New Delhi: Harvard trained , internationally acclaimed Indian American Heart Surgeon and Healthcare Economist , who was recently honored for scientific excellence with " India's Most Admired Surgeon " award by Maharashtra Governor K Sankaranarayanan, has proposed an innovative insurance model that could revolutionize the fledgling rural healthcare system in India .
Speaking exclusively to ANI, Dr Hariawala suggested a 'womb to tomb' health insurance system, that would ensure adequate healthcare to millions of Indians living in villages, who are today, either not covered under any such insurance, nor can afford expensive medical treatment to battle their illnesses.
" During my MBA education in the US, one important fundamental learning was imbibed, that for any business entity to survive regardless of industry, it must consistently remain profitable. Unfortunately, the health insurance sector in India is reeling on a downward slope due to a poorly structured initiation and flawed models of operation ", he told ANI.
"The Indian population are also partly to be blamed who take up an Insurance policy often after age 50 when disease processes begin that needs expensive corrective surgical interventions within the first 5 years of policy enrollment.
Thus with very little contribution towards ones own health, Insurance companies are compelled to payout large sums, thus making it unsustainable, often culminating in dispute with subscribers and even occasionally filing for bankruptcy. Every country, including India needs a customized health insurance solution taking into consideration nations history, economic status , paying power of people, population discipline and culture" he added.
Dr Hariawala emphasized that " for India to eventually qualify as a developing country, it must have a sound healthcare system which needs urgent remedial reform."
However, the current system cannot be revamped without major Health Insurance Restructuring, he said, adding that his " novel concept of " Womb to Tomb " or " Cradle to Grave " cashless system will be best suited for India which is in the infancy stage of offering Health Insurance to its large 1.2 Billion population where currently only less than 20% of urban India has coverage."
Dr Hariawala offered constructive solutions to these deep rooted problems for India's fractured healthcare system by saying " every Indian regardless of rural or urban birth must be provided an Insurance plan from Day 1 which is carried on for rest of ones life. The minimal affordable initial contribution with an acute spike on gainful employment with regression of premiums on retirement will best work for India. Thus a good portion of life's premium will be contributed by employer. The rural population must be provided government subsidy without dilution of quality healthcare coverage."
"Epidemiologically, a healthy population is a more productive one with an increment of lifespan, with insurance companies taking strong educational initiatives on preventive care reserving therapeutic expensive surgical option approvals only as a last resort," he added.
Dr Hariawala emphasized on the role of Government and said " Induction of ( HIT ) Healthcare Information Technology solutions like " Health Exchange " channels which is a marketplace for all stake holders, will increase transparency of operative plans and lead to a lean and efficient healthcare system. This would not only be cost effective but positively contribute to GDP growth of the country by retention of valuable resources which can be better utilized for rural development. All new government policies must centrally focus on expeditious urbanization of rural India and raised levels of education."
He concluded by adding " If proven world class simulation models are demonstrated and adopted by Indian Health Insurance Sector, it is also likely that many overseas insurance giants could be attracted as investors in strategic partnership with local companies which could be a boom for the industry, national economy and augment large scale employment ".
Boston, US based Dr Mukesh Hariawala who is a prolific keynote speaker at major healthcare events worldwide , was also a key member of the cardiac surgical team of Dr John Wright that performed the first Bypass operation on current India PM Manmohan Singh at the Harley Street Clinic, London in 1990. by Sanjay Mehra