New Delhi: State-run insurers will provide health cover to poor families in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Bihar under India’s subsidized health insurance scheme Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana.
New India Assurance Co. Ltd has won the Punjab contract, while United India Insurance Co. Ltd and Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd have won contracts for Uttarakhand and Bihar, respectively.
With this, the authorities have awarded contracts for six states that also include Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi. Insurance firms for these three states have already started distributing smart cards so that the beneficiaries are able to access health services.
Eleven more states — Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal — are expected to invite bids from insurers by the end of next month.
Last month, the Union government agreed to contribute 90% of the insurance premium for north-eastern states and Jammu and Kashmir.
It had earlier said it would contribute 75% of the premium in other states. The state governments will contribute the rest.
In the next two months, tenders will be invited for 86 districts, and by the end of the year, the scheme would be rolled out in 120 districts across the country, excluding Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh due to some issues.
Anil Swarup, director general of labour welfare in the ministry of labour and the official in-charge of implementing the scheme, said: “We are still in talks with these governments, and there are issues over committing 25% towards the premium. Andhra Pradesh already has a health insurance scheme. These states will not be covered in the first year.”