MEDISEP in crisis, Kerala govt mulls calling new tender

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

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government is likely to call a new tender for the Medical Insurance Scheme for State Employees and Pensioners (MEDISEP) as the private hospitals are unwilling to take part in the scheme.

Only 104 hospitals are currently part of the medical insurance scheme. The rates fixed by the government for treatment are unacceptable for most hospitals. Therefore, the new decision is to increase the rates and call for a new tender.

The hospitals are demanding a 40 per cent hike in the rates fixed by the government for each treatment.

The earlier tender had been awarded to Reliance General Insurance company . However, the contract with the company is yet to be signed. The terms had stated that the deal would be signed only after empanelling the hospitals. If not, the government will have to pay a compensation of Rs 178 crore to the Reliance company when a new tender is called.

More than 11 lakh government employees and pensioners, and their families are part of the MEDISEP. As per the deal with Reliance, each member has to pay the company Rs 2,992.48 every year to avail the insurance. The insurance cover is Rs 6 lakh for three years. The government would levy Rs 250 as premium from the member. When the treatment rates are raised, the premium too would increase.

Finance Minister Dr Thomas Isaac had said that the project would be kickstarted last December. However, the scheme still remains on paper. After the finance department exerted pressure, multi-speciality hospitals agreed to be part of the scheme. However, they were not ready to give insurance for every speciality.

A substantial number of government employees and pensioners are part of schemes provided by private insurance companies. When the MEDISEP comes into effect, they would forego the private insurance schemes. It is alleged that these companies allegedly pulled strings to stall the government scheme.