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Health cover plan announced in Union Budget will be cashless, says FM Jaitley

The National Health Protection Scheme, to provide medical cover of up to Rs 5 lakh to over 10 crore vulnerable families, will be implemented from the next financial year, finance minister Arun Jaitley said.

india Updated: Feb 02, 2018 20:34 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Budget 2018,Union Budget 2018,Arun Jaitley speech
Finance minister Arun Jaitley arrives to meet residents of Delhi who felicitated him in New Delhi on Friday for the budget.(PTI)

Finance minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday the world’s biggest health cover plan announced in the Union Budget will be cashless and not a reimbursement scheme, and promised more funds if required depending on the rollout later next financial year.

The National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) touted as ModiCare envisaged to provide medical cover of up to Rs 5 lakh to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families, constituting 40% of the population.

“It takes care of hospitalisation, the secondary and tertiary care. Obviously, it will involve various state hospitals and selected private hospitals. It can be on trust model, it can be on insurance model. It’s not on reimbursement model because too many complaints come on the reimbursement model,” he said.

The model is now being worked out between the NITI Aayog and the health ministry, he said, adding that the date of implementation would be next financial year and sometime in the course of the year it will be worked out.

If assuming the model to be insurance led, the premium shrink with the increase in number of policy holders, he said at an event organised by a magazine.

The scheme although appreciated by experts also raises apprehension about its implementation and the initial corpus of just Rs 2,000 crore.

Assuring that the scheme will be entirely state funded, Jaitley said initial funds of Rs 2,000 crore has been allocated and whatever funds required, as the scheme rolls over, would be made available.

“In the coming year, I see more comfortable situation as far as revenues are concerned because the graphs as far as direct tax is concerned would move very fast,” he said.

Following demonetisation and implementation of Goods and Services Tax, the number of direct tax assesses have gone up ... once anti-evasion measures, I do expect a little bump up in the GST collection also. I don’t see revenue going to be a major challenge in that,” he said.

Jaitley in the Budget speech said, “We are all aware that lakhs of families in our country have to borrow or sell assets to receive indoor treatment in hospitals. Government is seriously concerned about such impoverishment of poor and vulnerable families. Present RSBY provide annual coverage of only Rs 30,000 to poor families.”

Several state governments have also implemented supplemented health protection schemes providing varying coverage, he had said in the Lok Sabha.

The finance minister also advocated that the central and the state government can pool in resources for health care to achieve efficiency.

He also emphasised on having better hospitals in rural areas even though Tier I and Tier II cities have good hospitals.

Setting up of hospitals in various districts is the state subject under the federal structure, he added.

First Published: Feb 02, 2018 13:16 IST