India is known to have a health care infrastructure that is extremely affordable as per global standards, and people from various other countries fly here to get treatment that is easy on the pocket and does not compromise on the quality. However, for most in the country, healthcare in India is so expensive that they cannot afford it all.
Indian healthcare scene has excellent facilities to offer, with online doctor appointment, doctor consultation apps, and several mHealth services. However, the services are often not easy to afford for the common man, which is why there is a huge rise in the sale of Health Insurance.
Health Insurance provides the momentary benefit of not having to pay huge medical bills right away when one needs immediate attention, it does put the pressure of installments on the individuals, as well as the wastage of hard-earned premium in case the insurance is not availed.
This is only the tip of the iceberg; there are a host of reasons which work in tandem to create problems for the masses.
Lack of insurance:
It is also crucial to keep in mind that most of this problem is that the majority of the population of India does not have insurance. This is because people can’t afford insurance in the first place. The government also offers some insurance schemes, but these usually fail and do not provide cover or reimbursement, and the mechanisms of this are very faulty.
The government does not cover medical bills for all people; there are specific criteria for what gets reimbursed or paid by the government and what does not. While it sounds fair on the surface, this means that impractically large amounts of money have to be shouldered by those who cannot afford any additional expenses every month.
Government run schemes for the poor also happen to cover specific portions of the medical treatment, which are only hospital admission charges. The outpatient costs are not covered even though the services like medical consultation, tests and scans, and medicines also cost a lot of money which many cannot afford.
Lack of infrastructure:
The demands of the healthcare sector are extremely high in the country, but with merely 370 medical colleges, one cannot expect improvement in this service sector any time soon.
It is also worth noting that most of the medical training institutes are private in nature which makes it as expensive to afford medical training as it is to afford medical treatment.
The condition of government hospitals is another matter of concern.
While international standards appreciate the allocation of capital in treatment over beautification of hospitals, it is not to forget that hygiene and services in government hospitals are not at par with their private counterparts.
It is no surprise that the number of doctors and medical professionals working in India is as little as less than one per hundred patients. The government’s funding towards the health sector is less than 1.5% of the GDP of the country, which explains why there is an acute shortage of medical practitioners.
With the rising costs of medical training, not many can afford to get trained in proper medicine and become specialists. The working staff in hospitals is often untrained and lacks certification, which is why they cannot act in emergency situations properly in case a doctor or specialist is not present to guide and instruct them. It is not likely to see much improvement in the time to come unless radical reorganization measures are taken.
as the above-explained reasons clarify, government aided hospitals are not very heavily reliable when one needs medical assistance on an emergency basis. Private hospitals understand this and use this to huge advantages for themselves.
It is no news that the rampant billing and extended hospitalization at private hospitals cause a great amount of discomfort to those who are struggling with the exorbitant expenses. Hospitals also make patients take and pay for many extra services just to increase their profit margins, and due to lack of better guidance or any knowledge in the matter; patients suffer at the hands of those who should be helping them.
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The goal of the country should not be to reduce the price of healthcare – medical services in India are rather fairly priced. The goal should be to make the present services and treatment better available and more accessible to the common people.
This can be done by making better arrangements in medical colleges and the improvement of the condition of government clinic and hospitals. There is also a need to increase the transparency in billing practices and digitalization of the entire process.
By improving health care facilities and making them better available to common people, it can be ensured that the larger issues are avoided, and timely treatment is meted out.