Apollo Hospitals managing director Suneeta Reddy called the government initiatives towards healthcare as “path-breaking” and said the private sector participation will be integral in successful delivery of ambitious National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) that aims to cover 10 crore poor families with Rs 5 lakh health insurance.
Reddy, the chief of India’s largest healthcare conglomerate, in an exclusive telephonic interview told Moneycontrol that private providers however can’t deliver unless it comes at reasonable price.
Below are the edited excerpts of the interview
How do you see the government’s National Health Protection Scheme proposal?
It is indeed heartening that 40 percent of India’s population will be covered under an insurance scheme. The payor problem demanded urgent attention and the government has paid heed. If the flagship National Health Protection Scheme to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families with up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation is properly implemented and monitored we would have taken an important step in creating a Swasth Bharat. Effectively this initiative which amounts USD 800 billion tops even the US’ Medicaid programme which amounts to USD 550 billion.
Do you think the government will be able to execute and fund the programme of this size?
It’s Rs 5 lakh coverage per family which makes it meaningful for secondary and tertiary care providers. Before it was only Rs 50,000 – Rs 70,000 not a meaningful coverage. But this coverage is huge, don’t forget that there is something like reinsurance that will help in large volumes. I think the government has a plan for good reinsurance policy. The government also spoken about health cess. Earlier on there were allocations made towards health which were not utilised all these should help fund. I think with Aadhaar and Digital India – the ability is tremendous to ensure that the scheme benefits people who really deserve.
What kind of role is private players like Apollo will hope to play in the programme and what are some sticky things in partnering with the government?
It’s an opportunity to work with the government. There should be continued focus on the policies for good clinical outcomes. The limits (on cost of medical procedures) should make sense for the private providers to work with government. The government knows that the private sector cannot deliver unless it comes at reasonable price. Let me tell you to do the secondary and tertiary care infrastructure is not an easy thing.
As company into health insurance what kind of opportunity do you see?The government is talking about such high volumes, they (insurance companies) will be able to cover the risk and price in.moneycontrol