Millennium Post

Centre mulls hiking health cover for unorganised labourers

Centre mulls hiking health cover for unorganised labourers
The Centre is mulling increasing health insurance coverage for unorganised sector labourers from the existing Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 and a proposal in this regard will be placed before the Union Cabinet soon.

The insurance cover under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY) will also be expanded to include tertiary care as well, according to a proposal aimed at restructuring the scheme.

A senior Health Ministry official said, at present the scheme covers secondary care and hospitalisation expenses up to Rs 30,000.

"Apart from that, so far this scheme was run largely through private insurance companies. The Ministry of Health intends to run it through state governments with states moving towards trust or society model. Which means state government organisations will henceforth empanel hospitals, decide packages and settle claims," the official said.

The scheme, launched by the Labour Ministry in 2008 to provide health insurance coverage to families living below poverty line, was transferred to the Union Health Ministry on April 1 this year.

The official said, "Over the past decade, health care has become significantly expensive which means households have to shell out more money to access health care services. The aim is to offer a better insurance cover to the poor." 

At present, the coverage is extended to five members of a family. Beneficiaries are required to pay Rs 30 as registration fee while the Centre and state governments pay the premium.

The scheme has benefited over 3.85 crore families up to March 31, 2014, according to government data. As many as 10,311 hospitals - 6,093 private and 4,218 government - are providing services to the insured persons.
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