MUMBAI: Maharashtra has become the first state to offer 100 per cent free treatment for all COVID-19 patients, even those who are treated in private hospitals.
The state has the highest number of COVID-19 patients (10,498) and deaths (459). The Mumbai metropolitan region -- that includes Thane, Navi Mumbai, Kalyan, Vasai, Virar etc --- Nagpur, Pune and Nasik are among the major hotspots in the state.
On Friday, Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope announced 100 per cent free treatment to COVID-19 patients by bringing all residents of the state under the Mahatma Jyotibha Phule Health Insurance scheme. He said Maharashtra is the first state to extend such an offer for COVID-19 patients under the disaster management act and epidemic diseases act 1897.
“Earlier, we had brought 85 per cent of state under it but now the remaining 15 per cent who hold the white ration card and government officials will also be extended health insurance cover against COVID-19. This cover will be completely free of cost,” Tope clarified.
He said this follows complaints from residents that private hospitals are charging exorbitant fees for the treatment of COVID-19.
“We got a complaint that private hospitals were charging Rs 1 lakh per day for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. We had made an agreement with General Insurance Public Sector Association (GIPSA) for Mumbai and Pune city patients. The hospitals will charge only as per government rates irrespective of the size and facilities of the ward or room. For the rest of Maharashtra, a third-party agreement will be made and the general ward rates will be charged. We have fixed a standard formats for all COVID-19 patients,” Tope said, adding this decision is binding on private hospitals.
“Apart from COVID-19 treatment, other medical treatment and surgery will also be given under the Mahatma Jyotibha Phule Health Insurance Scheme. Earlier, 496 hospitals were included in the scheme. Now, more than 1000 private hospitals are part of it," he said.