Working from duvet: Why Megastar Well being is beneath hearth


Gupta, then again, sought a moment opinion. Some other physician quoted 50,000 for a similar remedy, with simply two days of hospitalization and common physiotherapy thereafter. Gupta went forward, paid the fees and filed for repayment. That’s when his struggles started. “Megastar Well being rejected my declare over a record discrepancy. I had a street site visitors coincidence, however the insurer assumed it was once renal tubular acidosis, a kidney illness. I attempted reasoning with them, however to no avail. I’ve written to the insurance coverage ombudsman now,” stated Gupta.

Such rejections aren’t unusual with some insurers. Shishir Bhatnagar, 42, of Noida is paralyzed and has been struggling with IFFCO-Tokio for the final 12 years over his declare. “I’ve been paralyzed ever since I fell in a swimming pool throughout a marriage. The insurance coverage corporate, then again, claimed that I used to be inebriated once I fell. That is completely preposterous and the physician’s observation on the time of admission obviously regulations out any alcohol or drug use,” stated Bhatnagar. He filed a case in opposition to IFFCO-Tokio and it was once upheld by way of district and state shopper boards in Uttar Pradesh. Then again, the insurer has now moved the nationwide shopper discussion board.

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The promise of medical health insurance is proving to be a mirage for policyholders like Gupta and Bhatnagar. Many pay top premiums and purchase those insurance policies believing that within the match they want healthcare, they’re going to be absolutely lined. Then again, that duvet is proving to be non-existent for some, with even pre-authorized cashless claims being rejected in sure circumstances. All of this has ended in a rising belief that sure insurers all the time in finding causes to disclaim or extend claims. Certainly, knowledge from public disclosures displays that Megastar Well being, the marketplace chief, has a deficient claims agreement ratio—the ratio has fallen greatly for key merchandise (see chart).

In any other case, Vishal Bhardwaj, a New Delhi-based entrepreneur, were given his daughter admitted within the emergency ward at Sir Ganga Ram Health center, New Delhi, the place an emergency surgical operation was once carried out on her to mend an belly perforation. Bhardwaj, who had a coverage from Care Well being, implemented for pre-authorization of cashless remedy. Then again, the insurer refused, mentioning that it was once a pre-existing illness. “They didn’t approve it even after the physician’s observation in my favour,” Bhardwaj stated in a LinkedIn put up. It was once simplest after the case unfold on social media that Care Insurance coverage licensed the cashless declare.

An e-mail despatched to Care Well being on its claims lawsuits knowledge didn’t elicit any reaction. Emails despatched to IFFCO-Tokio at the paralyzed Bhatnagar’s case additionally didn’t elicit any reaction.

Mint reached out to Megastar Well being looking for main points on why Pawan Gupta’s declare were rejected. Responding to our queries by means of e-mail, a spokesperson for the insurer stated, “Our clinical officials who procedure claims might now and again ask additional info on earlier remedy information and line of remedy, and so on., to reach at an acceptable choice. The declare may be adjudicated in line with gadget signals, previous historical past and coverage stipulations.” The spokesperson added, “In relation to Pawan Gupta, we gained two variations of the clinical record. In a single set of paperwork it was once discussed that this was once a case the place Pawan fell from the steps at his place of dwelling. In any other set of paperwork, the case was once attributed to a Highway Visitors Twist of fate. Then again, we raised issues as there have been no information like police information, and so on. In view of this contradiction in clinical paperwork, the declare was once rejected.”

Previous this month, a pissed off clinical affiliation’s problems with Megastar Well being made their manner into the general public area. The Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Houses Affiliation had written to the insurer looking for an pressing assembly to handle problems, together with claims rejections and delisting of community hospitals. The letter was once broadly circulated on social media, and noticed many irate customers sharing tales about their claims being rejected by way of Megastar Well being and different insurers.

“We handle a couple of insurers however my crew that handles claims tells me it is vitally tough to get cashless approvals from Megastar Well being and Care Well being, particularly for bariatric surgical procedures,” stated Dr Vikram Lotwala, who runs a nursing house in Surat. Bariatric surgical procedures assist overweight folks drop extra pounds and enhance their well being.

In accordance with the Ahmedabad affiliation’s allegations, a spokesperson for Megastar Well being stated, “We highlighted a couple of deficiencies from some member hospitals in Ahmedabad, because of which we had to take away them from our cashless community. A follow-up assembly is tentatively scheduled for the primary week of October.”

To make certain, some hospitals are identified to fee exorbitantly for cashless therapies because the insurer selections up the tab. This, then again, in the end affects policyholders, as insurers change into suspicious of even authentic claims. Certainly, when insurers and hospitals are at loggerheads, policyholders are those that suffer.

