October 28, 2021

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The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Supreme Court seeks government reply on Covid hospital bills

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Supreme Court seeks government reply on Covid hospital bills
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Supreme Court seeks government reply on Covid hospital bills
Supreme Court seeks government reply on Covid hospital bills

NAINITAL: Acting on a petition filed by Dehradun resident Abhinav Thapar, arguing that there was no uniform policy on claiming refund of expenses incurred due to hospitalisation for treatment of Covid patients, the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday issued a notice to the ministry of health and family welfare.
Giving the Centre four weeks to respond, the bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice B V Nagarathna observed that the issue involved in the petition “concerns a wide strata of society consisting of patients and their relatives who have been overcharged during the pandemic, and the issue would merit serious attention”.
The petitioner had argued that during the pandemic, many people were admitted to private hospitals due to lack of a proper public healthcare system. They were handed exorbitant bills, which plunged them into poverty in the absence of any policy or guidelines for the refund of hospital bills.
He added that health insurance companies, too, did not have any guidelines regarding reimbursement, forcing patients to exhaust their health insurance limit.
The petition adds that though cases of overcharging have been reported from across the country, a few state governments, local bodies and a handful of courts have acted on the issue and directed the refund of money but most states are yet to devise a mechanism for audit and refund.
The petition cited an example of Pune municipal corporation, which directed a private hospital to refund the extra money it charged a Covid patient. “…There is no guideline with respect of bills overcharged by private hospitals for treatment of Covid patients,” the petition said.

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