Consumables Cover in Health Insurance

Consumables cover provides coverage for non-medical expenses incurred during hospitalization that are generally excluded under health insurance. It helps to significantly reduce out-of-pocket expenses without compromising on the quality of the treatment. While some insurers provide in-built coverage for consumables, others offer consumables cover as a rider.

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      What are Consumables in Health Insurance?

      Consumables are non-medical items used during in-patient hospitalization, such as cotton, masks, syringes, PPE kits, needles, gowns, gloves, sanitizers, etc. They refer to medical aid/equipment used or ancillary expenses incurred during the stay in the hospital. Most consumables are single-use items and must be disposed of after usage. As a result, the same item may be required multiple times during the hospital stay and, thus, can shoot up the hospital bill.

      Let’s understand the concept of consumables with the help of an example.

      Suppose Meenal was hospitalized for 3 days for childbirth. At the time of discharge from the hospital, her husband was handed over a bill of ₹2.4 lakh, out of which ₹35,000 was charged for consumables, such as cotton, diapers, air conditioning, hospital gown, tissue papers, baby’s birth certificate charges, attendant charges, etc. Although these items cost less individually, multiple uses of items like cotton, diapers, tissue papers, etc., led to a bill of ₹35,000.

      Cost of Consumables in Health Insurance

      The cost of consumable items constitutes 10-20% of the total hospital bill. However, most health insurance plans do not cover these non-medical expenses. In fact, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) in 2016 released an extensive list of non-payable items in health insurance.

      However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the usage and cost of non-medical items increased manifold, creating a major financial burden on the patients. Consequently, many health insurance companies introduced consumables riders or add-ons to provide coverage for non-payable items.

      List of Consumables in Health Insurance

      Check out the list of different types of non-medical expenses in health insurance:

      Consumables Items Under Health Insurance
      Surgical Items Personal Convenience or Housekeeping Items Room Charges Administrative Charges
      • Cotton
      • Syringes
      • Needles
      • Gloves
      • Bandages
      • Masks
      • Sterilized injections
      • Apron
      • Surgical blades
      • Surgical tape
      • Disposable razors
      • Slings
      • Gauze blades
      • Braces
      • Harmon scalpel blades
      • Arthroscopy & endoscopy instrument charges
      • Surgical drill
      • Handwash
      • Toothbrush
      • Toothpaste
      • Slippers
      • Tissue papers
      • Diapers
      • Wet wipes
      • Baby food
      • Urine container
      • Mineral water
      • Combs
      • Eye pad
      • Nebulizer kit
      • Caps & belts
      • Antiseptic mouthwash
      • Bags
      • Infusion pump charges
      • Diabetic footwear
      • Disinfectant, hydrogen peroxide & spirit charges
      • Hot pack/ cold pack
      • Hair removal cream
      • Barber charges
      • Gown
      • Television
      • Air conditioner
      • Attendant charges
      • Pulse oximeter charges
      • Telephone
      • Nutritionists or dietician charges
      • Medicine box
      • Digestion gels
      • Thermometer
      • Prescriptions
      • Registration/ admission charges
      • Medical records
      • Vaccination cost
      • Daily health charts
      • Visitor’s pass
      • Birth/ death certificates
      • Blood reservation cost
      • HIV kit
      • Referral doctor’s fees

      Note: The above list is not exhaustive and may vary from insurer to insurer. Moreover, the insurance company has the discretion to include or exclude a consumable item in a health insurance plan.

      Why Should You Buy Consumables Cover in Health Insurance in India?

      Here are some of the compelling reasons to buy consumables cover with your mediclaim insurance policy:

      1. Exponential Rise in Cost of Consumables

        The cost of consumables has grown exponentially since the COVID-19 pandemic due to extensive usage and overcharging by hospitals. Since consumables are non-payable items, these expenses were not paid by the insurer and had to be borne by policyholders. With consumables cover, the insurance company will pay for the non-medical items up to the sum insured limit.

      2. Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses

        The cost of non-medical items are not covered by most health insurance plans. As a result, the liability to pay for these consumables falls on the policyholder, thereby increasing out-of-pocket expenses. By buying consumables cover in health insurance in India, policyholders can easily cut back on their out-of-pocket expenses and safeguard their hard-earned savings.

      3. No Compromise on Treatment Quality

        Considering the high consumables charges in hospitals and non-coverage by insurers, several people compromise on their treatment quality. They opt for affordable treatment/hospital to lower their out-of-pocket expenses. With consumables cover, people can afford the best quality treatment, as the insurance provider will pay the entire hospital bill.

      FAQs

      • Q1. What are consumables under health insurance?

        Ans: Consumables refer to non-medical items consumed or non-payable expenses incurred by people during hospitalization. They are single-use items mostly disposed of after usage, such as baby food, syringes, cotton, masks, gowns, etc. Most health plans do not cover these non-medical items without consumables cover.
      • Q2. What are consumable charges in a hospital?

        Ans: When admitted to a hospital, consumables charges refer to single-use items or expenses, such as the cost of admission/registration, attendant services, surgical tapes, cotton, surgical blades, toiletries, etc. Since these items may be required multiple times during hospitalization, they constitute up to 10-20% of the total hospital bill.
      • Q3. What are the types of consumables in health insurance?

        Ans: There are four major types of consumables in medical insurance, as listed below:
        • Surgical items – Eg: surgical blades, masks, syringes, gloves, etc.
        • Room charges – Eg: AC, gown, television, attendant charges, etc.
        • Housekeeping/ personal convenience charges – Eg: toilet papers, handwash, slippers, urine container, etc.
        • Administration charges – Eg: HIV kit, visitor’s pass, prescriptions, admission charges, etc.
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