The Indian Government to Expand Health Insurance Scheme to 50 Crore People

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana is the Indian government’s health insurance scheme aimed at helping the poor with high-class medical aid. Recently, it was decided that the plan would be expanded and the roll out would be ultimately carried out by the states.

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      Here is a brief overview on the plan and its key features. 

      The Background

      The Indian government’s health insurance scheme, which began rolling out in 2008, started operating under the Ministry of Labour and Employment. Also, Indian government’s health insurance scheme was applauded the world over and appreciation poured in from the UN, ILO and the World Bank. In fact, the scheme was hailed as one of the world's best health insurance plans. However, the plan was later transferred to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in 2015.

       

      In February 2016, in an official meeting of a group of ministers, it was decided that government’s health insurance scheme would be expanded to cover 50 crore people and 10 crore families. The expansion project was said to cost Rs 4,000-crore. If this plan comes into play, it will be a massive step towards offering universal health insurance. Initially, the scheme was visualized as the Universal Health Coverage programme by the UPA government, which the NDA later adopted as the National Health Assurance Mission.

      What are the Features of the Health Insurance Scheme?

      As per the scheme, it will not only list beneficiaries based on their income. In fact, as per the government, the new plan will also cover poor families based on the deprivation statistics as per the socio-economic caste survey (SECC). The minimum package would be worth Rs 50, 000 for each family. Also, there will be a provision for Rs 30,000 top-up for senior citizens.

      Additionally, the scheme allows for a transportation costs worth Rs 250 in case of hospitalisation. Keeping in mind that the scheme is specially tailored for the poor, there is no limit on the number of people who can come under the coverage. The new plan is expected to roll out by financial year 2017-18.

      What Makes this Health Plan So Unique?

      Use of Information Technology

      For the very first time, there is significant use of IT applications for a social scheme, especially on such a massive scale. The enrolled families are issued smart cards, which are biometric enabled and contain their fingerprints along with their photos. Also, the network of hospitals that are a part of this scheme are IT enabled and connected to the server in order to ensure that there is a seamless flow of data for better use of the services.

      Cashless Insurance

      Another key feature of this government’s health insurance scheme is that the insured people will receive cashless treatment at the network of hospitals upon displaying the smart card and following the verification process. The entire process is meant to be paperless as the claims are also sent online to the insurer and payments are made electronically.

      Strong Monitoring System

      The government’s health insurance scheme will have a strong monitoring and evaluation system in place. With a data management system in place, any transaction across India can be tracked easily and conveniently.

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