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Calculating calories is as much important as calculating currency: Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan

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The Governor of Telangana, Her Excellency Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan, inaugurated a two-day Summit on Health Insurance Vision 2030 Quality & Affordable Health For All at the Federation House in Red Hills on Friday.  It is being organised by the Health Committee ofThe Federation of Telangana Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FTCCI). 

It is the first national summit involving all the stakeholders with a focus on “Patient First”. 

The Objective of the summit is to develop innovative patient-centric health insurance schemes and products to improve accessibility, to assure affordable and cost-effective insurance products; to build awareness of existing health insurance schemes like Aarogyasri, ESIC, PMJAY and other private insurance products to cover the 40 cores missing middle class; to further increase the health insurance penetration in Telangana to achieve UHC(Universal health coverage) on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode; to understand and find solutions to overcome the challenges in the health insurance sector and the existing Patient Complaint Redressal System

Welcoming the gathering, Anil Agarwal, President of FTCCI said we at the Chamber realised during the pandemic the importance of “Health for all”.  FTCCI with like-minded partners like ASCI (Administrative Staff College of India), AIG(Asian Institute of Gastroenterology), LV Prasad Eye Institute, Indian Medical Association, Telangana and many more taken initiatives to address gaps in health care delivery by the creation of a document on Vision 2030—Quality and Affordable Health for all in Telangana. 

Addressing the 300-plus audience immediately after the inauguration, Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan said that she attended a program before coming to FTCCI where some super kids have shown extraordinary skills by participating in javelin throw, shotput etc.  The irony here is even in the most advanced society like ours we still see kids taking birth with deformities.  In fact, I studied fetal therapy, which offers an intervention before birth to correct, treat, or diminish the deleterious effects of a fetal condition. So that we know the child’s condition, correct it if possible, or abort or adequately prepare the parents. Medical facilities must reach everyone.  When we have the right to education and information, we should also have the right to medical care. 

In order to ensure that health care reaches everyone, our beloved Prime Minister introduced Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Matri Jan Aarogya Yojana which is an attempt to move from a selective approach to health care to deliver a comprehensive range of services spanning preventive, promotive, curative, rehabilitative and palliative care.

In spite of so much development around us, awareness about Health Insurance in India is still not so satisfactory.  Nothing will happen to me,  attitude must change, she said.

I am happy to know that out of the hundred programs, FTCCI does every year they also make health part of those programs.  Kudos to them for organizing this summit on the most sought-after subject.  Unless we have a sound body and mind, nothing works.  We are busy calculating currency but not calories, Governor said.

People must have a master check-up either a day before or after every birthday celebration.  Hardly anyone crosses the age of forty without Diabetes and Blood Pressure.  Health Insurance must cover medical procedures using gadgets and digital equipment like robots, lasers etc. Medical Insurance should be made simple.  It saves lives.  It cannot be considered a burden or expenditure.  You have time for everything, but you don’t have time for your own body, Governor told the audience. 

As most forwarded WhatsApp message says, your body is your best relative. It travels with you.  The regulator IRDA- Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority is working with a mission of “Insurance for all by 2047”.  Our aim is to increase insurance penetration in the country. We have announced many reforms recently that would help in bolstering the ease of doing business, said Ms SN Rajeshwari, Member Distribution, IRDA giving her address.

Our goal is to have a society full of people with life, health, property, and business insurance coverage, she aids.  Ours is the fastest-growing economy.  Insurance is directly linked to the growth of the economy.  Health insurance also registered double-digit growth. It has grown 24% and collected a premium of 82,000 crores. 

The awareness of health insurance after the pandemic is increased. Insurers settled 26 lakh hospital claims worth Rs 25000 crore.  2.5 life claims totalling a value of Rs 18000 crore were settled till this March end.  90% of claims were reported as settled, she said.

The regulator is working on simplifying the process, leveraging technology, and working on a robust grievances cell with a customer service-centric approach. 

We have Bima Bharosa in place which provides a gateway for policyholders to register complaints with insurance companies first and if need be escalate them to the IRDA Grievance Cells. We also have an Ombudsman (grievances redressal mechanism, where an official is appointed to investigate individuals’ complaints against a company or organization, especially a public authority) mechanism in place. We have a 30-day grievances redressal mechanism, the top official of the IRDA said.

Prevention is better than cure. We encourage insurers to offer discounts, and incentives to increase the penetration of insurance in India.  In India 21 crore people are covered under insurance other than government schemes and 69% under government schemes, she said.

Bejon Misra, Chair of Health Insurance Vision 2030 while addressing the gathering said the objective of this summit is to produce an implementable document at the end of the summit.  And we are beginning this from Telangana.  The reason for the same is that it is the hub of high-tech hospitals and medical tourism, he said. Insurance either by private or government, all must be covered he added. 

A Brochure on the Health Insurance Vision 2030 Quality & Affordable Health For All was launched on the occasion.

Shekhar Agarwal, Chair of the Healthcare and Disaster Management Committee, Senior VP Of FTCCI Meela Jayadev, VP Suresh Kumar Singhal, Dy CEO Sujatha, hospital owners, government officers, policymakers, insurers, distributors and policyholders participated in the inaugural session.

It will conclude tomorrow.

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