Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Dec 02, 2004
Industry & Economy
Innovative health scheme launched on pilot scale
Bangalore , Dec. 1
FROM `Yeshasvini' to `Arogya Raksha', the specially-devised health insurance scheme by leading cardiac care centre, Narayana Hrudayalaya, the Government and non-government organisations has underlined the essence of innovation that helps better acceptance from beneficiaries.
The spontaneous response to Yeshasvini has prompted the cardiac care centre to tie up with ICICI Bank and Biocon to launch Arogya Raksha on a pilot scale.
It covers five lakh people in Anekal taluk, surrounded by villages around Narayana Hrudayalaya. The taluk has a mix of both rural and urban population engaged in agricultural work and industrial establishments.
Arogya Raksha will be scaled up after fine-tuning the details.
Dr Devi Shetty, Chairman of Narayana Hrudayalaya, said unlike Yeshasvini, which suffered from scalability due to restriction of eligibility only to members of co-operative institutions, Arogya Raksha could reach out to more beneficiaries.
The residents of Anekal taluk would have to contribute a monthly premium of Rs 10. In turn, the subscribers will be entitled to in-patient treatment for three days free of charge and free surgery and outpatient treatment at half the price.
Dr Shetty said the project would be launched on December 19 by Prof. Mohammed Yunus, who pioneered grameena banks. Biocon will be setting up a generic drug shop at Huskur wherein drugs will be sold at a discount of 20 to 30 per cent to the members. Under the project, 11 general hospitals have been recognised in the city to provide treatment.
Enrolment process has started said Dr Shetty, adding the joint venture hopes to provide quality heart care facility at a reasonable cost to larger sections.
Stating that the low premium would not affect its viability, Dr Shetty said statistically less than one per cent covered under insurance schemes require operation world over, but in India less than .5 per cent opt for operation.
With the premium being small, sophisticated medical treatment will now become accessible to a larger population. "Healthcare will be disassociated with affluence like the way mobile phones have. The driving factor will be technology," he said.
The scheme is different from the successful Yeshasvini health scheme, a venture of the Co-operative Department of the Karnataka Government and private hospitals.
Under Yeshasvini, members of co-operative institutions who pay a nominal amount of Rs 5 per month are eligible.
Yeshasvini is a self-funding scheme and it has provided coverage to over 2.5 million persons unlike medical insurance, which has covered 20 lakh people since independence.
Dr Shetty said he would urge the Central Government to enact a law wherein insurance coverage was made mandatory for both the organised and unorganised sectors.
And this would change insurance packaging making it more affordable to all sections of the society.
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