Nandkumar Shinde, 50, who is suffering from a heart ailment, was the first person on Wednesday to get the Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana card, a cashless insurance policy card issued by the state government for families whose annual income is below Rs 1 lakh.
Shinde, a watchman, is the sole breadwinner in his family. He has been admitted to Sion Hospital many times. “I hope this card works for me. I have spent more than Rs 1 lakh on my treatment,” he said.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan launched the state government’s ambitious cashless insurance policy that will cover 972 surgery procedures and 121 follow-up procedures. The policy will come into effect from March 2012. Chavan distributed cards to 18 families from across Mumbai in a function on Wednesday.
The policy is being launched in eight districts including Mumbai in the first phase to benefit 50 lakh families. The state government will spend Rs 800 crore annually to pay the premiums for the inured families.
“Many people come knocking on our doors seeking money to pay for expensive treatment. But, there are limitations to the extent to which MP-MLA funds, chief minister’s fund, and money from other trusts can help. We therefore decided to have a health scheme which will ensure such people get treatment at par with those who can afford the expense,” said Suresh Shetty, state health minister.
The policy is being implemented in a public private partnership (PPP) mode with National Insurance Company. People covered in the policy can avail of free medical facilities costing up to Rs 1.5 lakh. They can also avail up to Rs 2.5 lakhs for kidney transplant surgery.
“We will first empanel the hospitals covered in the policy. We have got 100 applications so far, from both public and private hospitals. We will have a help desk in each hospital 24x7 to help card holders get treatment,” said S Yugandhara Rao, general manager, National Insurance Company.
“We will also have Arogya Mitras who will facilitate the direct traffic of patients to health camps. After treatment, the patient will also get money to get back home,” added Rao.