Dr. Devi Shetty, founder chairman of Narayana Health and one of India’s leading cardiac surgeons, believes that the future of healthcare lies not in universal healthcare, but in universal health insurance. In a recent interview, Dr. Shetty explained the confluence of factors that led to his renewed interest in the insurance business.
For more than three decades, Dr. Shetty has been committed to providing affordable healthcare and reducing costs. However, he now believes that further lowering costs in medical procedures would compromise quality. He acknowledges that healthcare cannot be compromised, but it still needs to be made affordable. According to Dr. Shetty, the only solution is affordable health insurance.
To pursue this vision, Narayana Health has applied for a license to set up “Narayana One Health,” a 100% subsidiary focused on health insurance. Dr. Shetty is excited about the possibilities this venture can bring, as it will unfold a new model of integrated care across primary, secondary, and tertiary levels. The plan includes setting up a chain of primary clinics to provide managed care that covers people from primary care to medical intervention and tertiary care when required.
Dr. Shetty understands that people often prefer visiting clinics over hospitals and that not everyone needs hospital care. By establishing primary clinics, Narayana Health aims to provide medical expertise and prevention-focused care while also ensuring suitable product offerings and options for affordable health insurance.
Leading the foray into insurance is Ravi Vishwanath, an insurance industry expert. Dr. Shetty believes that the trust deficit between hospitals, insurance companies, and patients needs to be addressed. The arrival of a proactive regulator, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), has sparked hope for increased trust and cooperation among these stakeholders.
Dr. Shetty envisions a future where healthcare is not limited to the affluent. He expects India to become the first country to disassociate healthcare from wealth, with insurance playing a crucial role in providing quality healthcare to all. With IRDAI’s goal of increasing insurance penetration in the country, Dr. Shetty believes that India can achieve this milestone within the next five years.
Looking back at Dr. Shetty’s track record of innovation, such as his early exploration of telemedicine, it is apparent that he has a knack for attempting newer approaches to existing problems. As he rolls out his integrated care model, many are hopeful that his vision for affordable healthcare through universal health insurance will prove successful.
In conclusion, Dr. Devi Shetty’s renewed interest in the insurance business stems from his belief that affordable health insurance is the key to making healthcare accessible to all. With a focus on integrated care and the support of a proactive regulator, Dr. Shetty aims to bridge the trust deficit between hospitals, insurance companies, and patients. His vision for universal health insurance could revolutionize healthcare in India and potentially serve as a model for other countries striving to make healthcare more affordable and accessible.