Published: Sat, February 03, 2018
Medical | By

Budget a big boost to health insurance: Industry

Budget a big boost to health insurance: Industry

The scheme will target up to 500 million individuals from financially vulnerable households, a demographic that accounts for 41.3% of the population, according to Census data. The scheme will provide coverage of upto Rs five lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation. The government will also work on upgrading hospitals to medical colleges.

Vishal Beri, CEO, Hinduja Healthcare Surgical, a specialty hospital chain, said execution would be critical in such a grand programme. Tertiary care is extended to patients who are suffering from acute pain, or terminal illness.

"More than 20 states are already implementing the health-protection scheme, some of them are topping up the RSBY to increase the cover to about Rs 2 lakh", an official said.

The country's agricultural exports are around United States dollars 30 billion at present.

Premium for availing health insurance cover of up to Rs 5 lakh is expected to be around Rs 1,000-1,200 annually for every household, which will be borne by the Centre and the states, he said.

The existing Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) will be subsumed in Ayushman Bharat.

He said State Governments are ready for implementing the scheme and the financial arrangements will be made accordingly. Benefit will also be available for interest from all fixed deposit schemes and recurring deposit schemes. "A word of caution: If the government does not pay the service providers in time, this would send a wrong signal to the industry at large".

The finance minister advocated that the central and the state government can pool in resources for healthcare to achieve efficiency. "India can not realize its demographic dividend without its citizens being healthy", said Mr. Jaitley in his budget speech.

Under the Ayushman Bharat, the government has also chose to fund Rs 1,200 crore for 1.5 lakh health wellness centres across the nation. These centres will provide treatment for non-communicable diseases, and disburse primary care to young mothers and children. These centres will provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services.

While the Centre will bear an annual burden of around Rs 5,000-6,000 crore towards premium on health cover, the remaining amount will come from the state governments, he said. At present, there are 479 medical colleges affiliated to the Medical Council of India (MCI) as opposed to 543 parliamentary constituencies.

Commenting on the General Budget, Kant said that NHPS will create lakhs of jobs and increase accountability in public health system. This metric is often used to compare income levels or the price of a basket of goods in different countries.

Separately, RSS-affiliated Swadeshi Jagran Manch cautioned the government against engaging foreign insurance companies for providing health cover to the poor.

"The healthcare sector is a key pillar of the socio-economic development of any country". "We need an increase in the core R&D investments in the ongoing "Make in India" initiative for more positive impact on organisations in the healthcare sector", Srinivasan HR, Managing Director and Vice-chairman of Take Solutions, a global player in Life Sciences and Supply Chain Management, opined.

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