The government has asked hospitals to provide continued medical services to members of the Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme even though the validity of the scheme came to an end on March 31.

A press note issued by the Health Minister's office said here on Saturday that the officials concerned in government hospitals would open a special register and enter the details in it. They need give the application for insurance benefits only after the card of the members was renewed. The Comprehensive Health Insurance Agency Kerala, a society formed for the purpose, also confirmed that the 18.76 lakh smartcard holders would continue to get the benefits of the scheme even though the validity of the cards ended on March 31. They would get treatment worth Rs.30,000 free of cost and the non-APL section would get additional treatment worth Rs.70,000 for heart and kidney diseases and cancer.

Under the old system, the card could be renewed only if the photographs and fingerprints of all the members of the family were taken. The State government had been continuously pleading with the Centre for changing the system and allowing just one member of the family to come and get the card renewed. The Centre finally accepted the proposal and took steps to prepare a software for it. The new software was available only by the end of March. The first card-renewal under it would take place in Kerala. Along with the renewal of the card, the issue of cards to 19 lakh people, who had newly registered under the scheme, would also be undertaken.