Once, a good citizen fell down the stairs of his home. His back was hurt and he was rushed to a hospital. Then the medical insurance company rejected his claim on the grounds that the said hospital was not covered by the policy.
If I was that citizen, I’d probably have accepted that decision quietly. Private corporations, corporate insurance, private hospitals — each one with its own rules and financial arrangements. How could I argue when I’ve bought a policy, after having read the fine print?
Still, I worry that when it comes to the crunch, I won’t remember which hospital I must rush to. Or others might take me to the wrong hospital. And what would be the grand idea of buying insurance, then? In an emergency, the last thing on your mind is which hospital has a tie-up with which insurance company.
That worthy citizen who fell down the stairs in Chandigarh, however, decided to press the point. And a consumer forum ruled in his favour, saying that insurance companies cannot reject claims based on which hospital you’re treated at. The forum apparently quoted the Puranas: “It is the duty of human life to protect the body by all efforts and a person will do so by the quickest means available.”
Which is a natural truth, and also just basic common sense. It would be marvelous if our systems allowed us the use of common sense once in a while. For instance, it is common sense that a father would know his daughter’s face better than the cops who are supposed to locate her. And if the poor man has taken the trouble to go to the courts, it stands to reason that he wouldn’t reject her after she was found.
Yet, this bizarre claim was made. The daughter of a daily wage worker, Sonu Parshad, had gone missing in April 2008. Two years later, the Amritsar police tried to foist another teenaged girl upon the father. They told the court that the ‘body structure’ of the girl had changed. The court had to run DNA tests before the father could establish that it wasn’t his daughter.
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