PESHAWAR: After receiving a positive response from the public on the health insurance policy, the health department has decided to extend the scheme to all districts of the province.
Health officials said the initiative has been touted as an attempt to alleviate poverty and improve health of the public. As a result, it has been decided the policy would be extended to other districts.
“Now, we will extend the Social Health Protection Initiative to the whole province, during budget for fiscal year 2016-17, and launch its second phase so that every deserving person can benefit from it,” a senior health official told The Express Tribune on Saturday.
He requested anonymity since he was not authorised to speak to the media.
The official added the scheme will cover costs of hospital services, including medicines, general surgery, gynaecology and obstetrics, ophthalmological treatment and ear, nose and throat services. He maintained the insurance applied to a seven-member family.
A document available with The Express Tribune stated the decision has been taken after the government felt the initiative benefited the public not only by reducing poverty, but also by improving the status of health of the public.
The second phase, according to the document, will cost around Rs3 billion per year. It also includes premium for up to 50% of the population – it would be paid by the provincial government for secondary and tertiary health care services, besides administrative costs. The policy in other districts will be launched this month.
Benefits and coverage
As per the documents, the scheme will cover the costs of hospitalisation. It read the families will be selected on the basis of the criteria set for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
“The percentage of the population, whose premium will be paid, will be determined by the provincial government – it is expected to be up to 50% of the population [which makes 12,800,000 individuals] of the whole province, including over 1.83 million families.
The document read annual benefits for one family for secondary care was Rs0.21 million whereas that for one family annually at tertiary care health facilities was around Rs0.25 million. It added pre-hospitalisation care [one day] and post-hospitalisation [five days] will also be part of the package.
The first phase of the scheme was launched on January 19, 2015. Initially, the scheme was introduced for only four districts –Mardan, Malakand, Chitral and Kohat. It was then said the programme would be extended to other areas of the province.
The premium per family, during the first phase, was Rs1,700 annually and the coverage per family was Rs175,000 per annum [per person coverage Rs25,000 per annum].
The scheme, introduced along the lines of social security programmes in developed countries, enables the deserving ones to receive medical assistance at both private and public hospitals across the province.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2016.
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