Kerala hospitals yet to warm up to insurance scheme for govt employees

Kerala hospitals yet to warm up to insurance scheme for govt employees

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has been always much ahead of other states in implementing social welfare schemes with far-reaching impact. But government-run insurance schemes in Kerala have been a late-starter as the state so far focussed on welfare doles. The recent initiative of the Kerala government in this regard, dubbed the Medical Insurance Scheme for State Employees and Pensioners (MEDISEP), is yet to take off as several hospitals do not appear keen to join in. The government has already missed the deadline of June 1 to implement it.

Even prominent government establishments such as Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology and Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) in Thiruvananthapuram and Malabar Cancer Centre (MCC), Thalassery, have not joined the scheme. It has to be seen how successful MEDISEP will be without the participation of these three institutions. Only 80 private hospitals have become part of the scheme so far. Several of the bigger private hospitals are also keeping away.

Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has called for a meet of senior officials on Thursday to look into the issue. The government is pulling in all efforts to implement the scheme by next month at least.

Reliance General Insurance will run the MEDISAP scheme like the Karunya Arogya Suraksha Paddhati (KASP) for which around 340 hospitals are onboard. Though the RCC and MCC joined the KASP after much persuasion, Sree Chitra hospital, a central government institution, is yet to comply.

Even though it is the insurers task to find the hospitals, the government is ready to provide all help in the present scenario.

Attempts to sabotage?

Private insurance agencies are likely trying to ensure that MEDISEP is not implemented, it has been alleged.

Around 11 lakh families of the state government employees and pensioners have taken the policies of private medical insurance companies. Fearing that families are likely to withdraw en masse from the private insurance policies, if the government insurance scheme is implemented, vested interests could be targeting the MEDISEP. Curiously, private hospitals are also not keen on the government initiative.

What could be worrying the private sector is the cap on treatment charges as per the MEDISEP norms. As the government has decided on the rate for treatments, the hospitals cannot charge more than that.

An insurance cover of Rs 6 lakh is available for three years for a premium of Rs 250. Interested employees and pensioners can opt for it.

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