24 districts surpass insurance scheme target

T. Ramakrishnan

CHENNAI: Barring eight districts, 24 districts have surpassed targets of coverage fixed under the Chief Minister Kalaignar’s Insurance Scheme for Life-Saving Treatments.

Maximum coverage was achieved by the Tirupur district with 390 per cent, followed by Coimbatore (281 per cent) and Chennai (190 per cent). Among the underachievers are The Nilgiris (82 per cent), Dharmapuri (70 per cent) and Tiruvannamalai (68 per cent).

Migration, by-election and disruption in coverage drive due to landslide are the factors that have contributed to underachievement in the districts, according to S. Vijayakumar, project director of the Tamil Nadu Health Systems Project and ex-officio Special Secretary of the State Health and Family Welfare department.

On July 23 last, Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad launched the scheme in Chennai in the presence of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi. Against the original coverage estimate of one crore families, about 1.44 crore families have been enrolled.

Asked about the huge difference in some districts between the targeted number of families and the strength of enrolled families, the official replied that the coverage is being made under two broad parameters. While members of all the welfare boards have automatically been covered, families earning less than Rs. 72,000 per annum are also eligible. In view of inadequate database regarding the second category of beneficiaries, a rough estimate was earlier made. Dr. Vijayakumar adds that kiosks had been opened at the taluk level to complete the coverage. As on Monday (February 22), 45,287 claims were received and 41,483 claims approved. The amount approved was around Rs. 134 crore. The government pays premium to Star Health and Allied Insurance Company, which has been contracted to implement the scheme. Medical expenditure up to Rs. 1 lakh per family is being absorbed by the government. Of the total number of approved claims, 9,722 claims pertained to orthopaedic patients; 6,765 to oncology; 5,802 to cardiology and 4,429 to urology.

As for Mr. Karunanidhi’s request for the waiver of service tax to be charged on the Rs.517-crore investment in the State government’s health insurance scheme, V.K. Subburaj, Principal Secretary (Health) says the Union government has declined to accept it, citing technical reasons.

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