Health Financing/Insurance

Planning Commission frames universal health insurance plan

The Planning Commission said it is framing up a blue print for a universal health insurance scheme which would provide a minimum cover to everyone in the country. “I think we do want a universal cess system. But whether it will be free for everybody…and free means Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY). The RSBY today is (available) for all BPL and for additional categories. It is quite possible that it can be expanded,” Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said. Under RSBY, below poverty line households are provided health insurance cover, which entitles them to hospitalisation coverage of up to Rs 30,000. Beneficiaries under RSBY need to pay only Rs 30 as registration fee, while the central and state governments pay the premium to the insurer. About how the government would generate resources for such universal health access system for everybody in the country, he said, “We have not actually made a detailed proposal how universal access would be worked out”. On imposing any health acess for generating resources for such health system in the country, on the lines of education and other such levies, Ahluwalia said, “You mean the health cess, we have not proposed. If you are going to pay, then you are going pay whether you do it by health cess or something else. We have not (proposed)… it”. “But I think in the longer run, we need some such system. When I say free…you provide basic health insurance and anybody who wants more (health cover), pays extra. That is perfectly viable,” he added. The Commission has also called for increase in public expenditure on health to 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product per annum by the end of 12th Plan (2012-17) from 1.4 percent level at present.


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