Health insurance scheme gives hope to chronic patients

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Mehraj-ud-Din Bhat (55) suffering from chronic kidney disease is eagerly waiting for the day when the recently announced universal health insurance scheme introduced by the Jammu and Kashmir government is implemented.

Bhat’s lifelong savings have been drained by the disease which he never saw coming. Three years down the line, this deadly disease has left him in penury. There are thousands of patients in J&K who are suffering from chronic ailments and their medication costs have drained their financial resources. The rolling out of the health insurance scheme has raised a ray hope among such patients.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has announced a free health insurance scheme under which all citizens will be covered and the government will pay the annual premium from its own kitty.

J&K is the second state/UT after Maharashtra which has rolled out universal health insurance scheme for its citizens.

“J&K insurance scheme is in the final phase before it will be implemented formally. The government will bear all costs of premium per family which amounts to Rs 850. The common service centers will be issuing golden cards like Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY). The scheme is free and the entire population will be covered,” said a senior health department official adding that “scheme will be implemented through an insurance service provider M/S Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company Ltd, the company was selected after a transparent and competitive bidding process.”

According to officials, at present there are about 23,300 empanelled hospitals across India where J&K citizens who will be covered

under the health scheme can avail the free treatment and these include 218 public and private hospitals in J&K.

Besides, 1592 Medical Packages have already been approved under AB-PMJAY to which all the beneficiaries of J&K Health Scheme will have access. In addition, the package of life-consuming diseases such as cancer and kidney failure and treatment of Covid-19 are also covered under the J&K Health Scheme.

All high-end treatments of Oncology, Cardiology and Nephrology will be covered from day one while the high-end diagnostic treatments during hospitalization will also be covered.

There shall be no restriction on the family size or age and all the pre-existing medical conditions shall be covered under the scheme. The scheme shall cover three days of pre-hospitalization, hospitalization, and 15 days of post-hospitalization including diagnostic care and expenditure on medicines.

The annual financial implication for JK Health Scheme would be Rs 123 Crore. Portability option will be available as applicable under AB-PMJAY, which will allow the beneficiary families to avail cashless service from any of the health care providers empanelled under AB-PMJAY across the country.

Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha recently unveiled the scheme which will cover about 15 lakh families over and above the 5.97 lakh families already covered under AB-PMJAY.