Irdai tells insurers to complain about errant hospitals

HYDERABAD: A day after Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted about reports of hospitals denying cashless services to Covid-19 patients and asked Insurance Regulator and Development Authority of India (Irdai) to take action, the insurance watchdog has directed insurers to lodge complaints of such malpractices directly with state governments.
Irdai said it has come across reports of certain network hospitals charging high rates and insisting on cash payments from policyholders for providing treatment to Covid-19 infected patients despite having cashless arrangement with insurers.
“Insurers are advised to report levying of excess charges or denial of cashless facility to the respective state governments for appropriate action,” Irdai said in its latest circular on Friday.
While reviewing cashless requests, Irdai has told insurers to ensure that policyholders are charged as per the rates agreed to by network hospitals. “Insurers are also advised to ensure hospitals do not levy any additional charges for same treatment other than those rates agreed upon with the insurers,” it added.
Meanwhile, Irdai has also urged network hospitals to “rise to the occasion” and provide cashless treatment to policyholders for all treatments covered by the insurance policy, including Covid-19.
It also requested hospitals not to differentiate between patients who have insurance and those who do not have one. “A gesture of this nature on the part of hospitals in these difficult times will reinforce the confidence of the public in the healthcare system including health insurance and build trust,” it said.