Hitherto, the scheme covered only the poor in the unorganised sector

The State government has proposed to extend the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), a cashless health insurance cover of the Union government, to all below poverty line (BPL) families in the State.

Till now, the scheme was meant only for the poor in the unorganised sector.

Minister of State for Labour P.T. Parameshwara Naik told The Hindu that the department has proposed to extend the scheme to all 98 lakh BPL ration cardholders.

A plan was prepared to rope in private insurance firms for enhancing the health coverage from Rs. 30,000.

The scheme envisages cashless health insurance cover up to Rs. 30,000 a year on hospitalisation to a BPL family (a unit of five). The household has to pay Rs. 30 a year.

The facility provides access to a network of private and public hospitals.

While the Union government bears 75 per cent of the cost, the State government has to bear the balance.

A detailed note on the modalities with regard to involvement of private insurance firms has been prepared and it is expected to come up at the next Cabinet meeting.

“We have planned to involve more private insurance firms to ensure coverage of medical expenses crossing Rs. 1 lakh. With the increased cost of medical expenses, many farmers and the rural poor are not forthcoming to undergo medial treatment under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana,” Mr. Naik said.

At present, three insurance firms, IFFCO Tokio General Insurance, Tata AIG General Insurance and United India Insurance Company, have been providing health coverage to Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana cardholders. In 2012-13, 17.5 lakh Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana cards were issued to the poor households in the State.

Now, the government is planning to cover all BPL families.

Enrolment for new members would be launched across districts from July 15 and all BPL families are expected to be covered in three months, the Minister said.

Various studies on the implementation of the scheme in the Sate revealed that Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana has been marred by delays in enrolment, training and reimbursement of hospitals.

In some cases, the data stored in the smart cards do not match patient information. In other cases, the beneficiary names or fingerprints are incorrect, forcing the hospitals to collect money from patients for treatment.

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