Last month, while on his way to office Sunil Rai, 46, complained of acute chest pain. Despite being detected with a clot in his heart, the Marine Lines resident had given up on the idea of getting treatment because the procedure would cost Rs. 1 lakh even in a government hospital. But, earlier this month, Rai underwent an angioplasty at the Asian Heart Institute (AHI), Bandra-Kurla Complex to open the blockage, free of cost.
Rai, who earns Rs. 60,000 a year, became the first patient to avail of the benefits of the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Yojana (RGJY) at AHI, which was included in the state government scheme a few weeks ago.
Under the scheme, the government, in collaboration with the National Insurance Company, provides cashless insurance for families with an income of less than Rs1 lakh per annum. The scheme covers 972 medical procedures including life-saving procedures such as bypass surgery, angioplasty, kidney transplant and emergency procedures, along with medicines and other consumables. “I had no money to pay for the surgery. But, thanks to the scheme, I have got a new life,” said Rai.
Patients from public hospitals, too, are covered under the scheme. “Though the hospitalisation cost is less in a public hospital, consumables such as stents, prosthesis are expensive for all patients,” said Dr K Venkatesan, chief operating officer, RGJY.
Despite several meetings with the Association of Hospitals in Mumbai, only two private hospitals — SevenHills Hospitals, Andheri and AHI — have joined the scheme.
“Private hospitals in Mumbai are already doing charity as directed by the Bombay high court. Moreover, the rates quoted under the scheme are much lower than the existing cost, making it unviable,” said Dr Pramod Lele, president, Association of Hospitals.