The Uttarakhand government’s efforts to provide affordable medical insurance and cashless treatment to people have hit a roadblock for failure to clear its dues to private healthcare facilities, sources said on Sunday.
Two medical schemes—the Mukhyamantri Swasthya Bima Yojna and the U-health card—for state government employees and economically weaker sections, have failed to gather steam due delay in payment to empanelled private hospitals, sources in the state health department said.
An official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he was not permitted to speak to the media, said that several empanelled hospitals have stopped proving medical insurance and cashless treatment under the two schemes due outstanding payment.
“The dues of Mahant Indresh Hospital in Dehradun have exceeded Rs 1.50 crore and the hospital has stopped providing healthcare service to beneficiaries under the two schemes,” he said.
Under the Mukhyamantri Swasthya Beema Yojna, launched in April this year, families who are not covered under the tax slab and those living below the poverty line are provided cashless medical insurance to the tune of Rs 1.70 lakh.
The government has so far issued cashless insurance cards to 9 out of the 10 lakh impoverished families that it had targeted under the scheme.
The state government had signed a memorandum of understanding with United Insurance Company and it was the responsibility of the firm to clear claims of the empanelled hospitals, Prem Lal, senior programme officer of the National Health Mission, told Hindustan Times.
“We don’t know why the dues of Mahant Indresh Hospital are still pending. I have called the representatives of insurance company for a meeting on Monday, to seek an explanation,” he said.
Under the U-health card scheme, launched on October 20, 2010, more than 55 private hospitals were empanelled across the country.
A Pune-based company, which bagged the contract, has failed to implement the scheme properly in the state, forcing the government to cancel the agreement, said a health department official, who asked not to be named.
“Several private hospitals, including the Himalayan Institute of Hospital Trust, Medanta and Max Hospital have stopped providing the services due non-payment.”
Top state health officials admitted that “there were payment issues and they working to resolve the problem”.
“We are planning to rope in a new insurance company through fresh tenders also trying to clear pending payments,” Kusum Nariyal, director of state health department, told Hindustan Times.
Surendra Singh Negi, state health minister, said the government was in the process of releasing funds to clear the outstanding dues for both the schemes.