secondary and tertiary level of medical and surgical care. The government said procedure costs are in the range of INR1,000 to INR100,000 depending upon the complexity of the ailment.
Habib Khorakiwala of Wockhardt Hospitals said he was unsure whether large hospitals would participate in this scheme. “The issue is not the total cover of INR500,000, it is the individual price point which we will not be possible to meet,” he said.
Dr Devi Shetty, of the Narayan Health hospital chain, said, “Some of the procedures are definitely unviable.”
Large private hospitals have in general stayed away from state insurance schemes for lack of profitability.
But Shriraj Deshpande of Future Generali General Insurance said that there are still many other hospitals which would participate in the scheme.