Budget2015: Raise medical reimbursement limit from Rs 15K, people to FM

Medical emergencies can emerge from nowhere and may be quite serious many a times. Five years ago Mary Francis in such a situation when she was diagnosed with breast cancer which changed her life forever. As soon as the disease was diagnosed she suddenly found herself in an endless chain of medical tests. Besides there were other costs like second opinions, medications, surgeries and even more tests.

Budget2015: Raise medical reimbursement limit from Rs 15K, people to FM

Cancer survivor Maty Francis. Image courtesy CNN-IBN

"Though I am cancer-free right now, there are regular follow-ups to be done. I am supposed to go at least once in six months across to the doctors. Before going to the doctors I am supposed to do a series of tests and this all roughly amounts to Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000. When more tests are done it varies across. It depends upon from doctor to doctor, hospital to hospital. Roughly Rs 15,000 is just nothing, Francis told CNN-IBN.

Around 80 percent of India's healthcare is provided by private players. The costs have risen by 14 percent in the last 10 years, which is much higher than inflation or economic growth. Despite this big rise in costs, the medical reimbursement limit of Rs 15,000 a year which was set in 1997, has seen no change.

In the last five years, the cost for a simple cataract surgery has shot up by 50 percent while bypass surgeries have doubled in 10 years. The costs of medicines have gone through the roof since this medical reimbursement component was fixed.

The cost of medication is not just high for serious illnesses but also for general ones. A financial professional Sonam just had a couple of bouts of seasonal fever but she soon discovered that the number of tests besides the whole process of treatment from consultation to medicines is way too expensive.

"I think it is too less. Rs 15,000 is nothing in today's time," Sonam told CNN-IBN.

Moreover, no claim can be made for tests or medicines under a medial insurance policy unless it involves at least 24 hours of hospitalization.

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Updated Date: Feb 23, 2015 19:40:36 IST

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