Less than two weeks after the Union Budget proposed a health cover plan of Rs 5 lakh for 10 crore families, Uttar Pradesh Health Minister Siddharth Nath Singh said Tuesday that his state can roll out a scheme for 1.5 crore families within two months if the Centre releases the money. The Centre is working towards a launch date of Independence Day at the earliest.
“The state government was working on a Rs 2.5 lakh top-up for Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) covering 1.5 crore families. We had completed the tendering process and were ready for the rollout when the National Health Protection Scheme was announced. We can announce NHPS in two months if we get the money; all our groundwork has been done. I think we will be the first state to launch NHPS. The Centre is working towards an August deadline,” Singh told The Indian Express.
RSBY is a scheme for migrant workers that provides a cover of Rs 30,000. UP was planning to push the cover to Rs 2,80,000 before NHPS was announced. Singh took part in a series of meetings in Delhi, including with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and with NITI Aayog, to discuss the status of centrally sponsored schemes worth Rs 38,000 crore.
While the tendering process in UP has been dragged to court by one insurance company, Singh said that for a Rs 2,80,000 cover for 1.5 crore families, the state government had got bids in the range of Rs 400-500 per annum. Preliminary calculations by NITI Aayog for NHPS, meanwhile, have put the bill at Rs 12,000 crore based on a premium of Rs 1,082 per family per year.
On Tuesday, on the sidelines of an insurance product launch that was attended by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Max Bupa officials said the annual premium for a family floater cover of Rs 5 lakh would be about Rs 15,000, assuming a family size of four. NHPS has no ceiling on family size. Singh said UP has already chosen families on the basis of Socio Economic Caste Census data as envisioned in the NHPS plan.
In the past, UP has been tardy in releasing the state share for RSBY, in the process leaving the central share stuck and leading to a halt in the scheme towards the final days of the previous government. Singh said UP has also put in place a preventive health plan, unveiled its own health policy and drawn up standard treatment guidelines specific to the level of care.
Later, Singh told reporters that the deliberations with NITI Aayog were “extremely positive” and he is hopeful the state will get the Rs 2,300 crore it has sought for Kumbh preparations. Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar said the pace at which the UP government is working will change the “very face” of rural UP.