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Narayana Health got insurance licence in less than 5 months. What next?

Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairman & Executive Director, Narayana Health, says “the moment we give you health insurance, you are covered for everything from day one. There is nothing like a cooling period of one year, two years, nothing of that sort. We will be covering everything. We will be covering the outpatient programme. We will be covering inpatient services. And when patients come to our hospital for the treatment, there would not be any co-payment. This the plan our team has. Yes, it is going to be dramatically different than what is available today.”

Tell us about this new licence for insurance. You have got it within six months of submitting the application. Did you anticipate that? How are you going to manage healthcare insurance? How different would it be from the regular health insurance that we all take up?

Devi Prasad Shetty: First of all, I want to thank IRDA for the remarkable speed at which they have cleared our licence. Earlier, it used to take over one to one and a half years, more than the waiting period. Many, many years ago, I tried to see whether I can apply for a licence and I did not even get a chance to talk to them. Things have changed in IRDA. It is run by very dynamic and progressive people. We got it in less than five months. I think it is the fastest health insurance license

How is it going to be different from the other health insurance schemes that are available?
Devi Prasad Shetty: Currently the health insurance companies work like a financial intermediary; you get admitted to the hospital, you produce a bill and they pay the money. We want to be different. We want to be like a managed care organisation, like Kaiser Permanente of the U.S. wherein we evaluate all the members, we have all their data with us, we manage their

manage their primary care, we manage their secondary, tertiary care and we would like to predominantly work like custodians of healthcare rather than just a payer for the treatment. We want to know the status of healthcare. If there is a diabetic patient, we are not going to refuse care. We will offer them the care but we will ensure or help the person, hand-hold them and make sure that diabetes is controlled.

Essentially, we want to ensure that people do not fall sick. Then the conflict of interest will be addressed. Today, about 16-17% of the heart surgery done in India is done by us. Today we have no incentive for preventing people from falling sick. Once we become a health insurance company, it is better for us if people do not develop a heart attack. So the whole problem of conflict of interest is addressed. This is the way we want to move forward.

You have got your license at breakneck speed. When do we see you get going and which geography would you target first?
Devi Prasad Shetty: Our team is all set and they are hopeful that next month itself we will be launching our product. We initially want to concentrate on Bangalore. Then we would like to look at Kolkata where we have a large presence. So it is not going to be a pan-Indian insurance company from day one. We want to do it in a gradual manner.

We want to learn, we want to make all the mistakes at an early stage when we are small, learn from it, then progress.

Is there going to be a correlation between your hospitals and the insurance company?
Devi Prasad Shetty: Yes, there is a major correlation. Definitely. This is the advantage of a hospital becoming a health insurance company wherein there will be a lot of benefits our members will enjoy because we are healthcare providers. A lot of benefits they get in terms of having access to us round the clock and we have hospitals across the country and we have a large

number of nurses who are extremely well-trained and our services are available to our clients round the clock. There are many, many benefits.

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