The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) has started a process to provide unique identity numbers to hospitals in order to help health insurance customers identify hospitals and collect information regarding various charges imposed by them on different medical procedures.
“We are working with national accreditation agencies to uniquely identify hospitals, which will involve giving them identity numbers that will be integrated with the pin code of the area and the name of hospitals. Once this process is over, the next step will be to see what these hospitals charge patients for for different treatments,” Irda chairman TS Vijayan said on the sidelines of an industry summit organised by the Indian Merchants Chamber here.
Irda was collecting transactional data for health insurers, which will enable it to know how much is charged for a particular disease or a procedure by one hospital versus another, he said. “The Insurance Information Bureau, which is under the administrative control of the regulator, is collecting and compiling the data for assigning unique identity numbers to hospitals,” Vijayan said.
The bureau has already collected data from around 30,000 hospitals which would help streamline prices apart from curbing fraudulent billing. Irda chief explained that this will be useful since India had hospitals in different locations with the same.
Vijayan said that product approvals for new products under the revised traditional product guidelines are mostly done and that several companies have begun introducing compliant products.
Meanwhile, New India Assurance Company chairman and managing director G Srinivasan said it has come up with a combination product for lower income groups that will have life, medical and accident covers among others.
“We are launching a product for the lower income population, like domestic helps, with an annual premium of Rs 800. This plan will offer life cover of Rs 1 lakh to the family in case of death, critical illness and other hospitalisation costs under Rs 20,000-30,000. The plan also offers accident cover,” he said.
This combination policy which has been launched on pilot basis today, will be rolled out in the retail market soon, Srinivasan said. Vijayan supported the idea and said combination products are the key and are the way to go forward.
“Combination products are the key. This is the way to go forward. However, as regulator we also have to look at it as to whether these products are is lessening the problems or not,” Vijayan said.