Creating a sustainable model of healthcare for all, Karnataka will roll out Universal Health Coverage (UHC) from November 1, bringing all government health schemes under one umbrella.
Under UHC, all the 1.4 crore households in the State will be eligible for cashless treatment for up to ₹1.5 lakh in government and private hospitals. Priority and deprived households (BPL card holders), farmers, unorganised sector workers, pourakarmikas, members of SC and ST communities, members of cooperative societies, government employees, accredited mediapersons, and elected representatives (comprising 1.05 crore households) do not have to make any contribution. They will be classified under Category A.
The remaining population can enrol online by paying an annual premium of ₹300 per person in rural areas and ₹700 in urban areas. This population will be classified under Category B.
The new scheme, called Arogya Bhagya, was approved by the State Cabinet on Monday. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T.B. Jayachandra said all the seven existing schemes — Vajpayee Arogyasri, Rajiv Arogya Bhagya, Yeshaswini, Jyothi Sanjeevini, Mukhyamantri Santwana Harish scheme, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram, and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana — would be merged under UHC. “The idea is to bring all the existing health schemes under one umbrella and avoid duplication in fund release and overlapping of services,” he said.
Shalini Rajneesh, Principal Secretary for Health and Family Welfare, said funds to the tune of over ₹1,022 crore, allocated for various health schemes, will be pooled under UHC. “Based on disease incidence, we have estimated that implementing UHC will cost around ₹869 crore a year,” she said.
“While we will largely rely on the data on households available with the Food and Civil Supplies Department, our ASHA workers will go door to door to verify and enrol every person in the State. The enrolment process will be completed before November 1 and Aadhaar-linked UHC cards will be issued. People without Aadhaar can also avail benefits as we have put in place a biometric system in hospitals. Such people can later get Aadhaar cards,” she said.
Those falling under Category B, estimated to number around 30 lakh, are the ones likely enrolled for private medical insurance. “However, irrespective of their income and social status, they can use UHC by paying a nominal annual premium,” Ms. Rajneesh said, adding that the 2.38 crore cooperative society members need not deposit a contribution under the Yeshaswini scheme from now.
Primary care and around 1,000 surgical procedures under secondary care can be availed free of charge by the entire population at government facilities. While complicated secondary procedures (estimated at 516) that may be referred to private hospitals will also be free for Category A, those falling under Category B will get 30% of the cost reimbursed by the State. A similar system will be followed in tertiary care.
People can call toll-free helplines 1800-425-8330 and 1800-425-2646 for assistance.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet decided to purchase kits containing powder, soap and oil for pre-metric and residential schools of the Backward Classes Welfare Department for the year 2017-18. A sum of ₹6.5 crore will be released to Karnataka State and Detergents Ltd. for this.
The State Cabinet also gave administrative approval for construction of super-speciality hospitals on the premises of K.R. Hospital in Mysuru (₹164 crore), Belgaum Institute of Medical Sciences, Belagavi (₹194 crore), and Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences, Kalaburagi (₹148 crore). This will also benefit students studying in government medical colleges, Mr. Jayachandra said.