NEW DELHI: Taking a cue from the government’s successful “Ayushman Bharat” scheme, which provides medical insurance to people, a Delhi-based entrepreneur has come out with a novel solution which will meet urgent medical expenses from Rs 50,000 to Rs 5 lakh. CareCover, a healthcare financing company, has launched a pre-approved medical card, which can be used to pay medical bills easily and instantly when there is an acute need of financial assistance at hospitals. The money is provided as loan, which can be paid back in EMIs over 12 months without any interest. It covers all pre-existing illness and all surgeries (except cosmetic).

Nivesh Khandelwal, founder and CEO of CareCover, said that there are medical emergencies when one needs cash to meet any medical emergency. “Though there are medical insurance schemes, many of them are not cashless. There are also cases when application for cashless schemes gets rejected. In other cases, many of the diseases are not covered. In this situation, you do not know how to arrange money instantly when some medical emergency happens. The CareCover card provides solution to this problem,” he said. The card can be obtained by an upfront payment of Rs 600 for one person and Rs 2,000 for four persons, for a validity of one year, and submitting KYC documents like PAN card, Aadhaar card, bank statement etc. For availing the service, the enrolled members having valid activated cards are just required to call at a toll-free helpline number, giving them basic details like name of the seeking treatment, hospital name, estimated amount required for treatment, along with a letter from the hospital verifying the patient name and bill estimation.

Within four months of its launch in October last year, the card has become a big success. According to Khandelwal, there are more than 25,000 card holders at present, while more than 1,000 patients have availed the service so far. “We have tied up with all prominent hospitals across India like Fortis, Max, Jaypee, Medanta, Indira IVF etc, where the card can be used for making the payments. In total, we have tie-ups with about 1,800 hospitals across the country in 82 cities,” he said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India ranks 184th out of 191 countries in terms of percent-of-GDP spending on health. Studies show that less than 5% of India has private insurance. About 65% of the people who are insured are under-insured and hence, 70% of India’s healthcare expenditure is paid for from savings.

“Out of Pocket” (OoP) expense could be any amount which one will pay for a medical procedure. With only 10% of the Indian population covered by private health insurance, healthcare has become a luxury rather than a necessity.