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Dispur plan for insurance company

Himanta Biswa Sarma in Guwahati on Saturday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Feb. 1: Dispur today announced plans to launch a new insurance company with a policy to provide financial relief to patients.

Health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said under the new scheme citizens would have to pay Rs 200 annually as premium to avail of financial benefits to the tune of Rs 2.5 lakh in case they suffer from cancer, heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and other ailments or road accidents.

Sarma said the launching of the insurance company by the government would be a no-profit, no-loss business.

“Earlier, chief minister Tarun Gogoi launched an insurance scheme where citizens could claim up to Rs 25,000 for treatment. But the government had tied up with a private insurance company for the earlier scheme. Under the new scheme, the government will not tie up with a private insurance company. The government will set up its own company after getting the permission from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority. If the amount of claims becomes more than premium the company collects, the state government will provide the deficit amount to ensure that every citizen get the insurance benefit,” Sarma told reporters here this afternoon.

He, however, said the earlier insurance scheme would continue.

Dispur’s new insurance scheme has come at a time when the state is witnessing a sharp rise in the number of patients suffering from cancer, heart ailments and road accidents.

Sarma said 5,000 cancer cases are detected in Assam every year.

The Tarun Gogoi government faced strong criticism last year when a couple committed suicide by jumping into the Brahmaputra with their 18-month-old child.

The couple resorted to such extreme step after failing to collect enough money to treat their child who had a hole in his heart.

Sarma said the new scheme has been designed on the lines of Karnataka government’s Yeshasvini Health Insurance Scheme for the farming community to undergo hospitalisation when required at a medical centre of their choice.

The health minister said the government would open a 200-bed cancer hospital on Gauhati Medical College and Hospital premises within the next six months.

Such cancer hospitals will be set up on the campuses of Assam Medical College and Hospital, Dibrugarh, Silchar Medical College and Hospital, Jorhat Medical College and Hospital, Tezpur Medical College and Hospital and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital at Barpeta.

Sarma said the government would also set up free nutritional centre at the block level to feed infants of poor families with an aim to reduce the infant mortality rate.