Budget 2018: Arun Jaitley announces Rs 5 lakh insurance for poor families in ‘world’s largest’ healthcare scheme
The initiative was announced under Ayushman Bharat scheme, which will provide medical insurance to poor families, and bring wellness centres to their door step, especially in remote areas.Updated: Feb 01, 2018 18:19 IST
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday announced a flagship National Health Protection Scheme under which Rs 5 lakh cover will be provided a year to 10 crore poor and vulnerable families in the country.
“We are now launching a flagship national health protection scheme to cover 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. This is approximately 50 crore beneficiaries, by providing them up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation,” Jaitley said presenting the 2018-19 Union Budget.
The initiative was announced under Ayushman Bharat scheme, which will provide medical insurance cover to poor families, and promote holistic health by brining wellness centres to their door step, especially in remote areas.
Jaitley termed the new scheme as the world’s largest government funded healthcare programme, saying it would take healthcare protection to a new aspirational level. Experts in the field of public health, however, said that the Centre would need to specify what healthcare services would be covered under the scheme.
“The Centre needs to define the list of treatments and other services provided under the scheme and closely monitor it, else it could become an opportunity to cash-in. There will always be fear of induced care, which would mean more stents or more surgeries,” said Dr K Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India.
The premium outgo for the National Health Protection Scheme would be in the range of 2-2.5 lakh crore each year.
Jaitley also announced Rs 1,200 crore for the 1.5 lakh wellness health centres in the country.
He also announced Rs 600 crore for nutritional support of Tuberculosis patients in India. Under the initiative, Rs 500 will be provided to each TB patient undergoing treatment.
“A total of 24 new government medical colleges have also been announced as part of the new initiative for health by the government,” said Jaitley