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Govt wants the national health insurance scheme to be affordable

June 4, 2018

India’s proposed National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), which is likely to be launched on 15 August with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Independence Day address, was announced on 1 February by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech. It would cover more than 100 million poor families and provide INR 500,000 in annual medical coverage for secondary and tertiary healthcare for a family of five.

In fixing the NHPS premium, the government is banking on the scale of the scheme as well as previous schemes such as the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, a government-run health insurance programme for those who live below the poverty line. Niti Aayog or the National Institution for Transforming India is in the last rounds of discussions with insurers and States. It is expected to finalise the full details of the health insurance scheme, and also a tender for bids from insurers by this month with an upper limit for the premium. At present, the ceiling is likely to be set for only one year and could be revised from the second year, based on the response.

NHPS is likely to have an annual premium of less than INR1,100 ($16.30) for each eligible household, with the central and state governments saying it should be closer to INR1,050 for every family. However, insurance industry sources say that insurers were keen on keeping the premium a bit higher at about INR1,500-2,000 per year for the scheme to be feasible.


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