Claims and counterclaims

Maximum policyholders want hassle-free, cashless remedy. However insurers had been sniffing a rip-off within the hefty expenses generated by way of hospitals. Vivek Rege, founder and CEO, VR Wealth Advisors, stated claims are being rejected even in pre-authorized cashless circumstances, as took place together with his worker, an place of job assistant, whose 24-year-old son were hospitalized. The insurer on this case, too, was once Megastar Well being.

“Megastar Well being had licensed the declare on the time of admission however rejected it when the general invoice was once introduced. The insurer stated the affected person was once no longer a dependent although the coverage obviously said that youngsters as much as the age of 30 years might be lined as dependents, equipped they weren’t hired,” stated Rege. The declare were rejected at the premise that the affected person was once hired, he added, noting that Megastar Well being had arrived at this choice in line with the admission shape, which Rege claims were wrongly crammed by way of any individual on the clinic.

After the declare was once rejected, the clinic refused to discharge the affected person until its dues have been cleared. With each and every passing day, the invoice stored taking pictures up. “In spite of everything, my corporate needed to foot the clinic invoice. I’ve contested the rejection with the complaint crew,” stated Rege.

In its reaction, Megastar Well being stated, “In relation to Vivek Rege, there was once a mismatch within the insured identify discussed within the coverage record and the affected person’s identify. The policyholder additionally didn’t reveal the identify of his employer. The Health center information indicated that he was once hired on the time of admission.” It added, “After due investigation, once we approached the corporate to ensure if the affected person was once a dependent lined beneath the corporate insurance coverage, the employer denied it. Requests to Vivek Rege for more information went unanswered. Because of this, it was once no longer imaginable to procedure the declare.”

The claims ratio

A technique to have a look at an insurer’s document on clearing policyholders’ bills is to inspect its claims agreement ratio. This metric can be utilized to test the collection of claims settled in a given length. The decrease the ratio, the more severe it’s from a buyer’s standpoint, and the simpler it’s from the insurer’s point of view, as a result of the decrease payout.

Then again, exact claims agreement knowledge isn’t readily to be had in public disclosures, stated Aayush Dubey, co-founder and head of Analysis,, an unbiased insurance coverage analysis platform. Additionally, the ratio simplest components within the collection of claims, no longer the claimed quantity. “It does no longer expose anything else about how just right the insurer is at dealing with claims or the rate at which it processes them,” stated Dubey.

Megastar Well being has disclosed the claims agreement knowledge for each and every of its merchandise one after the other in its public disclosures. The ratio has fallen greatly for merchandise equivalent to Circle of relatives Well being Optima Insurance coverage Plan, Megastar Complete Insurance coverage Coverage and Younger Megastar Insurance coverage Coverage between 2021-22 and 2022-23.

The collection of lawsuits about claims is any other metric to analyse the document of insurers. Knowledge compiled by way of displays that Megastar Well being registered the best quantity (49) of lawsuits for each and every 10,000 claims registered amongst standalone well being insurers in 2022-23, adopted by way of Niva Bupa (46), Care Well being (40), Manipal Cigna (19) and Aditya Birla Capital (18). Amongst common insurers, Navi Normal Insurance coverage (99), SBI Normal Insurance coverage (24) and Shriram Normal Insurance coverage (23) crowned within the collection of lawsuits gained final fiscal yr.

Then again, a like-to-like comparability between standalone well being insurers and common insurers isn’t imaginable, for the reason that the latter don’t put up medical health insurance knowledge one after the other (their knowledge additionally contains, motor insurance coverage, robbery, hearth, flood claims, and so on). Generally, then again, the well being trade receives extra lawsuits than different merchandise equivalent to motor insurance coverage.

Marketplace chief

Whilst Megastar Well being tops within the collection of lawsuits, it must be famous that the corporate may be the largest standalone well being insurer within the retail section, when it comes to trade. Knowledge from Nuvama Institutional Equities, a broking company, displays that the corporate’s marketplace percentage surged 21 share issues to 33.7% between 2014-15 and 2022-23. The marketplace percentage is greater than 3 times that of the second-largest participant, HDFC Ergo (9.7%).

After incurring losses of about 1,000 crore in 2020-21 and 2021-22, the corporate reported a web benefit of 619 crore in final fiscal yr, in step with its annual record.

Megastar Well being has outpaced business enlargement when it comes to gross sales, sponsored by way of a powerful agent community (maximum LIC brokers promote Megastar insurance policies) and aggressive top class pricing.

