CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Monday directed the State to consider increasing the Rs 72,000 per annum income ceiling for availing the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (CMCHIS).
The court observed that the eligibility criteria is much lower than the minimum wage paid to an unskilled worker in the State.
The issue pertains to a plea moved by one DI Nathan seeking the court to direct the authorities to provide free treatment to the public for Covid-19 in private hospitals. The petitioner alleged that private hospitals are charging exorbitant prices and not everyone can afford the treatment. The petitioner cited several instances and brought them to the notice of the court on the charges levied by private hospitals in the State.
State Advocate General
R Shunmughasundaram submitted that beds are now freely available in the State for Covid patients and there is no pressure on government hospitals. He also submitted the Government Orders passed on the charges to be collected by the private hospitals.
Advocate NGR Prasad in reply submitted that only families earning up to Rs 72,000 per annum are eligible to be enrolled under the CMCHIS. The criteria requires to be increased to at least Rs 2 lakh per annum since it is too low, he added.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy recording the submissions observed that the minimum threshold level should be substantially increased to allow a larger number of families in the State to avail of the benefits under the insurance scheme.
The bench further observed, “There is no doubt that every family would have gone beyond its means to ensure the best treatment for its members; but these families would have been drained of their savings or may have gone into debt.
This is a matter which requires the attention of the State and data has to be gathered before any effective policy decision is taken. It is hoped that such aspect will engage the attention of the State, sooner rather than later.”