People living below the poverty line will have something else to look forward to on January 14 besides Sankranti. In a first, the state government has decided to provide health insurance to them.
Aiming to cover 1.76 crore people living below poverty line, the Rs 20 crore insurance scheme will be the biggest ever launched by any state government.
This is how the programme will work out: each insured individual will have to pay a premium of Rs 100 per year. For a family of four, the amount will be Rs 300.
The government will pay half of this amount to make it easier for the underprivileged people to get benefits from the scheme. A photo identity card will be given to the insured person, which will entitle him or her to get free treatment—up to Rs 2 lakh—in any government hospital or select private institutions.
All ailments related to the heart, brain, liver, kidney and cancer will be covered under the scheme. Incidentally, cancer is common in rural areas due to excessive smoking and intake of tobacco.
"We could have paid the entire premium amount but the programme would have ended as a free offering. People do not take things offered free seriously," said a senior administration official. As the scheme will be operated on a public-private partnership mode, the government is currently in talks with private companies to thrash out the details.
The government is also interested in roping in non-governmental organisations. A third party administrator will oversee the implementation of the scheme and hear complaints if any.
The recently launched Arogyasri Health Care Trust will operate the scheme.
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