A media report said that Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who is set to present the Union Budget 2018 on February 1, may allocate Rs 5,000 crore under Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for the health insurance sector.
The paper quoting sources said that the central government will bear 60 percent of the expenses while the state government will contribute the remaining 40 percent for the health insurance scheme.
Government may also consider setting up of a trust to roll out the scheme, under which everyone will be provided health insurance benefit between Rs 3 and 5 lakh, it said.
The health insurance scheme will be divided into three types – Kalyan Scheme, under which people living below poverty line will be covered; Saubhagya Scheme, under which people with Rs 2 lakh of annual income will be covered and Sarvodaya scheme under which people above Rs 2 lakh of annual income will be covered.
Government will pay the insurance premium for the BPL category and those with less than Rs 2 lakh of annual income. However, people earning above Rs 2 lakh will have to pay a very minimal premium.
Currently, only around 4 percent of the population in the country has health insurance coverage. Out of pocket healthcare spending constitutes 86 percent of total healthcare spend in India, the Healthcare Federation of India NATHEALTH report said.
The major reason for the low penetration of health insurance is that it is currently optional.
Experts believe that investing in building and maintaining public health infrastructure should be given priority in the Budget as these facilities are lagging and vast majority of the population has to bear their own healthcare costs due to low penetration of health insurance.
As per WHO reports, Public sector accounts for only 30 percent of the total healthcare expenditure in the country, as compared to 42-58 percent in Brazil, 58 percent in China, 52 percent in Russia, 50 percent in South Africa, 48 percent in USA and 83 percent in UK.