It’s all about money

Deceptive healthcare system and fleecing insurance companies!

With sweeping impact of materialism the old saying ‘health is wealth’ seems to have gone wrong now. If you don’t have enough money (read wealth) you are unable to keep your health in order. Almost in all parts of the subcontinent health sector has turned one of the most lucrative trades where deception is the most prominent trade secret. Well organized racketing at all levels binds the whole fraternity of healthcare with sole motive of making money out of desperate people. From unethical ailment overestimation to excessive diagnostic procedures; overpriced treatments to spurious medicines the whole healthcare system has turned messy.With the collapse of state run healthcare system the private parties made wild inroads into health trading by bulldozing their way without any practical checks by the regulating agencies. Our public healthcare system is rotten to the extent that even a desperately required petty stitch cannot be given without a recommendation. Even after possessing a huge infrastructure state run healthcare system has failed to deliver, giving a wide pass to devious players.  Every Tom, Dick and Harry with enough money and influence at his command is out to make quick bucks out of pain and desperation of sic people. People who often fail in other thriving ventures of hospitality and education find an easy way to multiply their money in murky healthcare sector. This whole story of organized exploitation and defrauding starts from the sacredly looking consultation chambers of unscrupulous doctors and medical consultants. Passing through the pipeline of diagnostic centers, pharmacies and undesired knives of racketing surgeons the miserable journey ends at billing counters where even the healthcare insurance agencies make a fool of common people.

After establishing their base in big cities most healthcare companies with vigorous marketing strategy are spreading their obnoxious tentacles into the middle and lower middle class by outsourcing their services through small time private treatment centers in small cities and towns. Srinagar too has become a hub of hopping consultants who are out to have their prey. Exploiting the expectations of innocent and trusting patients these individuals and institutions at occasions make big patients out of small disease and put them through excruciating grind to make quick bucks, while seriously ill are put on prolonged, undesired and unaffordable costly treatments. No mercy! All are hounded with the same stick meant for making money. The story does not end here only. Insurance companies too have jumped into this murky trade and are enjoying their share out of common-man’s pain without any shame.

During the last two decades many insurance companies targeted a large number of gullible people with attractive looking insurance schemes and are making a huge profit. While selling insurance policies these companies offer a rosy picture of their products, however, at the time of reimbursement their cash-less and hassle-free treatment policies and arrangements fall apart. Very often the desperate patients get torn between the deceptive insurance companies and fleecing healthcare institutions. Interestingly, to widen their net several insurance companies tie up with state governments and offer health insurance cover to soft targets like government employees. Few years back Jammu and Kashmir government short listed an insurance company and made a section of its employees to pay a considerable amount of premium in three annual instalments to arrange health cover for a period of three years. Unfortunately, this company too has failed the state government and its employees on many accounts in providing better healthcare cover. Surprisingly, the company this year got its premium share well in time at the start of the financial year, but has failed to provide the mandatory insurance cover cards to its clients even after the lapse of four months. In the absence of such cards no empanelled hospital or healthcare institution provides treatment facility.

This is high time that state health department; particularly its specialized centers are made fully functional and efficient: health regulating authorities should intervene and ensure a perceptible difference between true, honest and efficient healthcare providers and the exploiters. Government should not only activate its existing mechanism of checks and balances but should make a high powered regulatory authority that will check the activities of mushrooming private healthcare centers and franchises of big health service providers and will also look into the activities and promises made by health insurance companies and their products.