By THE PULSE NEWS MEXICO STAFF
Mexico’s Federal Consumer Protection Agency (Profeco) Director Ricardo Sheffield on Wednesday, Sept. 29, put the nation’s private hospitals on notice, warning that many are overcharging insured patients and applying price increases far above the inflation rate.
“The insurance companies, with whom we also spoke, are also reporting information on the relationship they have with hospitals,” Sheffield said during the daily morning press conference of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO).
“Inflation last year was 2.83 percent, and this year it 5.59 percent, but the increases of private hospital costs have been between 15 to 20 percent annually, well above inflation. It is clear that more than the insurers, those who have been going overboard are the private hospitals. They have also incurred differentiated charges for consumers, so that while insurance companies have price caps, the hospitals charge more to the consumers.”
Sheffield went on to say that some hospitals commit abuses in how much they charge for medicines and care instruments and even require a deposit above the deductible.
“They prescribe studies that are not necessary, diagnoses of conditions that are different from those reported by the insured and abuse in the collection of medicines and instruments used to treat the patients,” he said.
“We also find some hospitals ask for a deposit without informing the insured how he is going to recover that deposit when his patient finishes being treated, nor what that amount is and why that amount is often above the patient’s deductible.”
Sheffield said that in the case of insurers, there has been an increase in the number of complaints, and that Metlife México and Qualitas are among those that register the most claims.
“We have seen a clear increase in complaints against insurance companies regarding major medical expenses- The main complaint is the refusal of payment by the insurer, although, considering the number of insured patients, the number of complaints is not very high.”
Sheffield pointed out that Metlife has 12.6 percent of complaints in relation to the number of people who filed claims, followed by Grupo Nacional Provincial with 12.9 percent and Qualitas with 8.1.