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Insurers’ body accuses hospitals of inflating bills for Covid-19 treatment


(This story originally appeared in on Aug 16, 2020)

BENGALURU: The General Insurance Council — an association of non-life insurance companies — has accused hospitals where cashless insurance is available, of inflating bills for Covid-19 treatment . The council has called for regulation of healthcare fees and is seeking to become a party to a Supreme Court petition on cashless servicing of Covid treatment claims.

Speaking to TOI, GI Council head M N Sharma said, “We see medical inflation where hospitals artificially jack up rates. Now, insurance companies can’t follow suit because we are regulated. Every policy we issue, the rates are approved by IRDAI. So we cannot unfairly price our products, even if hospitals are doing so.”

The council is demanding the government set caps on Covid-19 treatment costs. Stating that private hospitals are arbitrarily charging patients, the GI Council is likely to implead itself in a petition filed in the Supreme Court as it has noticed differential charges for patients with insurance cover and those without insurance cover. The SC PIL (public interest litigation) was originally filed by a hospital victim Avishek Goenka, a resident of Kolkata, stating the problems faced by the common man. GI Council is likely to implead itself in Goenka’s petition.

The PIL also mentions discrepancy in hospital charges between patients with insurance and those without. “It has come to our attention — from hospital bills that some hospitals decide the treatment procedure based on the sum insured of the policy. Say for example, the sum insured is up to Rs 5 lakh; you will find the hospital charging a sum of Rs 4.9 lakh. Whereas for patients without insurance, the bill might be half or a quarter of that.”CHENNAI: The Centre should legislate a law prohibiting candidates with criminal backgrounds from participating in polls, the Madras HC has observed, reports Suresh Kumar.

Citing a 2019 report of Association for Democratic Reforms, the HC said, “The report reveals that 43% (233 out of 539) of elected MPs are facing criminal cases. Of which 29% (159 MPs) have serious criminal cases against them.” Therefore, the central government has to come out with a law to prohibit persons with criminal background from contesting polls, it said.


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