Chennai, April 3 (IANS) Non-life insurers are surprised to see a drastic reduction in reporting of emergency admissions/operations and related claims and wonder whether the people have turned healthy during the lockdown or a silent ‘health’ bomb is ticking.
Meanwhile insurance industry experts do not forsee any drastic increase in their claims ratio due to COVID-19 claims.
“We see significant fall in emergency case admissions in hospitals,” S. Prakash, Managing Director, Star Health and Allied Insurance Company Ltd told IANS.
The nationwide lockdown has reduced pollution (vehicle, factory, noise), reduced stress and people and they are spending more time with their family, eating good food at home with restaurants shutdown. It is true that people may have different kind of stress like – anxiety about their future earnings and others.
But does this mean to reduce emergency cases all of a sudden?
“With vehicles off the roads, the road accident emergencies have drastically come down. That is one of the reasons. Hospitals themselves have decided to delay certain surgeries that can wait without risking the patient’s health,” a senior official of a private non-life insurer told IANS preferring anonymity.
He also said with pollution levels down, the respiratory issues do not occur to a large extent.
Nevertheless, insurance industry officials see a big reduction in emergency claims reportage as even appendicitis cases have come down.
“Medical emergencies can now be classified in to two – real and subjective. The real emergency cases are getting admitted and claims are being intimated. It is the subjective emergency cases that may be getting delayed,” an industry official said.
Responding to the query noted Gastroenterologist and Padma Shri TS.Chandrasekar, Founder Chairman MedIndia Hospitals told IANS: “We had attended to about ten emergency cases after the lockdown.”
According to him, the lower reporting of cases to insurance companies may be due to factors like the patients approaching hospitals near their residences and fear of stigma getting classified as COVID-19 patient if admitted into a hospital during this period.
While agreeing that people are well rested, eat at home, drastic reduction in pollution levels, consumption of liquor and cigarettes might have got reduced Chandrasekar said these will not suddenly change the nature of an ailment.
On high cost of healthcare at private hospitals Prakash said while the insurance sector is regulated, the healthcare sector is unregulated and it is high time the government set up a body drawing experts from different fields to look into the aspect.
Reacting to that Chandrasekar said: “The healthcare sector is considered as a service sector but is subjected to several conditions and restrictions. While the software parks are offered various relaxations, like floor space index (FSI), nothing is offered for hospitals.”