The Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued policy guidelines to include peritoneal dialysis (PD) in the field of private insurance coverage to address the growing number of kidney failure patients in India.
According to the guidelines, through an approved pre-authorisation process, patients undergoing PD treatment can make claims for reimbursement on a monthly basis. The terms of the new guidelines are applicable as of 1 October 2020. In India, 2.2 lakh individuals who are on dialysis or transplantation for treatment are affected by ESKD, according to the Pradhan Mantri National Dialysis Programme (PMNDP).
The recent advancement enables kidney patients to take advantage of home-based and cost-effective PD therapy that can help both patients and nephrologists to put PD patients into the country’s kidney failure population rather than just hemodialysis. This will also encourage both physicians and patients to analyse and select their dialysis care depending on the lifestyle of the patient.
The decision by IRDAI to include peritoneal dialysis under insurance policies would reduce the exorbitant cost associated with carrying dialysis at home, as only traditional haemodialysis has been protected under insurance policy until now. Due to health-related spending, about 63 million individuals on dialysis are forced into debt. Patients often skip their dialysis because they are afraid of incurring out of expense.
Despite the potential advantages of PD, its penetration is very low in the country. Just about 8,500 patients in India were on PD in 2019, according to a survey. With successful changes in our healthcare system, however, such radical decisions will resolve the challenges of accessibility and quality of healthcare in the country to reach even poor and disadvantaged parts of the country.