BENGALURU: Born in the seven month of pregnancy , the boy weighed just 800 grams and was put on ventilator support for three weeks.
On December 10, the family, however, withdrew the medical care citing the inability of the father, an attendant in a private hospital, to afford the treatment.
The medical bill had skyrocketed and the baby required ventilator support for a minimum six more weeks. This happened in a private hospital near Hanumanth Nagar in south Bengaluru.
This is not a rare case, but a common scene in neonatal ICUs in the city . When a baby is born with complications, its survival depends on the parents’ ability to afford the treatment irrespective of the improvements shown in its health.
Ventilator support costs Rs 7,000 to 20,000 per day depending on the hospital. Sadly, premier insurance companies in India do not cover newborn babies.
With increase in the incidence of neonatal complications, paediatricians and neonatologists are worried about the lack of insurance cover for newborns.
“There are various health insurance policies available in India. But most of them do not cover newborns from the day of their birth.
Most insurance companies are not ready to cover a child under 90 days because the risk may be too high for them,” says Dr Prashanth Urs, head of the neonatology department in Apollo Hospitals.
Dr Urs, also co-chairman of newborn medical insurance committee of National Neonatology Forum, recently conducted a survey online and collected data from all the states.
“Our research shows that newborn insurance has been completely neglected or avoided by the insurance sector,” he said.
Dr Devi Shetty , chairman and founder of Narayana Health, who operates on newborns suffering from cardical complications on a daily basis, terms India a strange country where insurance does not cover newborns and those aged above 60 years who need medical help the most.
“Unless the children are born o a rich grandfather, God help them! When a couple has a child, they would be young and not have lakhs of rupees n bank.
Children are the not properties of parents alone hey are the society of the fu ure. It’s the responsibility of he society to protect kids,” he added.
Dr Ranjan Kumar Pejaver who heads the neonatology unit at Meenakshi hospitals says it’s agonizing for a doctor to see a patient’s care withdrawn due to lack of money .
“A father who earns not more than Rs 10,000 a month, working in a private sector, not covered under government insurance scheme cannot afford treatment if the child is born with complications.
At least two such cases of withdrawal are seen every month in any given hospital in the city. There is an urgent need for insurance companies to cover newborn care,” he said.
Curated from Insurance cover for newborns a mirage