Govt to expand health insurance programme in 14 more districts

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Govt to expand health insurance programme in 14 more districts

October 19, 2017 (The Himalayan Times, 18 Oct 2017)

The government has selected 14 additional districts to implement its health insurance programme. The Social Health Security Development Committee has selected the 14 districts with plans to expand the government’s health insurance programme in 38 districts across the country within the current fiscal year. The committee has added Bajhang, Bajura, Humla, Mugu, Dolpa, Kalikot, Rukum, Arghakhanchi, Pyuthan, Kapilbastu, Ramechhap, Siraha, Khotang and Bhojpur districts for expansion of programme.

According to Dr Gunaraj Lohani, executive director of the committee, the health insurance programme will be implemented in the newly selected districts within the current fiscal year.

The government is currently implementing the programme in 24 districts across the country. The health insurance programme was started as a pilot project from Baglung, Ilam and Kailali in April 2016. “We plan to expand the programme to all the 77 districts of the country within the next two years,” Dr Lohani added.

According to him, the committee has started to finalise the regulations to implement the newly passed act from the Legislature-Parliament. The Legislature-Parliament had endorsed the long-awaited Health Insurance Bill on October 10.

“We have held discussions numerous times to finalise the regulations according to the provisions of the bill. I hope that within a month we will be able to forward the regulations to the Cabinet through the Ministry of Health,” he said.

The bill has provisioned insurance coverage of medical treatment expenses for all citizens of the country. Those insured will get coverage for services like yoga, immunisation, family planning, safe motherhood, out-patient care, in-patient care, surgery, medicines, emergency care, curative services, rehabilitation, ambulance and other services, as per the provision of the bill.

The government is providing the health insurance policy to a family of five at Rs 2,500. People who sign up for the health insurance policy would get coverage for medical services worth Rs 50,000. According to Lohani, the committee is planning to increase the coverage amount from existing Rs 50,000. “The coverage amount will be finalised through the regulations, and we are planning to increase the amount, but it hasn’t been finalised yet,” he informed.

As per the compulsory provision of the bill, civil servants and migrant workers have to enrol their families in the health insurance policy system. People working in organised firms also have to get their families enrolled to avail health insurance policy benefits.

According to the act, the federal, provincial and local governments will be liable to bear insurance premium of poor and marginalised families. Currently, 233,000 families have signed up for health insurance policy across the country.

Source: The Himalayan Times

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