In the wake of the ever-changing tariffs of hospitals, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has proposed setting up a new regulatory body or granting it regulatory powers to regulate hospitals in the country.
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Speaking at the CII Insurance and Pensions Summit, a top IRDAI official TL Alamelu said that the insurance regulatory body wishes to be allowed to regulate hospitals or for a separate regulatory body to set up guidelines on tariff structure and grading. He called it necessary to protect the public from an impending increase in health insurance premiums.
As per officials, the IRDAI does not allow health insurance companies to increase their premiums annually. Nonetheless, the hospitals increase the charges by 10 to 15 per cent, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country. This would lead to a subsequent increase in insurance premiums sooner or later.
Besides, the hike in hospital charges took place despite the General Insurance Council calling for uniform charges for the treatment of COVID-19. There were also incidents during the pandemic when few hospitals refused to provide cashless treatment facilities to beneficiaries.
However, IRDAI officials clarified that the regulatory body does not have the resources to regulate hospitals at present. Besides, it will be difficult for IRDAI to regulate the hospitals as the healthcare system varies from one state to another.
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