Bangalore/ New Delhi: It pledges to dote on patients, pamper patients, handhold them. You will rub your eyes in disbelief if told that it is a health insurance company that will have such empathy in store for patients. If satisfaction is a scarce commodity for patients who have already bought health insurance from the existing insurers, Narayana Health insurance has dawned on the scene to change that completely. It promises to be a genre of health insurance unheard of in India. They say it is godsend for patients. Call it ‘Narayanasend’ if you will. Insured patients never had it so good.
With Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman of the most credible healthcare company Narayana Health and a true heart healer, patients were already kings. With his health insurance company in tow, it is going to be patients’ paradise indeed. Narayana Health will certainly be a cut above the rest. Narayana Health’s patient first philosophy is what will make its insurance company a whiff of fresh air in the existing despondent health insurance scenario.
There is no ‘fine print’ in Narayana Health Insurance; the healer cum insurer speaks from the front to people in clear terms. Narayana Health Insurance also imbibes the same values that Narayana health is universally known for in India for ages. Utmost customer satisfaction will always be uppermost aim. In one stroke, Dr Devi Shetty is poised to ‘disrupt’ healthcare insurance sector in India as never before.
Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairman and Executive Director, Narayana Health holds nothing back when he speaks about his upcoming Health insurance company. In all his TV interviews he lays bare his best intentions behind his entering insurance sector. Without mincing words, Dr Shetty says, ‘The moment we give you health insurance you are covered for everything from day one. There is nothing like a cooling period of one year, two years, nothing of the sort. We will be covering everything. We will be covering outpatient program. We will be covering inpatients services. And when patients come to our hospitals, there would not be any co-payment. Yes, it is going to be dramatically different than what is available today.’
That it will be an integrative care and a preventive care is what will make Narayana Health Insurance stand out among other players already trying hard to rope in customers. Making money in the sick room has never been motto of Narayana Health. Likewise, in case of Narayana Health Insurance as well profit making is not even a distant thought.
Dr Shetty, the visionary, goes on saying, ‘It is an exciting opportunity and this is the only way we can transform Indian healthcare. This is the way forward. I have no doubt. We should start talking about not universal healthcare for free for the citizens with the tax payers’ money. We should talk about universal health insurance for everyone. This should be our slogan.’
‘There is a major correlation between our hospitals and the insurance company. This is the advantage of a hospital becoming a health insurance company wherein there will be a lot of benefits our members will enjoy because we are healthcare providers. A lot of benefits they get in terms of having access to us round the clock. We have hospitals across the country and we have large number of nurses who are extremely well trained and our services are available to our clients round the clock’, he adds.
Explaining his insurance company’s attributes, Dr Shetty adds further, ‘Currently the health insurance companies work like a financial intermediaries, you get admitted to the hospital, you produce the bill, and they pay the money. We want to be different. We want to be like managed care organization like Kaiser Permanente wherein we evaluate all the members, we have all their data with us, we manage their primary care, we manage their secondary, tertiary care and we would like to predominantly work like custodians of the healthcare rather than just a payer for the treatment. We would want to know the status of the healthcare. If there is a diabetic patient, we are not going to refuse care, we will offer them the care but we will handhold them and make sure that diabetes is controlled.
‘Essentially we want to ensure that people do not fall sick. Then the conflict of interest will be addressed. Today about 16-17 percent of the heart surgeries done in India is done by us. Today we have no incentive for preventing people from falling sick. Once we become Health Insurance Company it is better for us, if people do not develop a heart attack, so the whole problem of conflict of interest is addressed.’
Seeing the hopeless scenario in health insurance domain, Dr Devi Shetty long wanted to bring about a change for the patients but failed to make it because of hurdles earlier in the way of getting license for the company. Dr Shetty has words of praise for IRDA (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority) too. Dr Shetty says, ‘First of all I want to thank IRDA for the remarkable speed at which they have cleared our license. Earlier, it used to take over one to one and a half years, more than waiting period. Many many years ago I tried to see whether we can apply for a license and I did not get even a chance to talk to them. Things have changed IRDA. It is run by very dynamic and progressive people. We got license in less than 5 months. I think it is the fastest health insurance license anyone has got.