The Government is planning a health insurance scheme that will cover every Indian. This public-funded scheme is likely to be introduced in the 12th Five Year Plan, starting in 2012-13. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has appointed a committee of experts that is headed by the chief of the Public Health Foundation of India, K. Srinath Reddy. At present over 90% Indians are not covered by any health insurance scheme (public or private). Most private health insurance schemes cover only hospitalization but this scheme is likely to cover hospitalization expenses along with treatment undergone at listed hospitals. It will also provide cover for conditions like heart ailments and pregnancy, which the private schemes generally do not cover.
According to the National Sample Survey Office, an Indian spends about 80 % of his health expenses on buying medicine. Health services become unaffordable to many due to the high cost of treatment. Planning Commission member secretary Sudha Pillai said, "We are looking at a scheme where people will pay premium depending on their income. For instance, the government may pay the entire premium for those below poverty line (BPL). For the better off, the government's contribution will diminish the higher the individual's income." The scheme also intends the Government to pay a higher premium for women.
AdvertisementPresently there is a health insurance scheme under the Rashtriya Swasth Bima Yojana which covers close to 6crore BPL families. In the next step involves the enrollment of all those under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme. This will be followed by women enrolled in over 10 lakh angwanwadi centers around the country.