Cashless row to be resolved in a week: Insurers

Public sector insurers on Friday expressed hope that the dispute over cashless treatment will be resolved within a week, but large hospitals do not seem to share the same optimism.

Updated: Sep 10, 2010, 21:14 PM IST

New Delhi: Public sector insurers on Friday expressed hope that the dispute over cashless treatment will be resolved within a week, but large hospitals do not seem to share the same optimism.

While the chairman and managing director of state-owned New Indian Assurance Company, M Ramadoss, said the issue would be sorted out within a week, Max India chairman Analjit Singh had earlier said there was "zero consensus" on the issue.

The four public sector insurance companies and healthcare service providers are locked in a battle over the rates for treatment of patients covered under the cashless insurance scheme.

The dispute has been going on since the withdrawal of the cashless treatment facility in large hospitals by PSU insurers New India Assurance, United India Insurance, National Insurance and Oriental Insurance since July 1 over allegations of overbilling. The two sides have been trying to work out standard rates for treatment under the cashless scheme at large hospitals.

"Within a week, we will be able to arrive at the package rates of the big corporate hospitals. (They) have given us their own rates (and) based on that we will arrive on a uniform rate structure," Ramadoss told reporters here today on the sidelines of a CII Health Summit.

Singh had said yesterday at the same function, "The differences continue. I would say there is zero consensus on the issue... The real issue is of cost. If you want better treatment and facilities, you have to pay more."

Expressing a similar opinion, Apollo Hospitals Group Chairman Pratap C Reddy said the issue is far from over.

"Somebody has to bear the cost. The current structure is not sustainable," he had added.

However, according to Ramadoss, more hospitals would be added to the cashless treatment network once the insurers and hospitals finalise package rates for treatment under the cashless scheme.

While major hospitals have submitted their rates, Apollo Hospitals and Fortis Hospitals are yet to come up with their packages, he added.

"There should be standardisation of rates for all hospitals that will bring in more transparency in the system," Medicity chairman and managing director Naresh Trehan said.

He further added that the occupancy rate at hospitals have not gone down since the withdrawal of the cashless treatment facility by public sector insurance companies on July 1, "but it is the patients who are suffering."

PTI