On the lines of Aadhaar, the Government of India is planning to have another set of unique identification (UID) numbers to track the beneficiaries of the National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS), the flagship health insurance programme of the government.
The scheme, announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley while presenting the Budget 2016-2017 proposals, aims to provide Rs.1 lakh cover to people below the poverty line (BPL) and a top-up of Rs.30,000 to the people above 60 years of age.
According to a senior government functionary, since not all have an Aadhaar card, the government proposes to allocate a unique number to each beneficiary registered under the scheme to easily locate them.
“We can’t deny a poor person insurance benefit if he doesn’t have an Aadhaar number,” said the official adding that creating a unique number will also help ensure that the government is not paying premium for ghost beneficiaries. The programme is proposed to run on a strong IT national network, which will do away with the risk of duplication.
Based on the SocioEconomic Caste Census-2011 data, the scheme, which awaits Cabinet nod, will cover no less than 8 crore BPL families initially.
“We plan to cover an estimated 40 crore people in all, and there will be no limit on the number of family members availing the benefits,” said Union Health Minister J P Nadda. The scheme is meant primarily to take care of in-patient expenditure through empanelled hospitals, including private hospitals.
Nearly 1,600 procedures have been selected that cover most of the treatment procedures conducted in any hospital, said the official. The scheme is modelled on the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) that provides a cover of Rs.30,000 to people below the poverty line.
The scheme is likely to be rolled out on April 1, 2017. The Centre has allocated Rs.24,000 crore for the scheme and has already received the Expenditure Finance Committee’s nod.