To decide the specifics of the proposed National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), the Centre has decided to call a meeting of state health secretaries shortly. Details of the scheme’s implementation — touted as the world’s largest government-funded national health programme — would be taken up for discussion.
While a detailed concept note has already been floated ahead of the meeting, the issues expected to be taken up for deliberations include the possibility of dovetailing existing health schemes of different states into the broader national scheme and the possibility of bundling more than one insurance product to arrive at a comprehensive cover with a realistic premium amount, a top government official indicated.
In the Union Budget 2018-19, an initial corpus of Rs 2,000 crore was provided for the NHPS that aims to provide medical cover of Rs 5 lakh to over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families. A study has already been conducted by the Cabinet Secretariat that specifically focused on bundling related insurance products, the official stated.
Projections made by the NITI Aayog pegged the cost of the NHPS at around Rs 12,000 crore in total. “The groundwork for this project has been underway for over two years,” the official said. The Centre expects to launch the scheme by October this year and the overall expenditure will be borne jointly by the Centre and the states in a 60:40 ratio.
“The possibility of incorporating existing state schemes, ranging from Chhattisgarh’s scheme that has a near-universal cover but with a small amount covered, alongside more focused schemes such as the ones in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, are also being looked at,” the official added.
The Indian Express reported on Friday that state governments may have to shell out approximately Rs 4,330 crore annually for the NHPS rollout, according to preliminary calculations undertaken by the government. These calculations, arrived at after informal discussions with actuaries, pegged the premium at Rs 1,082 per family per year for each health cover of Rs 5 lakh. Of this, Rs 433 has been earmarked as the state’s share of the premium with the balance to be paid by the Centre.