Thiruvananthapuram: As many as 162 hospitals in Kerala have partnered with the state government's MEDICEP scheme, even as the government-aided Regional Cancer Centre (RCC), Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences, and several co-operative hospitals have not joined the plan.
MEDICEP, abbreviation for Medical Insurance for State Employees and Pensioners, is a scheme aimed at providing comprehensive health insurance coverage to all present and retired government employees.
The government's plan is to launch the scheme by Vishu this month or in May. Services and Pensioners' organisations said the government was not exerting political pressure on hospitals to partner with the scheme.
Anticipating that the MEDICEP cover would be available by the beginning of the new financial year, several employees had not renewed their medical insurance, thereby landing themselves in a quandary.
It was earlier decided that the secretary (health) would convene a meeting to ensure the participation of more hospitals in the scheme. The meeting, however, has not yet been convened.
Incidentally, the government has not cleared the dues of hospitals for the free COVID-19 treatment provided when the pandemic was at its peak. The free treatment plan was initiated under the health department's Karunya Arogya Suraksha Padhathi, or KASP.
Several hospitals have taken an adamant stand that they would join MEDICEP only after the KASP dues have been cleared.
Meanwhile, the hospitals were facing another issue as well. A few players in the insurance sector have threatened them that higher insurance bills would not be cleared if they joined MEDICEP. Both the issues would require government intervention.
Most beneficiaries of MEDICEP are from Thiruvananthapuram, where 16 hospitals, including Jubilee, NIMS, and Karakonam medical colleges have expressed willingness to join the scheme.
Aster MIMS, and AKG Memorial Cooperative Hospital in Kannur; Sunrise, Kottakkal and Aster MIMS in Malappuram; Avitis in Palakkad; Amala and Westfort in Thrissur; Aster Medcity, Sunrise and Rajagiri in Ernakulam; Pusphagiri Medical College in Pathanamthitta; KMCT Medical College, MIMS, and IQRAA in Kozhikode were among the hospitals that have joined the MEDICEP scheme.
The government handed over the details of the beneficiaries to The Oriental Insurance Company the other day.