Union health minister J.P. Nadda on Friday said financing the ambitious National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), dubbed “Modicare", announced in Budget 2018-19 will not be a problem.
Implementation of the scheme will require Rs10,000-12,000 crore, according to the government’s own projections.
The scheme, touted as the world’s largest government-funded healthcare programme, is aimed at benefiting 100 million poor families through health coverage of up to Rs5 lakh per family per year for secondary and tertiary healthcare. It will cover an estimated 500 million people.
“We will soon give a detailed draft of the programme. We have to work that out with all other departments as well and the government is committed to roll out this programme. We have made all arrangements for it. Every aspect of the scheme has been calculated and the details of the programme will only be shared when the government is ready to roll it out," said Nadda.
He did not elaborate on the modalities of how the government proposes to go about implementing the scheme.
Under the scheme, expected to be rolled out on 2 October, the government will pay a premium to insurance companies.
For the current government health insurance scheme, the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana, the premium paid by the government is Rs750 per family per annum, but for NHPS the premium will be around Rs1,000-1,200 per family per annum, which could come down with an open tender process, according to Alok Kumar, an adviser with government think tank NITI Aayog, which played an important part in the structuring of the scheme.
“The government will pay for the premium with states’ share. For this Rs2,000 crore has been kept for it as of now," said Nadda. The central and state governments split expenditure in any healthcare programme in a 60:40 ratio.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley had announced in his budget for 2016-17 that the government would launch a scheme which would provide health cover of up to Rs1 lakh per family. That scheme is yet to see the light of day as it has been awaiting cabinet approval for over a year.
“Under that programme, there were only four crore beneficiaries, whose number has been enhanced now. There were a lot of operational problems in the earlier scheme which have been rectified in the present one. State governments are ready for implementing the scheme and the financial arrangements will be made accordingly. States have to decide whether they want to subsume with this scheme or they want to run on their own," said Nadda.
“All the diseases will be covered under the scheme. It is not only health insurance. There are many models which we are going to work out. We are going fast on it," he added.
Although NHPS will be Aadhaar-linked, even in the absence of an Aadhaar card, a patient will not be denied treatment, said NITI Aayog’s Kumar.
The scheme will see states interlinked, which means a patient residing in one state will be able to avail treatment in another, he added.