Government to launch unique health insurance scheme

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New Delhi, Sep 29 (IANS) A unique health insurance scheme would be part of the proposed Universal Health Assurance Mission (UHAM) of the central government, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan Monday said.

"The health insurance scheme of the UHAM is poised to become the world's largest public health insurance programme," Harsh Vardhan told the media at a briefing to list the achievement of his ministry in the first 100 days.

He said that the new insurance scheme would be free for those below the poverty line and the premium for others would also be low.

"At present, health insurance touches about 25 percent of population. We will spread the population of the insured rapidly, resulting in sharp fall in premium rates and many consumer benefits," the health minster added.

He said that an autonomous UHAM agency will be formed to ensure above-board operations and genuine protection of the insured.

The health ministry had set up an expert group to prepare the roadmap for the universal health mission, Harsh Vardhan said adding that the expert group submitted its report within eight weeks of its formation, which is right now under the consideration of the health ministry..

Asserting that his ministry was focussed on improving the health infrastructure in the country, the minister said that he was in favour of the decisions taken by the previous UPA government to introduce rural cadre of doctors who would serve at primary health centres.

"This scheme has not been shelved. If any state government wants to run this, they are free to do so," he said.

The health minister said that he was trying to prevail upon the state governments to persuade their doctors towards rational use of antibiotics.

He said: "If good quality generic drugs are available, then they should be used".

Harsh Vardhan also said that he was in favour of a single National Eligibility Test (NET) for medical entrance exams in the country.

"Unfortunately this was rejected by the Supreme Court. We have filed a review petition and are monitoring it," he added.

The minister said that the new government has attached special importance to empowering the states so as to enable them to find solutions to localised health problems.

He said India will strive to become a world leader in research through optimum usage of cutting edge technologies like molecular medicine and bioengineering.

Three new bills to regulate health research and facilitate clinical practices in areas like surrogacy and new systems of medicine have been finalised, he added.

Read more about: health insurance
Story first published: Monday, September 29, 2014, 16:12 [IST]
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