Shimla: A health insurance cover scheme for below poverty families (BPL) that was made operational throughout the state only in April has already brought free cover to over 81 % of such families after being issued biometric smart cards and as many as 644 had already availed benefits of free treatments under the scheme, Rajiv Bindal, the health minister told reporters here today.
He said that of the 261,644 BPL families to be provided the health cover, 212,108 (81.07%) had been issued smart cards in 11 of the 12 districts within the state. Due to cold conditions, the scheme had not become operational in Lahaul & Spiti and would be started soon, he added.
The minister claimed that Himachal was among the best states in the country to have rolled out this scheme and bring maximum number of poorest of the poor under a health cover.
Under the scheme, a general health cover of Rs 30,000 per head is provided for which the premium is shared in the ratio of 75:25 between the centre and the state, the minister said. Besides this, the state has gone a step ahead and included Rs 1 lakh worth of critical care insurance for specified diseases for which the premium is being paid by the state only, he added.
The health cover for 2010-11 provided by New India Insurance has a premium of Rs 20.15 crore, which has been shared as Rs 12.52 crore by Himachal Pradesh and Rs 7.63 crore by the central government.
While the process of issuing all BPL families smart cards is going on, at the same time 644 beneficiaries in Shimla, Hamirpur, Kangra and Solan districts had already availed insurance benefits for the treatments undergone in designated hospitals under the scheme.
Started as a pilot project in Shimla and Kangra districts on 1st January 2009, there were 3107 beneficiaries who availed the insurance cover till March 2010.
For the 80,242 health smart cards in operation under the pilot program, the overall claim amounted to Rs 1.54 crore for which a premium of Rs 5.12 crore had been paid to the insurance company. Of the premium paid, Rs 3.96 crore was paid by the central government and Rs 1.16 crore by the state, said the minister.
Under the scheme the member of the BPL family affords a cashless treatment worth the amount insured for at specific private and government hospitals designated under the scheme, said Bindal. By end of May, the health department targets to issue biometric smart cards to 2.50 lakh families that would bring about 10 people under an health insurance cover, he added.
Though the state records 298,291 BPL families but the central government has only validated 289,987 families of whom 275,927 are rural and 14,360 are urban.
Going by the central government budget announcement, the scheme is likely to be extended to all National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGA) families, said Bindal.