Karnataka govt to bring in universal health cover

With Assembly Elections less than a year away, Karnataka government on Monday announced a new Universal Health Scheme on Monday.

The Karnataka Government has made a decision to roll out a new Universal Health Scheme (UHC) from November 1 (Karnataka Rajyotsava Day) for providing medical treatment to all 1.40 crore households of the State.

Karnataka’s Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra, who briefed reporters after the State Cabinet meeting on Monday, said all the seven existing schemes such as Vajapeyi Arogyasri, Yashaswini, Jyothi Sanjivini, Mukhyamantri Santhwana Harish scheme, Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakrama, Rajiv Arogya Bhaga and Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana would be merged under one universal health scheme.

“We are calling this “treatment first, payment next”. It is also expected to cut costs for us. “This scheme is expected to cost the government Rs 869 crore annually as against Rs 1,022 crore that is being incurred under all the seven existing schemes”, Jayachandra said.

Under this scheme, there will be two categories of people. Category A will be a “priority category”, he said, which will include “farmers, deprived households, labourers from the unorganised sector, pourakarmikas, all SC/ST people, members of cooperative societies, government employees, media persons and elected representatives”. “Persons under “Category A” can avail cashless treatment, while beneficiaries under category B can avail benefits by getting reimbursements”.

“The medicines, dialysis, blood and platelet units and other components will be provided free to the patient”, Jayachandra said. Only the remaining 30 lakh households will be enrolled online by linking Aadhaar, along with a premium of Rs 300, for rural citizens and Rs 700 for urban citizens.

Under the programme, citizens can avail medical benefits in case of emergencies like accidents or surgical emergencies at any nearest government or private hospital. Till amendment to the KPME Bill (2017) was done, Suvarna Arogya Suraksha Trust (SAST) rates would apply for all procedures.

Besides facilities like 108 ambulances, 104 helpline will support further treatment free of cost.

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