Telangana: Unhealthy GST Health Insurance Hurts Families Seeking Coverage | Hyderabad News

HYDERABAD: The hefty 18% GST on medical insurance is pushing many Telangana families into debt trap. Unable to purchase insurance coverage at this price – the GST levied on medical care and hospitalization, for that matter, is only 5% – many find themselves draining their savings or turning to lenders, to deal with medical emergencies. Among those most affected are the elderly.

“My uncle recently had a paralysis attack and we had to rush him to Hyderabad from Bhongir for treatment. We not only had to dip into our savings, but also borrow from friends, relatives and neighbors to cover the cost of Rs 25 lakh, ”said Yadama Suresh, the 65-year-old’s nephew. The family is now completely financially exhausted. “While we were looking for insurance for him, we couldn’t go ahead as the premium offered by the company was close to Rs 1.2 lakh because he suffers from high blood pressure,” Suresh added.
In yet another case, treatment for a cancer patient was interrupted halfway when the family ran out of funds. They also couldn’t go for the expensive insurance. “When we used up all the money we had raised by selling our house for my older sister’s treatment, the hospital refused to do even one chemotherapy session. We eventually had to transfer her to a public hospital, ”said P Shivakumar.
Doctors admit that the high cost of insurance creates “medical hostages” (a term coined during the pandemic where people were denied treatment for lack of funds) and weighs heavily on families. “It is true that the high premium rate – besides the lack of awareness – has become the main obstacle for people wishing to purchase insurance. This has led to a widening of the gap between the rich and the poor. The government should make a policy change to ensure that premium rates are reduced, ”said Dr Mahesh Kumar, president of the Healthcare Reforms Doctors Association (HRDA).
Seniors are also asking for a change. “I pay Rs 87,000 per year as a bonus for Rs 10 lakh coverage, which includes around Rs 20,000 GST. It’s too heavy a burden for a retired employee of a private company, ”said Sastry Gollapudi, echoing the sentiments of many others who have had to sell gold, property and other assets.
“The premium for medical insurance for the elderly is at least three to four times more expensive than that of a middle-aged person. Charges become extremely expensive when you are over 70 years old. Considering the limited means of most of the elderly and the need for insurance coverage, it is very important that the Indian government reduce the GST to 5%, ”said Madhava Endlur, who is fighting for this change.

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