Based in 2006 by way of V. Jagannathan, Megastar Well being is India’s first standalone medical health insurance supplier. The Rakesh Jhunjhunwala circle of relatives owns a 17.31% stake within the corporate. Jagannathan resigned from the Board in June, a month after he relinquished his place as the manager government officer (CEO). Anand Roy, the corporate’s managing director, has changed him as CEO.

Hospitals as opposed to insurers

Whilst their claims agreement ratio is a purpose for worry, insurers had been fast to indicate that they have got been sufferers of insurance coverage fraud, which has shot up in recent years. Whilst there’s no publicly to be had consolidated knowledge, business mavens say fraud claims may just simply make up 10-15% of general claims paid in a yr. If this is true, the entire quantity paid out by way of India’s 5 standalone well being insurers and 24 common well being insurers to settle such claims can be within the area of 7,000-10,000 crore. That’s kind of one billion greenbacks a yr misplaced to fraudulent claims.

Insurers have even recognized clusters from the place fraud claims often originate—Surat and Ahmedabad in Gujarat; Faridabad, Gurugram and Palwal in Haryana; Meerut, Kanpur, Lucknow and Unnao in Uttar Pradesh; Pune, Nashik, and Ahmednagar in Maharashtra; and Bengaluru in Karnataka.

The surge in scamming has driven insurers to leverage synthetic intelligence gear, which factor an alert on discovering a trend in doubtlessly fraudulent claims. Then again, authentic circumstances additionally get stuck up on this web.

Vikas Mittal, a pharma gross sales supervisor founded in Meerut, stated his declare was once rejected by way of Megastar Well being, which accused him of conniving with the clinic to document a fraudulent declare. “The corporate didn’t take any motion on my repeated mails and in-person visits for 3 months. Thereafter, a surveyor visited my house and the clinic the place I used to be handled and located benefit in my declare,” he stated. Regardless of this, the corporate endured to reject his declare. “The group of workers additionally misbehaved with me on every occasion I visited the department. In spite of everything, I approached Insurance coverage Samadhan and were given my declare settled,” stated Mittal.

Insurance coverage Samadhan is a complaint redressal platform that is helping aggrieved policyholders struggle their circumstances with insurers, for a rate.

In accordance with queries about this example, Megastar Well being stated, “In relation to Vikas Mittal, there have been a couple of claims raised and we licensed 2.5 lakh in cashless claims. A couple of claims of the policyholder have been flagged because of issues like non-submission of discharge abstract. Health center invoices for each insured (husband and spouse) have been an identical and (there have been) severe discrepancies in numbering of the receipts, which pointed to imaginable claims fraud. We had additionally gained suspicious claims from the treating clinic previously and our fraud detection methods had recommended warning.”

One after the other, insurers are pissed off by way of what they time period ‘comfortable fraud’ within the type of inflated clinical expenses. They declare that such rip-offs by way of hospitals contain undesirable clinical procedures. However this is no reason why for them to reject authentic claims, stated Mumbai-based cardiac surgeon Dr Prashant Mishra. “I don’t deny that such frauds exist, however insurance coverage corporations, particularly Megastar Well being, are taking excessive measures. Whilst renewing their contract, they pester smaller hospitals and nursing houses to just accept even decrease fees even if clinical inflation itself has risen to fourteen%,” he stated. “Those hospitals don’t wish to lose out to the contest, in order that they settle for it, however it’s not sustainable. Skilled medical doctors at those hospitals are actually refusing to regard sufferers lined beneath Megastar Well being and Care Insurance coverage insurance policies.”

Dr Lotwala from Surat stated insurance coverage corporations call for remedy applications which might be on par with the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PMJAY), which has very low charges. “Now not many non-public hospitals have opted for it (AB PMJAY). Satirically, for an identical procedures, insurers settle massive claims from large hospitals in spite of the extra fees however refuse a lot smaller claims from hospitals positioned in tier II and tier III towns,” he stated.

The way in which ahead

Business mavens say that the will of the hour is for the entire stakeholders to have a optimistic discussion for justified, pre-negotiated tariff applications in step with what the Normal Insurance coverage Public Sector Affiliation, a bunch of 4 state-owned common insurers, gives community hospitals.

Mavens additionally indicate that policyholders can not stay up for the business to discover a resolution. Policyholders need to make a complete disclosure whilst purchasing a coverage and must be wary whilst submitting claims, and insurers, too, want to fit that by way of turning into clear of their dealings, they stated.

From the policyholder’s viewpoint, some mavens imagine it’s higher to select a competent middleman who can assist with claims agreement. “When shoppers method insurers immediately, they communicate emotionally or aggressively,” stated Sanjay Aggarwal, co-founder and prison head of Insurance coverage Samadhan. “Insurers don’t entertain feelings. You want to talk to them in prison language to make your level.”



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