Here’s how the National Health Protection Scheme Will Be a Boon for India

Aug 28, 2018 | 4 weeks ago | Read Time: 4 minutes | By iKnowledge Team

National Health Insurance Scheme

The high cost of healthcare makes the service, out of reach for a large portion of the population. With quality healthcare being unaffordable, and the rising price of medicines, drugs and other essentials, spends on medical treatment push over 50 million people every year into poverty. The WHO and World Bank report [1] on healthcare costs said 100 million people are pushed into poverty every year and  around 50% of them are from India. Health Insurance penetration is dismal, with many viewing plans as a waste of money. However, if you choose the right policy you will be able to reap the benefits of much needed health coverage.

Cost of Health in India

Source: Live Mint

The table shows the high incidence of medical cost. With many poor preferring outpatient care, such as medicines, continuous treatment leaves their hard-earned savings depleted.

As per the NSSO survey 2015, hospitalization costs in India had gone up by 300% in the last 10 years. 68% of Indians spent out of their pocket on healthcare [2]. Current schemes had made no impact in reducing this inequality. Out of total medical expenditure, 72% in rural areas and 68% in urban areas [3] was spent on medicine for out of hospital treatment. Health insurance in India is also abysmal, with many people not opting for health insurance policies, and the absence of simplified plans covering the poor. Many families invest in the wrong health insurance plans and do not see any benefits from it, thereby discontinue investing in them in the future. Choosing the right health insurance plan would allow you to make use of the various benefits offered. Research and compare the coverages to find a policy that fits your needs perfectly.

Current Government Schemes not adequate:

The Government introduced the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) in 2008 which provided a coverage of Rs. 30,000 per family of 5 for hospitalization expenses. This scheme has failed to control healthcare costs, since it does not cover pre- and post-hospitalization expenses. Since most of the poor prefer non institutionalized treatment, they can’t avail this scheme. The scheme is criticized for providing a paltry coverage as family floater, and poor facilities.

The National Health Protection Scheme – A Ray of Hope

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a healthcare scheme – Ayushman Bharat – National Health Protection Scheme in the Budget 2018. This scheme looks to provide a coverage of Rs. 5 lakhs per family. It does not restrict the size of the family. As per the scheme, it provides for a few pre- and post-hospitalization expenses as well.

Source: Twitter

The scheme provides for cashless treatment at any empaneled Government or private hospital. While the RSBY was enrolment based, the National Health Protection Scheme is entitlement based. Data is based on the Socio-Economic Caste Census, and plans to cover 10 crore families annually.

National Health Cover

Source: Times of India

To ensure healthcare is affordable under the scheme, and hospitals do not overcharge, the Government has notified package rates for a few treatments, such as caesarean deliveries, hysterectomy, stent placement etc. Based on these package rates, hospitals will get reimbursed under the Scheme by the insurance companies.

The insurance premium under the scheme will be shared by the Central and State Governments. To ensure transparency, these contributions will be made in an escrow account.

How does the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS) benefit the poor? 

One of the main points distinguishing the RSBY from the NHPS is that poor people do not require any enrollment. Although this means they will have to be educated about the scheme, it will be simpler for them to claim benefits under the scheme. Also, the scheme does not distinguish between treatment at a private hospital or at a Government hospital. This gives freedom to avail treatment at whichever facility that provides the best quality of healthcare. It will strengthen hospital delivery in rural areas and tier 2, tier 3 cities because these hospitals will get an increased number of patients who will be treated.

One of the best advantages of the NHPS is the simplicity. The only form of identification required from the patient will be an Aadhar card. Because of various drives across the country, a high population of people have Aadhar card and after linking these to bank accounts, there is certainty about the identity of the person being treated.

The Government is also pushing to create and rejuvenate health and wellness centers across the country. These clinics will provide diagnosis, medicines and other facilities for the poor.

Investing in health insurance is a necessity in these times. With healthcare becoming costlier with times, ensuring you have adequate coverage will protect savings and retirement capital. Aegon Life’s iTerm Plus plan combines the benefits of a term insurance and provides coverage against critical illnesses depending on the variant chosen.

Investing in plans like this, which provide exhaustive coverage will ensure savings are protected and out of pocket spends are reduced.

Citation:

[1] http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/193371513169798347/2017-global-monitoring-report.pdf

[2] http://mospi.nic.in/sites/default/files/publication_reports/nss_rep574.pdf

[3] http://mospi.nic.in/sites/default/files/publication_reports/nss_rep574.pdf

[4] http://pib.nic.in/newsite/PrintRelease.aspx?relid=177816

Advt. no.:II/Aug 2018/4345


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