BENGALURU: The state government will introduce Universal Health Cards to all residents of Karnataka from November 1.
Just months before the elections, the government has decided to issue a card linked to a person’s Aadhaar number, which will ensure health coverage for almost everyone in the state.
The cabinet approval for the scheme came on Monday, with Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra terming it as Aarogya Bhagya.
“There will be two categories of people under the card. Category A will be a priority category which will include farmers, deprived households, labourers from the unorganised sector, pourakarmikas, all SC/ST people, members of cooperative societies, government employees, media persons and elected representatives. The rest will be under Category B,” he said.
While category A patients will get cashless treatment, category B will have to make a co-payment. The procedures for enrolment are still being worked out.
With the health card, a person can avail primary, secondary, tertiary and emergency care at government-owned hospitals, medical college hospitals and empanelled private hospitals. In case of accidental and medical emergencies, however, the treatment and surgical procedures will have to be conducted at the nearest hospital and the patient can later be transported to a government hospital after 48 hours.
“We are calling this ‘treatment first, payment next’. We will be merging the existing seven health programmes under this umbrella. It is also expected to cut costs for us. This scheme is expected to cost the government Rs 869 crore annually as against Rs 1,022 crore that is being incurred under all the seven existing schemes,” Jayachandra said.
While primary care, emergency care, and secondary care will be free of cost for both categories, around 516 types of complicated secondary care which will be referred to private hospitals will be free for category A, while category B beneficiaries can get 30% of the cost reimbursed by the state. A 30% reimbursement can also be received by category B beneficiaries for tertiary care (663 procedures) and the government is also expected to be coming up with three types of packages for this.
“This scheme will avoid overlap and duplication of funds. There are still some details to be worked out on the scheme and we will be issuing the order only after clearing this, but the scheme will come into effect from November 1,” he said. The government will fix rates for various secondary and tertiary procedure to be paid to private hospitals. Till then, Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust rates will apply.
Category A (1.05 crore households)
This category will be considered priority households and will have all facilities free of cost. They consist of farmer households, teachers from aided schools, anganwadi, ASHA, and bisi oota workers, and other deprived households as per socio economic caste census, unorganised labour like auto drivers, porters, rag pickers, mining workers, street vendors, construction workers, weavers, sanitation workers, MNREGA workers etc, all SC/ST persons, pourakarmikas, animal bite victims, media persons, members of co-operative societies and public servants.
The remaining 30 lakh households would be enrolled online with Aadhaar details with with a contribution per person of Rs 300 for rural areas and Rs 700 for urban areas. An annual premium on the card will be charged for Category B beneficiaries. About 2.38 crore co-operative society members need not deposit contribution under Yeshaswini.
Online enrolment will begin once government order is issued. People will need to register with their
ID proof and phone number and other details. An enrolment fee will be charged. The health card will be delivered to their registered address.
In addition to 108 helpline, 104 helpline will support free diagnostics, free drugs, free dialysis, free blood units, platelets and components which will be provided in government hospitals. All government hospitals and medical colleges with 50,000 beds will provide 1,000 secondary and government (Centres of Excellence) will provide 500 plus tertiary services.
Other services will be purchased from private empanelled hospitals. Citizens have to call toll free number 1800-425-8330/ 1800-425-2646 to get referred online government or private hospital as eligible.