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National health insurance plan to continue till December

The scheme may be further extended till March 31, 2016

M Saraswathy  |  Mumbai 

Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana to continue till December end

The government-sponsored Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) has been given an extension till December 31, after which a call would be taken on its future. It is expected that though it might be allowed to continue till the financial year-end on March 31, the new health scheme might not involve insurance companies.

“We have been given an extension. However, no new tenders are being awarded and we are continuing with the existing arrangements,” said a senior official of a private general insurer.

RSBY, launched by the labour and employment ministry on April 1, 2008, was envisaged to provide health insurance coverage to Below Poverty Line families. Its beneficiaries are entitled to hospitalisation coverage of up to Rs 30,000 for most diseases.

The government has even fixed package rates for hospitals for a large number of interventions. Pre-existing conditions are covered from day one and there is no age limit. As on March 31, there were 36.3 million active smart cards and 9.7 million hospitalisation cases under the scheme, according to the RSBY website.

The coverage extends to five members of a family-head of the household, spouse and up to three dependents. Beneficiaries need to pay only Rs 30 as registration fee, while Central and state governments pay premium to the insurer. Sources said the new RSBY scheme would be managed by special bodies created by state governments and no insurer will be involved.

Earlier, there are also discussions on whether this could be merged with the proposed universal health insurance scheme. However, officials said RSBY would continue to exist.

According to a World Bank report, health insurance coverage in India is expected to cross 630 million people or 50 per cent of the population by 2015. Further, data from the General Insurance Council showed that standalone health insurers saw the highest growth at 42.1 per cent from April to July this financial year over the last, with premiums of Rs 1,067 crore.

First Published: Sat, October 17 2015. 21:00 IST