There was a time when recuperating from an illness took days of hospitalisation and medical care. But the medical field has advanced by leaps and bounds in the past decade, and today most treatments and surgeries are broadly categorised into two types – inpatient and outpatient hospitalisation. These are terms you will typically find in your health insurance policy. Let us understand inpatient and outpatient treatment and compare the differences between the two.
What is Inpatient Hospitalisation?
Inpatient hospitalisation refers to the act of being admitted ‘in a hospital’ as a ‘patient’ to receive medical treatment. Simply put, it implies that you need to stay in the hospital for a brief or extended period, based on your medical condition. Essentially, you need to be hospitalised for a minimum of 24 hours.
Inpatient hospitalisation could be pre–planned if you need to undergo surgery or treatment for an ailment or if you need to be admitted due to a medical emergency. For instance, patients can schedule cancer surgeries, bypass procedures, C–section deliveries etc., in advance. They may also need urgent hospitalisation when they suffer a sudden traumatic injury, stroke, fever, severe burns, early labour, etc.
What is Outpatient Hospitalisation?
Outpatient hospitalisation implies the medical care provided to patients who do not need to be hospitalised. It typically includes diagnostic tests, doctor consultations, patient rehabilitation and post–treatment follow–ups, and so on. Essentially, outpatient hospitalisation covers the treatments provided outside hospital settings, i.e. at medical clinics, diagnostic centres, etc.
Common treatments covered under outpatient care include physician consultations for minor illnesses and minor surgeries like colonoscopy, tonsillectomy, vasectomy, etc. It also includes medical screening like blood tests, urine tests, electrocardiogram (ECG) tests, Computed Tomography (CT) scans, chemotherapy and dialysis.
Inpatient Vs Outpatient Hospitalisation – The Differences
Patients opting for inpatient treatment need to be formally admitted to the hospital for at least 24 hours, whereas treatments that do not require formal hospitalisation are considered outpatient treatments.
- Type of care
Patients who need to undergo complex surgeries and seek treatment for severe injuries and traumatic illnesses typically need inpatient hospitalisation. Conversely, outpatient treatment includes scheduled consultations and medical screenings that do not require hospitalisation.
The costs associated with inpatient treatments are typically high, whereas the costs for outpatient treatments are substantially low.
- Health insurance coverage
Health insurance providers typically cover you for the expenses incurred towards inpatient treatment, up to the sum insured limit. Conversely, most outpatient treatments are not covered under health insurance unless specified in the insurance policy. Some insurers provide outpatient hospitalisation coverage as an add–on rider.
Inpatient treatment facilitators include specialised surgeons, anaesthesiologists, nurses, etc., whereas general physicians and medical specialists like dentists, dermatologists, paediatricians, etc., provide outpatient treatments.
Your health insurance policy proves a godsend when you need inpatient hospitalisation. You can also add various riders, including specific outpatient treatments and purchase a more comprehensive health insurance plan . Today, you can buy health insurance online after comparing the different insurance providers and the coverage offered. Ensure you invest in a policy providing a high sum insured for maximum coverage.Disclaimer: The above information is indicative in nature. For more details on the risk factor, terms and conditions, please refer to the Sales Brochure and Policy Wordings carefully before concluding a sale.