The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked the General Insurance Council (GIC) to arrive at a ‘standardised cost structure’ for the treatment of COVID-19 in view of hefty private hospitalisation expenses for coronavirus patients.
According to a report from The Financial Express, this development is expected to start the process of launching a standard COVID-19 insurance product with details of costs covered that are currently unavailable under a normal health insurance policy.
IRDAI is expected to take a decision on the product over the next couple of weeks with the GIC sending its feedback by 31 May.
The council had earlier communicated to insurers that the proposal under discussion involved arriving at a negotiated rate for all elements associated with COVID-19 treatment in a hospital.
Currently, different insurers have different products to cover COVID-19 claims and hospitals also charge different rates.
Private hospitals which have COVID-19 wards charge high rates with treatment costs ranging from INR300,000 ($4,000) to INR800,000. Meanwhile, government hospitals that offer more affordable treatment are said to lack adequate bed capacity for coronavirus patients.
Commenting on the issue, the CEO of a private insurance firm said, “The government of India must cap the maximum rates hospitals can charge for COVID-19 using their power under Epidemic Act and if possible IRDAI could issue an advisory for the same.”