The Odisha government on Saturday announced key changes in eligibility parameters of the state’s health assurance scheme, Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY), to include more beneficiaries.
This is the second major change to the scheme, which the BJD hopes will rival the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat. In June, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik increased insurance coverage under BSKY for women from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 7 lakh.
On Saturday, the CM told the media, “Odias living outside the state can now avail of the scheme anywhere in India, and people from the state who wish to seek benefits of the scheme outside the state can do so.”
Odisha has a large population of migrant workers in western and southern India. The BJP, which has been criticising the state government for refusing to join Ayushman Bharat, had repeatedly pointed out that BSKY did not cover migrant workers.
The state government announced that premier hospitals, such as Tata Memorial Hospital (Mumbai), Christian Medical College (Vellore) and Narayana Hrudalaya (Bengaluru) have been covered under the scheme. Patients referred to hospitals outside the state will get conveyance charge at the rate of Rs 2,000 and the amount will be transferred to the bank account of the beneficiary.
The government also announced that for treatment of cancer, heart and kidney diseases, the annual income ceiling for beneficiaries has been increased to Rs 3 lakh per annum from Rs 1 lakh.
BJD spokespersons said they currently do not have estimates on increase in beneficiaries and budgetary requirement, though both are expected to rise by significant margins with the policy change.
The state government began implementing BSKY from Independence Day. Health Minister Pratap Jena claimed that more than 1.1 crore cases have benefitted from BSKY.