Revamp of Health Insurance Plan for Poor on the Cards – YOGIMA SETH SHARMA NEW DELHI

The new government is proposing a comprehensive revamp of the health insurance scheme for the poor in a move that will benefit a further 11 crore people, mostly belonging to below poverty line (BPL) families.

The measures involve enhancing the transport allowance, introducing wellness checks and extending the validity of smart cards issued under the Rashtriya Swastha Bima Yojana (RSBY), a scheme that was introduced by the previous United Progressive Alliance government.

The beneficiaries will be eligible for transport allowance of .

`200 per hospital

isation with a maximum cap of .

`2,000 in a policy period, a senior government official told ET. Currently, a beneficiary is eligible for .

`100 per hospitalisation with a maximum ceiling of .

`1,000 a year as transport charges, which are reimbursed by the hospital at the time of discharge.

According to the official, the ministry has also proposed to increase the validity of the smart cards, which are needed to participate in the scheme, thereby saving on its cost, which is borne by the government. Smart cards cost .

`60 and now need to be renewed every year. If the proposal is accepted, the card will cost .

`100 and be valid for three years.

“This will make it convenient for the beneficiaries besides enabling us to save

.

`80 per card issued,” the official added.

“The ministry of labour and employment has already circulated a Cabinet note for inter-ministerial discussion and an announcement to this effect could be made in the budget.” RSBY, a flagship scheme of the UPA government launched in 2008, aims to provide protection to BPL households from financial liabilities arising out of health shocks that involve hospitalisation. Under the scheme, the beneficiaries are entitled to hospitalisation coverage of up to .

`30,000 for most diseases that require hospital stay. The coverage extends to five members of a family which includes the head of the household, spouse and up to three dependents. Beneficiaries only need to pay .

`30 as registration fees while

the central and state governments pay the premium to the insurer.

Being a centrally-sponsored scheme, 75% of the premium is paid by the central government and the rest by the state government. However, in the case of north eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir, the Centre pays 90% and the state 10%.

RSBY was initially designed to target only BPL households, but was recently expanded to cover a number of non-BPL categories of informal sector workers, including street vendors, domestic workers, beedi workers, building and construction workers, and most importantly, those who have worked for more than 15 days under MGNREGS. The target is to cover 7 crore households by the end of the 12th Five-year Plan (2012-17).

Source : The Economics Times

Date : 23/6/2014

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