Wednesday , 26 July 2017
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Government plans for national health insurance Scheme

Government plans for national health insurance Scheme

ISLAMABAD: If all goes well, 112 million poor people of Pakistan will soon be able to get expensive health facilities like cardiac bypass, cancer treatment, hepatitis care and other surgeries in the best private and public hospitals of the country for free, thanks to a national health insurance scheme being launched by the federal government. Well placed sources said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has given four weeks to ministry of national health services to chalk out a detailed plan for the ambitious scheme which will be supervised by his daughter Maryam Nawaz Sharif. Sources said 60 per cent of the country which is earning $2 per day will be covered under the scheme and each eligible person will get a unique insurance card that could be used at state of the art indoor health facilities within the country.Sources said a four-member core committee has already been formed by the ministry on the directions of the prime minister who has directed the committee to study Indian and Turkish models of social health insurance.An official privy to the development told The News that outdoor patient will not be covered under the scheme as the government hospitals are already providing OPD services for almost free. He said according to government estimates Pakistan’s current population is 188 million and around 112 million are earning less than $2 a day so the prime minister want to provide this segment of society with first-cla ss health facilities. The official said the insurance companies for the national social insurance will be selected through open bidding in a transparent manner.“The cooperation of provinces is crucial for the success of the scheme and the government is hoping that all political stakeholders will cooperate in this initiative,” he said adding that health is a provincial subject after 18th amendment so the government will have to introduce new legislation to enable the federal government to supervise the scheme.He said the funding for the scheme will be provided by the federal government while the implementation will be done by the provinces.To a question he said the scheme will not put heavy burden on national budget as according to estimates the government may have to pay Rs1000 per head annually to insurance companies.He said the insurance companies will then fund the treatment and surgeries of the needing patients and there would be a mechanism devised to counter frauds in claiming these treatments.The official said the insurance companies will sign contracts with private and public hospitals to fund the reatment of eligible persons.“There will be healthy competition among private and public hospitals to woe insurance companies which will result in improving health care standards in the country,” he said.To a question he said the funds collected by public hospitals through this  national  health insurance scheme will be partly shared with the staff of the relevant public hospital and part of it will be used for patient welfare.