In a tribute to late former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on his 75th birth anniversary, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Tuesday launched his government’s flagship universal health insurance scheme ‘Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana’, benefitting nearly 46 lakh families.
E-cards were handed over to the first 11 beneficiaries from Mohali district to kick off the scheme, which would entitle beneficiaries to avail annual cashless treatment up to Rs five lakh per family per year, including pre-existing diseases, was aimed at ensuring the best possible treatment to the beneficiaries free of cost.
With this scheme, covering 76 percent of the its population, Punjab has become the first state in the country to offer medical insurance cover to the maximum number of its people, the Chief Minister announced, dedicating the welfare initiative to Rajiv Gandhi. His government was committed to fulfilling the aspirations of the people with the vision of the country’s youngest prime minister, he added.
Notably, the State Government had decided, a few months ago, to extend the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) to provide cashless health insurance cover of Rs five lakh per family per year to more 31 lakh families.
While the cost of the premium for 14.86 lakh families, originally covered under PMJAY, as per SECC data, is being borne by the Centre and State in 60:40 ratio, for the rest of the beneficiaries, the state will bear the entire cost of the premium.
“It took the Government several months to draw the roadmap for the implementation of the cashless treatment scheme to cover 76 percent of its population, in sharp contrast to the 12 percent that would have been covered otherwise under the Central Government’s PMJAY scheme. Similar schemes in other states had covered up to a mere 30 percent of their population,” said Capt Amarinder.
The Chief Minister recalled Rajiv’s proactive role in sanctioning approval for setting the first multi-national project in Punjab in the form of Pepsi. “I was then Punjab Agriculture Minister and had submitted a proposal to PMO for setting up this plant, which was vital for state's diversification plans. I still remember how, exactly on the eighth day, I got a message that PM wanted to meet me and the project was approved,” the Chief Minister said nostalgically.
Giving details of the Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana, the Chief Minister revealed that it would cover a total of 20.43 lakh smart ration card holder families, in addition to 14.86 lakh families enrolled as per Socio Economic Caste Census Data, 4.94 lakh J form holder farmer families, 2.8 lakh small farmers, and more than 2.38 lakh construction workers registered with the State Construction Welfare Board, besides 46,000 small traders.
The scheme has also been extended to around 4,500 journalists accredited to the state or holding yellow cards, he said.
Equipped with specially designed 1396 treatment packages, the scheme will be implemented through more than 450 empanelled hospitals, including 200 government hospitals.
Of the total premium of Rs 333 crores under the Mahatma Gandhi Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana, the state's share is 83 percent, which amounts to Rs 276 crores, while the Central Government would be paying the remaining Rs 57 crores.
Surgical packages under the scheme also include the cost of pre-hospitalization for three days and post-hospitalization for 15 days.