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Amid coronavirus outbreak, Maharashtra government announced free health insurance scheme to all its citizens, state health minister Rajesh Tope said on Friday. It is the first state in India to take such initiative.

Under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana, people in the state can avail the benefits of free and cashless health insurance. Documents such as ration card and domicile certificate are essential to apply for the scheme.

At present, the scheme covers 85% of the population; but benefits are now extended to the remaining 15%, said Rajesh Tope. From now on, the state government, semi-government employees and white ration card holders will be able to apply for this scheme.

"The government has signed a MoU with the General Insurance Public Sector Association (GIPSA) for treatment of COVID-19 patients at private hospitals in Pune and Mumbai," Tope added.

Similarly, different packages will be designed for all diseases, to standardise treatment fees at all hospitals, the minister said. Earlier, 496 hospitals were covered in the scheme, but now over 1,000 hospitals will come under it, he said.

Prohibiting the hospitals to charge exorbitant fees, the state government capped the fees treatment of COVID 19 treatment in private hospitals. Hospitals that are not connected with the GIPSA, will also have to standardise their treatment fees, he said.

Maharashtra is the worst affected state in India which has so far reported 11,506 coronavirus cases. The state registered over 1,000 cases in last 24 hours. A total of 485 people have succumbed to death in the state. India has extended the nationwide lockdown till May 17 to mitigate the virus spread. The deadly novel coronavirus has so far infected 37,336 and killed 1,218 people in the country.


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