Bengaluru: Dr Devi Shetty’s Narayana Health has become the first hospital chain in India to also own an insurance company, thus eliminating one entity from the three that are generally part of an insurance ecosystem. The hospital’s flagship insurance product, called Aditi, offers comprehensive family coverage for an annual premium of Rs 10,000, with a sum insured of Rs 1 crore for surgeries and Rs 5 lakh in treatment costs at Narayana Health network hospitals.

Health insurance typically involves an insurance company, a hospital and a patient. By combining the hospital and the insurance company, Dr Shetty says he’s eliminating the need to ensure profits in two entities, thereby making insurance more affordable. Since the claim settlement process will happen within the Narayana Health network, it is also expected to be hassle-free, allowing patients to focus on their health and recovery.

Aditi will initially be launched in four districts around Mysuru as part of a pilot project, before expanding to other parts of Karnataka. “Narayana Aditi is designed to protect families from the financial burdens of medical expenses, offering peace of mind during challenging times. With the launch of Aditi, we embark on a transformative journey to make quality healthcare a reality for every Indian,” Dr Shetty said in Bengaluru on Monday.

The primary goal, he said, is to promote preventive health checkups. “All tests will be available at Narayana Health at discounted rates for those who are insured under this scheme. For instance, if someone is diabetic, our 24-hour helpline will track the person’s health records and if they have not checked their blood sugar levels, we will ask them to get it done. And, as this scheme progresses, we might even go to their houses to get samples,” he added.

Dr Shetty said developing countries made an error by prioritising malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV in their government health policies. He said while these diseases cause 1.2 million to 2 million deaths annually, the lack of access to safe surgery results in 17 million deaths worldwide. “If our government looked at offering surgery to all as a national strategy, there would have been a magical shift in the way the public health care ran,” he said.

He said insurance is the way to go for large countries like India. He said free healthcare has worked in some small countries, with populations not exceeding 5 to 10 million. These countries, he said, also have a high tax-to-GDP ratio of 25% to 45%, and they spend 18-20% of their GDP on healthcare. India, he said, has a tax-to-GDP ratio of only around 11%, and spends less than 2% on healthcare. For these reasons, he said, the way to ensure healthcare for all is to find ways to have affordable insurance. On the hospital chain’s expansion plans, Dr Shetty said a greenfield hospital in Kolkata is in the works. The first phase of the project, which will have 350 beds, will cost Rs 500 crore. Upon completion, the hospital will have 1,000 beds.

  • Published On Jul 2, 2024 at 01:03 PM IST

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