Search This Site

Friday, January 30, 2009

Modalities for health insurance scheme under discussion

Modalities for health insurance scheme under discussion
R.K. Radhakrishnan

Work to be put on hold if polls are announced
Major task is to identify beneficiaries

CHENNAI: A day after the government announced its decision to extend health insurance cover to the poor, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi convened a meeting of officials to discuss the modalities of implementation of the project.
Emerging from the discussions, he said he had preliminary discussions on the scheme with Finance Secretary K. Gnanadesikan on the method to identify the beneficiaries, financing, floating of tenders and the chronic diseases that needed to be included under the scheme.
“It will take about three to four months for the scheme to be operational,” Mr. Karunanidhi told The Hindu. Since a notification for the general election was expected in between, the government would not be able commence the work on the project. “We will suspend work on the project once the code of conduct comes into force and will recommence after the elections,” he said.
In the discussions, Mr. Karunanidhi felt that beneficiary identification was critical to the scheme and hence the first major task would be identifying them. It was suggested that the government take the database of the Agricultural Welfare Board, which has a list of about 75 lakh members and this could be the start. The government decided to verify the database and involve the district administration in the process of identification of beneficiaries.
While this was on, tenders would be called for from insurance companies to operationalise the scheme and shortlist private hospitals. “Once tenders are called for, we need to give at least 30 days. Within that time period, it is possible that elections are announced. Then, the process will be kept in abeyance till such time the election processes is completed,” an official said.
For now, the thinking in the government is to include only serious ailments for which government sector hospitals in district towns are not able to cater. “We spend about Rs.3,000 crore a year on government hospitals. If we include all diseases, then this investment will go waste,” an official said. With only major diseases included, the government expects the insurance premium to be in the region of Rs.300 crore.
On the question of selecting a firm from among the public sector players in the field, Mr. Karunanidhi said the company was to be chosen after bidding and all procedures under the Tamil Nadu Transparency in Tenders Act would be followed. Also, the firms would have to be approved by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.
“We will not be able to prefer a private sector firm or public sector firm in this,” the Chief Minister said.

No comments:

Post a Comment

The Comments are moderated. It will be published only after being by the screened by our team. We request your patience in this regard.

TargetPG on FaceBook