₹20-lakh bill for 23-day coronavirus treatment!

Citizens seek cap on tariff after corporate hospital in Banjara Hills charges exorbitant amount

June 09, 2020 11:24 pm | Updated June 10, 2020 08:25 am IST - HYDERABAD

A visitor wears a face mask as a precautionary measures in view of COVID-19 outbreak, at the district hospital in Khammam, Telangana. | File

A visitor wears a face mask as a precautionary measures in view of COVID-19 outbreak, at the district hospital in Khammam, Telangana. | File

Distressing tales of COVID-19 patients or suspects being charged exorbitantly by corporate hospitals have started surfacing.

A 53-year-old man, who recently got admitted to a plush corporate hospital in Banjara Hills for COVID-19 treatment, was charged nearly ₹20 lakh for 23 days of treatment. What’s more, his medical insurance claim was approved for just around ₹7.5 lakh; he had to pay the remaining amount of ₹12 lakh from his own pocket.

TN example

After information about the steep charges began circulating, citizens have demanded that the State government declare a cap on the billing by corporate hospitals, just like the Tamil Nadu government has done.

The fears are pronounced as officials in the Telangana Health department said that more cases are expected in coming days. This could mean more COVID-19 patients might get admitted to corporate hospitals which will necessitate a cap on charges.

Though there has been confusion over whether private hospitals are allowed to treat COVID-19 patients, senior officials in the Health department clarified there was no such restriction on private hospitals. “In fact, we asked them to attend to more patients,” a senior official had earlier said.

The Tamil Nadu government announced slabs on maximum daily tariff for COVID-19 treatment at private hospitals and charges based on severity of the infectious disease. Private hospitals in that State have been placed in two different categories, but irrespective of the category, ICU charges cannot exceed ₹15,000 a day.

Need for insurance

While some have insurance policies, not every one opts for it which could land one in deep financial crisis. Insurance advisor P. Ravinder Reddy says if people neither have insurance cover nor sufficient money, they might have to sell financial assets, or worse, borrow money at huge interest rate to pay the hospital bills.

“This can be avoided if the government decides a slab on the hospital charges and exercises control over pricing at corporate hospitals,” Mr Reddy said, adding that people are advised to buy insurance to minimise financial stress.

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