COVID19: Managing the cost of testing

That the number if COVID19 cases will rise to 1 Million by June 2020 if not May 2020, seems a certainty given that patient counts have been doubling every 4-5 days. Assuming that 10% of detected cases will need critical care, means that we will need 30,000 – 50,000 beds in critical care. This also means that for every positive there will be 25 negatives, putting the cost of detection alone at Rs. 10,000 Crores. If insurers need to pay even 50% of this, the potential cost of testing alone to be reimbursed by insurers are likely to be Rs. 5,000 Crores. 

Yet, it is possible to lower testing costs. The United States of America has 5 negatives for every positive. That ratio implemented in India would mean testing costs of only 2,500 Crores, of which Rs. 1,250 Crores would be borne by insurers. Even for states such as Claifornia that are testing extensively within USA, the ratio is 10 negatives for every positive which would halve the testing cost in India. 

The Key to reducing testing costs is to follow strict adherence to the COVID19 testing protocols laid down by the Indian Council for Medical Research, namely – 

  1. Presence in vulnerable clusters / large migration gatherings or evacuee centers
  2. Symptomatic Influenza-like illness

A Key strategy for insurers and hospitals to utilize resources optimally, should be to use telemedicine to qualify cases complaining of COVID19-like symptoms. Telemedicine will help not only with lowering the cost of testing itself, but also determining the veracity of COVID19 claims for an insurer. 

Get in touch with Vitraya to understand how to deploy telemedicine to qualify covid cases.

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  2. Cost of each test assumed to be Rs. 4,500
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