Private Health Insurance and Access to Healthcare
Indian journal of medical ethics 2011 Jan-Mar; 8(1): 28-30
The health insurance business in India has seen a growth of over 25% per annum in the last few years with the expansion of the private health insurance sector. The premium incomes of health insurance have crossed the Rs 8,000 crore mark with the share of private companies increasing to over 41%. This is despite the fact that from the perspective of patients, health insurance is not a good deal, especially when they need it most. This raises a number of ethical issues regarding how the health insurance business runs and how medical practice adjusts to it for profiteering. This article uses the personal experience of the author to argue that health insurance in an unregulated environment can only lead to unethical practices, further victimising the patient. Further, publicly financed healthcare which operates in an environment regulating both public and private healthcare provisioning is the only way to assure access to ethical and equitable healthcare to people.
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