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EghtesadOnline: Insurance companies paid more than 107 trillion rials ($386.2 million) to hospitals and medical centers since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in Iran in February 2020.

The amount was the total payout for all medical insurance claims during the said period, although a large part was to compensate medical bills related to Covid, ISNA reported.

Medical insurance payouts, according to the news agency, shot up by 69.1% during the first four months of the fiscal year that started in March.

The Central Insurance company of Iran, the body in charge of regulating and supervising the insurance sector, has not published its periodical performance report this year.

As per available official figures, medical insurance payouts accounted for 27% or 118.1 trillion rials ($496m) of the total payouts in the last calendar year.

Insurers paid claims for almost 31 million cases in the medical category up 50% year-on-year. The segment accounted for 90% of the total claims during the year to March 2021.

During the period, insurance companies sold 576,300 medical insurance policies worth 156.4 trillion rials ($657m). The number was down 85.4% y/y. But premium income of the category was 15% higher than the previous year.

More than 25 million Iranians have medical insurance.

Covid so far has infected 4.75 million people in Iran. The official death toll reached 103,357 on Tuesday.

Insurers have been urged to broaden the scope of medical insurance to cover costs of the deadly coronavirus, including medicine approved by the Health Ministry.

In a recent update on Monday, Tehran's Governor General Anoushirvan Mohseni Bandpey, said insurance companies are required to expand the scope of their medical insurance coverage to pay for PRC tests. Insurance companies had not responded to the call until late Tuesday.

Hospitals Warned

The head of the CII also said Monday that it had clinched an agreement with the Health Ministry to hospitalize medical insurance policyholders in need.

"The Health Ministry has required all state and private hospitals and medical centers to admit patients infected with the coronavirus without conditions or reservations," the CII website quoted him as saying.

The call comes after recent objections and reports about hospitals' refusal to admit patients who are members of the state and semi-state insurance organizations.

As per law, insurance companies are obliged to pay 10% of their revenue from third-party auto insurance -- the category with the highest share in insurance companies' portfolio -- to the Health Ministry.

The sector paid 6.6 trillion rials ($28m) to medical centers affiliated to the Ministry of Health to help them overcome financial constraints inflicted by the virus spread.

Insurance firms are struggling to minimize the negative impact of the plague on their business. Several companies have extended cover to include a part of hospital bills of the insured afflicted by the deadly virus.

Compelling hospitals to care for insurance policyholders is essential seen from the prism of insurance companies because it can and will have a positive impression on their customers who often complain about the policies and practices of mainly private hospitals in demanding full payment of bills and refusing to deal with the bureaucracy of insurance companies.


Iran Firms COVID Insurance Firm