SC blasts insurance players for refusing to cover the elderly

The state of health care insurance in this country is turning as pathetic as some other countries that we know of. The private health insurance companies being the pests that they are, have already decided that theirs is a no-risks, high gain game. Their business plan is that the people who need the highest medical attention are the ones who should have the biggest problem in getting insurance, if they are given any at all. That is how the private insurance sector works, and we all know that given the lack of regulatory teeth that our government has, this is what privatization of health care insurance would eventually get us to.

But now the PSU insurance companies have also got on the same boat. Citing market conditions, they have forgotten their point of existence in the first place, and started behaving like private companies. Here is a sample:

In the first case, an old man had to undergo angioplasty twice in three years. Though the expenses were reimbursed, the insurance company demanded 300% increase in the premium. When the insured agreed to this and paid the money, the company wanted to exclude heart ailments from his insurance cover.

In the second case, a neurologist, practising since 1961, was also subjected to similar treatment and told that his mediclaim policy would be renewed only if the ailment, which was requiring frequent hospitalization, was excluded from the policy.

In the third case, the policy was abruptly cancelled and the insurer was asked to take a policy from another company.

Thankfully, the supreme court has taken note of this fact, and has asked the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) to lay down guidelines for the insurance companies to check this practice.

This is a matter of absolute concern for all of us who rely on policies like Mediclaim to cover our elders or to cover our chronic ailments. If any of you reading this know of citizen groups who are fighting against such irresponsible practices of health care insurance companies in this country, please let me know.

UPDATE: Saw another article related to this today.

The Supreme Court has ruled that public sector insurance companies cannot refuse to provide medical cover policies to those suffering from pre-existing diseases and said such an action was arbitrary, illegal and unconstitutional … “Only because the insured had started suffering from a disease, the same would not mean that the said disease shall be excluded. If the insured had made some claim in each year, the insurance company should not refuse to renew insurance policies only for that reason.,” the bench said in its judgement.

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