Chennai: Hospitals now charge 20-30% more for non-Covid treatments like surgery and general hospitalization, citing higher expenses incurred due to mandatory Covid management fees. This tariff revision was reflected in the average of non-Covid medical claims.
For example, Ramalingam, 65 (name changed on request), who underwent two surgeries – bypass and valve replacement – was billed at Rs 6.4 lakh, of which around Rs 1.5 lakh of the bill was quoted under additional charge for disposable Covid .. A senior administration official at the Chennai-based multispecialty hospital confirmed that there was a change in the price of non-covid surgery packages this year. Over the past five years, there has been no revision of the rates for hospitalization and surgery packages. However, there is now an additional cost of Rs 30,000 below room costs due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Knee replacement surgery, which was billed at a flat rate of Rs 3.5 lakh in 2019, is now estimated at Rs 4 lakh.
Health insurance company Max Bupa recorded a 60% increase in non-Covid claims in July, compared to April and May 2021. “The amount of claims has also increased significantly. We don’t understand this need for a tariff review for non-covid treatment, it will ultimately impact claims, ”said Bhabatosh Mishra, its director of underwriting, products and claims.
Suman Pal, senior vice president, claims manager, Acko General Insurance, says there is an increase of at least 5% in claims amounts in addition to the usual 12-15% annual increase due to the ‘inflation.
Hospitals are performing preoperative HIV tests, from complete blood count to blood sugar level, which now also includes a mandatory Covid test. Therefore, this will add up to an additional one-day hospital charge until the test results arrive. Hospitals have also tightened their sanitation and hygiene protocol, which has increased costs such as PPE kits, room hygiene costs, etc. These additional Covid fees are much higher than the indicated surgery package.
Amit Chhabra, head of health insurance at Policybazaar.com, said the average claim size of – both Covid and non-Covid – has increased from Rs 40,000 to 80,000 between March 2020 and now.
The average amount of claims for Covid 19 claims is Rs 1,18,000, while for non-Covid it was Rs 78,600.