Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana to be Continued Till 31st December
The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana – popularly abbreviated as RSBY – that was launched back in 2008 on 1st of April has been extended till 31st December, 2015. On that date, the government will decide the fate of the RSBY. Experts believe that this government-sponsored health insurance plan will be rolled over to next year until the financial year comes to an end on 31st of March, 2016. However, the possibilities of insurance companies getting involved are nil.
According to a senior official from a general insurer in the private sector, the extension came with some restrictions. First of all, the existing arrangements under the insurance scheme are to be honored and secondly, awarding new tenders has been prohibited.
The ministry of labor and employment launched this health insurance scheme back in 2008. The reason for this scheme to be launched in first place was help the poor people who are classified as BPL people or Below Poverty Line people. The whole idea was to make sure that beneficiaries get enough money to cover the expenses of hospitalization. This scheme covers most of the diseases and provides up to INR 30,000 in coverage.
Three important features of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana are:
- For a large number of medical interventions, the government defined fixed rates in form of packages with a number of hospitals.
- Enlisted people who are already victims of some medical condition will get coverage from 1st day of enlisting.
- People of any age can get enlisted under the RSBY.
As per the official website of Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana there were (figures below are till 31st March, 2015):
- 9.7 million enlisted people under the scheme used the hospitalization benefits.
- 36.3 million smart cards were active under the scheme.
Under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, insurance coverage is given to a maximum of 5 people from a single family. Of these five people in a single family, one needs to be the family head, the other needs to be the spouse of the family head and the remaining three people who will enjoy coverage are three dependents (can be dependent children or dependent parents).
Those who want to enroll under this health insurance scheme are required to pay INR 30.00 for the purpose of registration and that’s the only payment they need to make. The premiums are paid by the state and the central governments. Interestingly, insurers will not be involved in the scheme and there will be special bodies set up by the government for managing the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana.
According to officials, a proposal came in about merging Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana with Universal Health Insurance Scheme that has been proposed but eventually it was decided to keep RSBY separate.
World Bank reported that by 2015, 50% of Indian population will be covered under health insurance, which is about 630 million Indians. General Insurance Council too published some data which shows that standalone health insurance companies registered 42.1% growth, which is the highest growth rate in health insurance industry during the period April-July of current financial year and managed to collect INR 1,067 crores in premiums.