Rs 86 crore benefit extended under Sehat Scheme
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Rs 86 crore benefit extended under Sehat Scheme

Patients with chronic diseases left out of health insurance ambit

Srinagar: Proving to be a major succour for a large number of people in J&K, the Government’s Health Insurance Scheme – SEHAT has extended cashless treatment benefits worth Rs 86 crore in half a year. However, the scheme has failed to reduce the burden on the pockets of chronic diseases patients who do not require hospitalization but continuous life saving medications and diagnostics.

The PMJAY SEHAT Scheme was launched in December 2020. In the last six months, the scheme has covered 86000 free and cashless treatments as per Health and Medical Education Department. The cost of these treatments is estimated to be Rs 86 crore, the department said adding that the patients did not have to spend anything while availing this service. “The scheme includes three days of pre-hospitalisation and 15 days of hospitalization and provides free and cashless benefits to avoid a health catastrophe,” Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary to J&K Government said. He said PMJAY and SEHAT Schemes were merged in J&K to cover the entire population of 21 lakh families.

Earlier, under PMJAY, only 6 lakh families in J&K were eligible for Government’s Health Insurance. However, as the cashless health insurance scheme expands in its coverage, it continues to leave the patients suffering chronic diseases out of its ambit. Many patients, while speaking to Greater Kashmir, have urged that the Government cover all treatment costs that do not require hospitalization but are life saving in nature. Shabir Mukhtar, an auto driver by profession and a resident of Sopore said his mother was suffering from diabetes and had developed gangrene in her foot. “Doctors did debridement of her foot twice over the past month and she has been on costly drugs for a month. But this condition is not covered under our Golden Card,” he said. Golden Card is the Sehat Scheme card that gives a cashless benefit of Rs 5 lakh on a floater basis to a family.

In a similar narrative, Mohammad Qasim Bhat, a resident of Kupwara said his father was undergoing treatment for Hepatitis C at SKIMS Soura but it did not involve hospitalization. “We have to purchase such costly drugs. Moreover, my father is a patient of Chronic Kidney Disease which also does not need admission,” he said. He added that none of these conditions have been covered under the scheme thus defeating its purpose for thousands.

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