The ongoing dispute between healthcare providers and public sector insurers over the pricing of medical procedures has dealt a huge blow to patients.
As a result of the dispute, many insured patients have been denied cashless facility at most private hospitals in Pune. To tide over the situation, major hospitals have come up with innovative plans to assist such patients.
While Ruby Hall Clinic has already started on-the-spot interest-free loans by tying up with a financial firm, Jehangir and Poona hospitals are also working on similar models.
Bomi Bhote, chief executive officer (CEO), Ruby Hall Clinic, said, "No one feels the brunt of steadily reduced resources more than patients and their families. As the impasse over cashless insurance drags, more patients are facing hardships. Not only do they grapple with the diagnosis shock and treatment costs, the additional worry of having to pay out of their pocket is also a burden."
"Though patients with insurance from private sector firms can still avail cashless treatment, others are left with no option but to dig into their life savings. Considering this, we decided to shoulder their burden and come up with this novel solution," Bhote said.
Ruby Hall started this facility a week ago and 35 patients have already benefited from it.
Mahananda Shinde, whose daughter is admitted at the hospital for lung infection-related treatment, said, "My husband works with a pharma company and has a corporate insurance policy of a public sector insurance firm. Under the insurance, we can avail hospitalization cost of up to Rs 1 lakh. Since the cashless facility has been stopped, I have no option but to raise funds. This is where the hospital's mediclaim department helped me to get an interest-free loan of Rs 1.10 lakh."
Sonia Basu, one of the directors of startup firm Healthfin, which is partnering with Ruby Hall Clinic, said, "We have partnered with various banks and financial institutions, through which we offer interest-free schemes to patients for their medical costs."
"It is a win-win situation for all the parties involved. This way patients do not have to delay their treatment while hospitals do not have turn away patients for want of money. Through the scheme, banks are also getting more customers," she said.
George Eapen, CEO of Jehangir hospital, said, "We are also tying up with similar companies to offer immediate assistance to counter the deadlock over the cashless facility."
Narensh Dave of Poona hospital said, "We are also contemplating to extend similar facility to our patients." – TOI