India Health Card brings quality healthcare to NRI families

February 1st, 2009 - 1:41 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Feb 1 (IANS) An Indian American group of professionals has launched a first of its kind India Health Card, a prepaid, reloadable card that lets Non-resident Indians (NRIs) fund healthcare needs of their family and friends back home.Instead of wiring money to help an ailing relative or friend to pay doctor’s bills, all that an NRI has to do is to load the India Health Card through the Internet. They in turn can simply use it like a debit card to get access to quality health services through an extensive network of medical, dental and other providers across India.

“India Health Card is a result of our vision for the healthcare industry in India. Our research has demonstrated a need for innovative healthcare payment solutions,” said Ravi Halekote, founder and CEO of India Health Card.

“With a management team of veteran health care professionals and an established network of providers, we are delighted to launch India Health Card and help make health care more affordable and convenient to the families of NRIs in India,” he added.

NRIs keep sending money to India for various purposes. But many a time, money sent home does not get used for the intended purpose and healthcare often takes the back seat as priorities change.

But money sent through the India Health Card can be used only for healthcare, Halekote told IANS explaining its advantage over other methods of remittance. “The bottom line is that the control is in the hands of the sender,” he said.

One can become a member by paying a fee of $10 for an individual and $25 for the family and then keep loading and reloading the card as and when required at a five percent loading fee. There is also a $1,000 a day loading limit to prevent any misuse.

The card is accepted by 2,000 plus providers across India who also provide 10 to 15 percent discount on their usual customer care fees. They in turn get an increased flow of paying patients as the card works like a deposit card, but for a specific purpose.

Its promoter Transglobal Beneficial Inc, a Texas based privately held company launched by a team of medical professionals, has set aside a half a million dollar advertising budget with the aim of getting 50,000 members in 2009.

Because India Health Card covers healthcare payments only, it helps prevent the unproductive expenditure of NRI remittances, Halekote said noting that currently, only five percent of the $29 billion annual NRI remittances go toward healthcare-related costs.

Some of the leading hospitals that have signed up with India Health Card as registered service providers include Manipal Cure and Care Centre at Bangalore, Pune, Ahmedabad and Mumbai, Taneya Hospital, Faridabad, Sanjivani Heart and Medical Hospital, Ahmedabad and Lord’s Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram.

The company is also negotiating with Fortis, Apollo and other leading hospitals across India to sign up as registered providers.

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