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Health insurance scheme for all

Shillong, Nov. 27: The Meghalaya government today inked an agreement with ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited for implementing an ambitious health insurance scheme to cover all residents of the state.

The agreement was prepared with advisory support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank.

The Megha Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS) will provide all households in the state with a financial cover of upto Rs 1,60,000 annually to cover in-patient services, irrespective of income levels.

The scheme, which is also among the first of its type across the country, uses the standard Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) platform supported by the Union labour ministry.

It expands the cover available under RSBY both in terms of universalising the scheme across the entire population instead of just those covered under the below poverty line list.

The scheme also covers in terms of deepening its ambit to provide an enhanced cover of upto Rs 1,60,000 instead of Rs 30,000, thereby providing cashless treatment for specified high cost recurrent ailments.

Meban R. Synrem, chief executive officer, Megha Health Insurance Scheme, and Pranab Sharma, associate vice-president, ICICI Lombard, in the presence of chief minister Mukul Sangma and others, signed the agreement.

ICICI was selected as the insurer provider after a rigorous and competitive bidding process advised by the IFC, in which bids were received from six leading insurers, resulting in a reduction in premium per household, payable by the government.

The scheme will be integrated with the existing public health system of the state by empanelling public sector hospitals as well as private hospitals in the state and engaging with the government health care providers through training and performance-based incentives.

The scheme will also augment the availability of advanced care facilities to the people by asking the insurance company to empanel tertiary care hospitals offering advance cardiac and cancer care services outside Meghalaya.

It will also maintain the countrywide portability inherent to the basic RSBY scheme.

In the second phase, IFC and the World Bank will continue to provide advisory support to the government for further enhancing the scope of coverage and benefits under the scheme.