The Chief Minister's Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme, aimed at benefiting 1.34 crore families, was launched on Wednesday.

To mark the inauguration, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa distributed identity cards and approval letter for treatment to seven beneficiaries at the Secretariat here.

She also handed over a cheque for Rs. 183.64 crore to G. Srinivasan, Chairman and Managing Director of the United India Insurance Company [which has been chosen for the implementation of the scheme] towards the quarterly payment of premium. The annual allocation would be Rs. 750 crore.

Under the scheme, the sum assured for each family would be Rs.1 lakh every year for a total period of four years and for a total value of Rs. 4 lakh. In the case of certain procedures, the ceiling would be raised to Rs.1.5 lakh per annum. No fewer than 250 hospitals would be empanelled under the scheme. At least six hospitals in each district would be covered. There would be more hospitals in cities such as Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai.

The new scheme would cover 1,016 procedures, 113 follow up procedures and 23 diagnostic procedures. The cost of tests required for treatment would also be part of the insurance cover.

M. Elango, deputy general manager of the UII, told reporters that the annual income limit for beneficiaries should be Rs. 72,000 and this should have been verified by Village Administrative Officers. The beneficiaries should possess family cards.

An official release stated that the insurance scheme, executed by the previous government, was not beneficial to all.

The insured amount of Rs. 1 lakh was not adequate for certain major surgeries.