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Government of India has switched to the next gear on getting Below Poverty Lines (BPL) families insured under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), a cashless health insurance scheme. RSBY is a significant health care initiative taken by the Government of India. The scheme is launched with an undeterred focus to serve a niche in mind, the poor families residing in urban areas, BPL families to be more specific. That includes domestic workers, hawkers, labourers, rickshaw drivers, sanitation workers and so forth. It’s been almost 5 years since RSBY was launched but the government was never that aggressive about implementing it at a ground level.

The government will issue a RSBY card to all the eligible families. The cardholder will become entitled to get hospitalization benefits upto Rs 30,000 plus transportation charges upto Rs 1,000. On top of that, the cardholder will also get Rs 100 per visit. The health plan will cover a family with upto five members on a floater basis. The best thing about RSBY is that the beneficiaries needn’t to pay anything except a mere sum of Rs 30 as registration fee. 75% of the premium will be paid by the central government while the rest 25% by the state government.

But what makes this scheme really worthwhile for the needy is the fact that it covers pre-existing conditions as well and there’s no age limit.

Imagine this, Sumitra, a 50 year old rural woman with 4 kids, is taking her first steps towards a private hospital hesitatingly. The hospital is located in the nearest sub-urban town to her village. But she needs not to hesitate as she has a Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY) smart card. With this card in her hand, not only she is entitled to get a cashless treatment but also the transportation and visitation benefits.

It has been designed as a cashless health plan. There are two reasons behind it, first it will save the poor families from the financial constraint (by not, having to pay anything upfront and waiting to get reimbursed); second it will minimize the paperwork considering the fact that most of the people getting enrolled are illiterate.

RSBY boasts of a robust network of private and public hospitals. About 13 insurance companies have joined hands with RSBY to make this scheme successful.

The immediate goal of the government is to get maximum number of BPL families enrolled in Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. The government is hoping for an active participation by educating and encouraging BPL families about the benefits of this scheme.

Such schemes lead not just to overall betterment of health but also instil a sense of security among the needy. Let’s hope the government and insurers will join hands and come up with more of such initiatives in the future.  

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