CII conducts ‘Health Insurance Summit 2007’
Aashruti Kak – Mumbai
The Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) held a one-day ‘Health Insurance Summit 2007’ to focus on the growth, challenges and possible alternatives in the health insurance industry. Speakers at the summit included Syeda Hameed, member of the Planning Commission; A Vaidheesh, summit Chairman and Managing Director, Johnson and Johnson; Sandeep Bakhshi, MD and CEO, ICICI Lombard General Insurance; C S Rao, Chairman, IRDA; G C Chaturvedi, Joint Secretary and Mission Director, National Rural Health Mission, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, and Dr Prathap C Reddy, Chairman, CII National Healthcare Council and Chairman, Apollo Hospitals among others.
The summit included sessions on how to establish an ‘Insurance Framework’—grievance redressals, stand-ardisation of healthcare delivery and expansion of health insurance, ‘Challenges for health insurance development’—creating awareness and developing networks, ‘Enablers of health insurance’—initiatives taken by stakeholders to promote health insurance, and a round table discussion on ‘Defining the way forward’.
“Unlike life insurance, there are multiple stake-holders involved in health insurance and it is important for all of them to contribute. This summit has tried to assemble a convergence of industry players on a common platform to explore and agree on key directions,” said Vaidheesh. “The summit will prove constructive for the vast array of issues affecting growth of this industry and the economy as a whole,” he added.
Reddy said, “Health is the most neglected industry despite contributing to over five percent to the national income. It is mainly because of the lack of awareness and disinterest among the masses on the whole.” Insurance is no longer the domain of the rich. In the light of changing lifestyles, escalating medical prices and falling purchasing power, medical treatments are slipping out of one’s reach. Some hindrances to the growth of health insurance industry include the 24 percent of below poverty line and 35 percent of illiterate population.
Chaturvedi said, “Public private partnerships can really help in improving infrastructure and quality of service through investments and training of healthcare staff. Regulatory mechanisms also need to be enforced.” He called for more corporate social responsibility, adding that insurance companies are now grading cities to design customised policies. Likewise, Rao emphasised on two concerns faced by the healthcare industry—insurance and removal of tariffs. “Removal of tariffs can really give the health industry a boost and can also unravel the miscellaneous tag, by making general insurance pay attention to health as well,” he said.