Overall healthcare cost could increase after the Goods and Services Tax or GST as some services and products will be taxed at 15-18 per cent, although healthcare per se has been exempted, Apollo Hospitals said.
Apollo Hospitals Chairman Prathap C Reddy said that if there is an increase in healthcare cost by up to two per cent, hospitals would be in a position to absorb the hike, but anything more than that would have to be passed on to patients.
"There is no GST for us, but there are services and some products with GST rate ranging from 15 to 18 per cent that have fallen on us," Mr Reddy said in response to a question by news agency Press Trust of India.
So, after GST, the cost increase for hospitals will be around two per cent more, he added. "If the increase is up to two per cent, hospitals can absorb it, but if it is three or four per cent then patients will have to bear it," Mr Reddy said.
The GST Council has exempted healthcare from GST, the new indirect tax regime slated to be rolled out from July 1. He, however, welcomed the government's move to exempt healthcare from GST.
Apollo Hospitals had stated earlier that the government has accorded healthcare and education the due importance and impetus that they need to become game-changing agents for transforming India, its people, and the economy.
Mr Reddy also said the company is back to normal after the demonetization and continues to grow. Apollo Hospitals has 9,215 beds across 64 hospitals. It also has 2,500 pharmacies, over 90 primary care and diagnostic clinics and more than 110 telemedicine centres.